Hamas has been desperately trying to get itself and the Palestinian cause back in the headlines. Compared to what is going on in the Arab world it is certainly the least of their concerns, and the world is perhaps finally growing weary of the Palestinian eternal obsessive quest to destroy Israel, like tilting at imaginary windmills. The attacks by tens of thousands of civilians against the Israeli border, led by Hamas terrorists, is a case in point. But, with only 62 fatalities, 50 of them Hamas operatives, they were unable to do more than get a UN Security Council statement and an EU meeting, both worthless.
So now they have resorted to real military activity, probably ordered by Iran. They blasted southern Israel, not far from where I am writing this, with 70 rockets. One of these exploded in a kindergarten, luckily before the kids arrived. Israel cannot, of course, accept this. But, Israel is, as always, in a dilemma. The IDF could destroy Hamas, and flatten Gaza in the process. But, in doing so they would give Hamas, even in defeat, a great deal of sympathetic media coverage, and this would, as always, result in anti-Israel animus. Israel cannot afford to win. A defeat for Hamas is the only way they can win.
PM Netanyahu has been meeting with his security cabinet and trying to decide how to respond. The IDF already pounded Gaza, hitting 35 Hamas targets, including an attack tunnel that entered Israel after going thru Egyptian territory. But, even though some in Israel would like to finally destroy Hamas and take care of this thorn in Israel’s side, the current threat from Iran in Syria, a far more serious problem, looms large in all security calculations. So for now, it is likely that Israel will strike back, but will not take such extensive action that would lead to a war. Iran was hit hard in Syria, and Israel does not want to give the Iranians and Hezbollah an excuse to try to hit back.
The latest reports are that Egypt has mediated a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and this is good from the Israeli perspective. As PM Netanyahu stated, “If they test us they pay immediately, if they continue to test us they will pay dearly.”