Jeffrey Goldberg: Hamas' goal is to get Israel to kill as many 'Palestinians' as possible
Jeffrey Goldberg has figured out Hamas
In reaction to these indiscriminately
fired missiles, Israel has bombarded targets across Gaza. Compared with
violent death rates in other parts of the Middle East, the number of
dead in Gaza is small. (More than 170,000 people have been killed in the
Syrian civil war to date.) But it is large enough to suggest an answer
to Abbas’s question: Hamas is trying to get Israel to kill as many
Palestinians as possible.
Dead Palestinians represent a crucial
propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true.
It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because
Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.
The men who run Hamas, engineers and
doctors and lawyers by training, are smart enough to understand that
though they wish to bring about the annihilation of the Jewish state and
to replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood state (Hamas is the Palestinian
branch of the Brotherhood), they are in no position to do so. Hamas is a
militarily weak group, mostly friendless, that is firing rockets at the
civilians of a powerful neighboring state.
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The Israeli military has the operational capability to
level the entire Gaza Strip in a day, if it so chooses. It is
constrained by international pressure, by its own morality, and by the
understanding that the deaths of innocent Palestinians are not in its
best political interest. The men who run Hamas—the ones hiding in
bunkers deep underground, the ones who send other people’s children to
their deaths as suicide bombers—also understand that their current
campaign will not bring the end of Israel’s legitimacy as a state.
. Hamas does have one other goal: To kill as many Jews as possible. And while they have not significantly and directly advanced that goal through rocket fire, they are hopeful that an Israeli ground invasion will give them better opportunities at closer range. God Forbid....
Labels: civilian casualties, Hamas, human shields, Operation Protective Edge