Is Hamas winning?
The raw trauma in Gaza is almost impossible to watch as the Israeli Defence Forces pound the tiny, impoverished, heavily populated strip of land surrounded by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The tragedy unfolding before our eyes has sparked huge popular demonstrations around the world, including Canada, demanding a ceasefire.
Witnessing the terrible bloodshed and destruction, it’s difficult to fathom what, if any, strategic benefit the massacre on October 7 of hundreds of Israelis by Hamas fighters and the ensuing ten-fold killing of Palestinians by Israel in Gaza brings to either side of the conflict.
This is a question on my mind: Is Hamas winning?
To answer, one needs to consider Hamas’ strategic political or military goals in launching such an unprecedented attack on October 7.
- Was the horrific counter-attack by Israel predictable, or a gross miscalculation?
- Did Hamas hope to spark a broader conflict against Israel from the “Axis of Resistance” in other countries such as Lebanon?
- Or, is Hamas achieving its goals given the widespread attention to the plight of Palestinians by people of the world who are filling the streets in protests?
- Will this mean more support for Palestinians’ desire to return to land they once occupied, now within Israel?
Part of the answer might lie in this fascinating conversation on the New York Times’ The Daily podcast. Ben Hubbard has been reporting on Hamas’ decision to attack on October 7 and the deliberate calculations that went into it. He traveled to the region and spoke to Hamas’ political leaders.
His conclusions are chilling: “In my talks with the Hamas leaders, there was really no sense of a grand plan for what comes next,” he sys. “It was that the attack somehow would be enough and would open up some new way [to replace the status quo].”
Israel’s response, says Hubbard, is equally guided by vague objectives. “I think it’s also worth pointing out that Israel doesn’t appear to have a grand plan either. The stated goal is to destroy Hamas…But then what? There’s not really any plan for who’s going to run Gaza once this is all over. And so, where does all this get us?”
Bearing in mind this is a U.S. perspective from a major mainstream media outlet, nevertheless it asks important questions and adds to other available information.
(Cover: Palestinians storm Israel, east of the city of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, October 7, 2023. Via Shutterstock)