On his blog http://www.theaugeanstables.com Richard Landes has summed up the Hamas strategy. I want to record it simply because it is the truth:
Hamas’ strategy works like this:
- Cyclically attack your enemy’s civilians in such as way as to provoke a violent retaliation.
- Hide behind civilians (neighborhoods, schools, hospitals) so that the retaliation does your civilians the maximal damage.
- Produce an industry of lethal narratives portraying Israel as ruthless murderers of civilians (a projection of Hamas tactics and desires).
- Have these lethal narratives circulated by journalists as news, so that international opinion rises up against Israel.
- Survive until that international outrage forces the Israelis to pull back and save you.
- Repeat, with each reiteration making Israel weaker on the military battlefield and more isolated in the global community.
Given how merciless and self-destructive this strategy, it has proven surprisingly effective. As Jeremy Bowen explains, each round is a race in time between the moments the Israelis strike (back) and the time an incensed international community intervenes decisively to stop the “humanitarian crisis.”