As Israel continues its systemic dismantling of Hamas’s implements of terror (missiles, rockets, and Hamas operatives), we are treated once again to the standard conventional wisdom: this will drive Hamas to new heights of fury, Israel is doing precisely what Hamas wants, and this will merely inflame the Arab street.
Let’s take a look at those charges.
1) This will drive Hamas to new heights of fury. Is this even possible? Hamas is an avowed terrorist organization that has used suicide bombers, rockets, mortars, snipers, kidnapping, and torture. It has frequently turned those tactics against fellow Palestinians as well as against Israel. Can they get much more furious?
2) Israel is doing precisely what Hamas wants them to do. No, folks, that’s called “spin.” Hamas is NOT going to come out and say “Israel is succesfully visiting upon us overwhelming punishment, achieving a good number of its aims and taking out our important leaders.” Just before the attacks, Hamas was crowing about Israel’s ineffectiveness and how they had paralyzed the Jewish state with their rocket attacks.
Quite frankly, Hamas’s stated opinion of Israel’s response is utterly irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how things play out in the aftermath. If Hamas is weakened to the point where further attacks are lessened or eliminated, and Hamas’s grip on power is eased or destroyed, then the operation will be a success for Israel. That is not how it will be spun, of course, but that’s the objective reality.
3) This will merely inflame the Arab street. It very well might., but one has to ask, “so what?”
“Inflamed” is a good description of the Arab street as is. They were “inflamed” over the Mohammed cartoons, they were “inflamed” over the bogus “Koran in a toilet” story Newsweek peddled, they were “inflamed” over Theo Van Gogh’s film, they were “inflamed” over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, they were “inflamed” by a whole host of things. One time I distinctly remember the Arab street being happy instead of “inflamed” was on 9/11, when we saw images of people rejoicing and literally dancing in the streets. So it seems that “inflaming the Arab street” might be a good indicator that you’re doing something right.
So far Israel has seriously degraded Hamas’s weapons, leadership, and infrastructure and trisected the Gaza Strip in its drive to cripple the terrorist group. Hamas has lost hundreds of fighters and tremendous stockpiles of weapons. Its ability to wage war against Israel is seriously impaired. That is the only result Israel need note.