Hamas is in a dilemma. In the Hamas world, losing face is worse than death. Honor is everything in the Arab Middle East, where relatives have been known to kill young women for allowing themselves to be raped. To agree to a ceasefire without getting anything in return is not acceptable to them. However, their demands are equally unacceptable to Israel. Israel sealed the border with Gaza in 2007 because of terrorism. We are not going to open the border because of the threat of more terrorism.
When my daughter was called back to her base yesterday after a 48 hour respite, I was pretty sure this meant more rockets. Indeed, Hamas must resume fighting (25 Rockets so far this morning after the ceasefire ended at 8am) to save face. However to continue fighting means to continue to put the people of Gaza at risk. Hamas clearly doesn’t mind collateral damage; in fact they invite it, as they think it will strengthen their hand. But how long will the people of Gaza and the PLO put up with Hamas bringing death and destruction upon Gaza? And despite the Jimmy Carters of the world, less and less people are buying their propaganda.
Two Bad Choices
So, if they stop fighting, they appear to be losers. If they keep fighting, more Palestinians will die, and Hamas may lose its support. (In truth they have already lost support, but the people are afraid to oppose them. Twenty anti-war demonstrators in Gaza were executed recently. However, as they invite more and more destruction, the people may rise up. We know that the PLO is fed up with them.) Thus, this is a lose/lose proposition.
“We Love Death”
Death is their preferred option. It has been reported that 3,000 of Hamas’ top fighters told their families they would not be returning, but will die as martyrs in this battle. Hamas (and radical Islam as a whole) is obsessed with death. It is to be desired and celebrated; it is to be longed for. Their chief military commander was quoted as saying that Hamas loves death, like Israelis love life.
This is how they justify using women and children and the mentally ill as Human Shields—we are sending them to paradise. The Hamas former Minister of Culture preached in a 2011 sermon:
“Whoever is killed by a Jew receives the reward of two martyrs, because the very thing that the Jews did to the prophets was done to him…Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world.”[i]
Does that mean you get 144 virgins?
That Dastardly Iron Dome!
In this no-win situation, Hamas may be willing to commit self-genocide—in their twisted logic—a Samson-like choice. The difference being, they will only kill themselves and their people, while Israel through the IDF will continue to defend itself. Samson was able to actually inflict serious damage on the Philistines. Hamas is frustrated that they have not been able to inflict the kind of damage they had hoped to on Israel–either through the tunnels, rockets and missiles or kidnapping an Israeli.
In fact, not only through trolls on twitter, but even in the U.N., Israel’s Iron Dome has been condemned as an unfair advantage. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said:
“[The U.S. has] provided almost $1 billion in providing the ‘Iron Domes’ to protect the Israelis from rocket attacks, but no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”[ii]
I guess there is a reason she is called the High Commissioner—because you would have to be high to give your enemy—a ruthless, death-loving, bloodthirsty, terrorist organization—technology to use against you. By this logic, the U.S. had a moral obligation to share its nuclear technology with Hitler and Japan.
How will this End?
I really don’t know. Maybe the PLO officials will be able to convince Hamas that they ‘won’ and achieve a lasting ceasefire. Maybe the PLO will join with Israel to destroy Hamas—surely it’s their secret wish. One thing is clear, Am Yisrael Chai—The people of Israel live. By the mercy of God Almighty we will persevere—to continue to fight or to live in peace, whichever option our enemy chooses.
[i] Sermon delivered by Atallah Abu Al-Subh, former Hamas minister of culture, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV, April 8, 2011, translation by MEMRI
Photo Credit Ted Van Pelt