Why Hamas insists on getting its scattershot ‘victories’

World

Why Hamas insists on getting its scattershot ‘victories’

ANALYSIS | The Palestinian group always claims to win the wars it loses

Eli Lake

According to its exiled political leader, Hamas’s war strategy — if that’s the proper term for raining hundreds of randomly fired rockets on Israel — is working. In a televised address on Tuesday evening, Ismail Haniya called the barrage a “victory” and “an honour for our people”.

This rhetoric is not unusual. Hamas always claims to win the wars it loses. In 2012, after suffering a humiliating defeat to Israel, a popular perfume appeared in a shop in Gaza named for the Hamas missile that reached Tel Aviv. The shop owner said it commemorated a military “victory” that left much of Gaza in shambles.

This time around, the Hamas offensive makes even less military sense. Israel in 2021 has a very effective missile and rocket defence system that has intercepted most of Hamas’s rockets in midair. While a few have gotten through, the rockets do not seem to be breaking the will of the Israeli people. Indeed, the short-term consequence of the Hamas escalation has been to unify an Israeli government that was unravelling behind its polarising prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu...

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