There is a ruthless, cynical logic in what Hamas is doing in the Gaza Strip.The constant rocket attacks on Israel are largely futile in the sense that they do minimal damage. But Hamas knows that as long as the attacks continue, Israel is bound to retaliate. It can hardly allow its territory and people to remain under constant threat.
Hamas’s trump card here is the Western news media. The terrorists know that the casualties of Israeli retaliation – children especially – attract international media sympathy. They make sure TV crews get footage of the funerals and have access to the hospital wards where maimed children are being treated.They know that their most potent weapon against Israel is not rockets but international opinion. And they know that as long as the media present the conflict as one that is massively one-sided – one that is reported every day in terms of the gross imbalance in the casualty figures, almost as if it were some grotesque sporting encounter – then international opinion will regard Hamas as the wronged party.
They also know that the moment they stop firing rockets at Israel, the retaliatory attacks will also cease. Children will stop dying and life will return to some semblance of normality (or whatever passes for normality in Gaza). But they choose to continue.On the face of it, the only conclusion is that they are either stupid or mad – or both – to continue with a policy that causes little damage to the enemy. But that’s where the cynical logic comes in.
Continuing the attacks guarantees that Israel will keep on defending itself, and that the media will keep reporting the terrible harm that results. International opinion will be aroused and that will translate into diplomatic pressure on Israel to moderate its position, to the benefit of Hamas.A few hundred innocent Palestinians may die in the meantime, but that’s obviously a price the Hamas fanatics are prepared to pay.