Israel has made strategic changes in the management of the conflict with the Palestinians. Its operations against the resistance were always timed to connect with political events and elections, or as a means to put pressure on Gaza to pass deals in the Arab region. Now, though, it seems that the conflict has reached a state of parity, as the enemy is currently broken in the face of the resistance groups and their ability to persevere.
A reading of events suggests that it is impossible to end the battle decisively as long as the resistance fighters do not lay down their arms. I believe that Israel’s inability to infiltrate the Hamas intelligence network and discover its military capabilities pushes it to escalate the situation with the resistance to test the movement’s strength and discover how far it has advanced. Military offensives are no longer a walk in the park used by Israeli politicians to succeed at the polls; they are an ongoing effort to figure out Hamas’s military limits and capabilities in a comprehensive war on the level of missiles and ground operations.
We should avoid grand terminology and theories when evaluating the situation. We should also keep in mind that the policies of the Palestinian Authority need to be assessed separately from the behaviour of ordinary Palestinians, who are committed to liberating their land.
Despite the obvious difficulties facing Hamas, it is managing very skilfully while lacking Arab backing, whether popular or institutional. Indeed it is managing its policies professionally, almost to the point of genius. This was highlighted at the beginning of the Syrian Revolution when Hamas leaders were based in Damascus. After trying to broker a reconciliation between the people and the regime to no avail, the movement left Syria, despite its integration there and love for the people. Hamas did not want to stay and affect what it believed then to be Syria’s domestic affairs. The movement also acted with political wisdom and decorum during the January Revolution in Egypt. We will not find a single statement made by Hamas supporting intervention in Egyptian affairs, not even during the military coup against President Morsi through which the Palestinian people lost strong popular and government support.
Many may wonder about the professional nature of Hamas’s political performance; how it mastered the art of manoeuvring on the political chessboard at regional and international levels, and its integrated vision for managing the conflict against Israel in the short and long term. The Palestinian resistance speaks as a state and the coordination between the factions is currently at its highest level with Hamas. They are talking about the same principles and are stationed in the same area.
This was imposed by the Qassam Brigades’ military capabilities. The complementarity and precision of communication between the front lines and the political parties that move and negotiate diplomatically demonstrate that the resistance groups are behaving as a full-fledged state.
In case you think that I am overly emotional when talking about the Palestinian resistance, or idealistic, I will say that it is essential for the leaders of the movement to commit themselves to keep the political and military paths balanced; the former should not precede the latter under the weight of the popular base in Gaza. The journey is still long and the enemy is still militarily superior; we must weigh matters carefully and not bury our heads in the sand.
The rockets fired from the Gaza Strip will not defeat Israel, nor will they create equality of fear on both sides in the short term, compared to the losses sustained by the Palestinians in the enclave. However, the moral victory achieved by those in Gaza is a bright spot in the Arab map that is difficult to defeat, especially after Hamas lost some of its popular support in Arab countries after the violence of the deep state against the revolutionaries.
Before we examine Hamas’s policy mechanisms and the dimensions of its strategic vision for the management of the conflict, however, we must consider that it is well aware of the number of effective cards that it possesses, as well as when and how it can use them. The accuracy of organising and distributing roles amongst its political bureau members, as well as the precision in discipline and media discourse, is all reliant on the politicians giving the correct directions.
We have noticed the unity of the internal front of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance factions and their relationship with the general public. The number of martyrs is growing but the Palestinians in Gaza are not blaming the resistance groups, unlike the Arab governments, who claim to be unusually keen on preserving Palestinian lives. Instead, we find the most amazing examples of perseverance and defiance, and this is the greatest challenge that any resistance movement in the world faces. Hamas has emerged victorious in this regard and surpassed even itself in building a strong domestic front that believes in resistance as a strategic option rather than “peace” based on submission, normalisation and humiliation.
The political battle is no less aggressive than the battle of the ground, and given the absence of any official backing from the PA, which seems biased in favour of the other side in its initiatives, Hamas has had to look carefully for effective regional actors who can work to achieve the demands of liberation. The resistance generally delivers balanced media discourse and does not look to find differences with Arab neighbours or engage in verbal jousts with the official media of some countries that are very unfair to the resistance. Indeed, the resistance groups and their media outlets reserve the right to respond and focus their efforts on confronting the attacks on themselves and their people.
The members of the Hamas political bureau have proven clearly that they know how the cards have been dealt in all of the previous challenges, and the politicians showed restraint in their words; they were careful and planned a long-term battle. They were not tempted by their field successes to rush into other actions or to get carried away diplomatically or in the media, and so have stayed in the game. Their balanced management of the conflict comes from their awareness of the importance of the struggle and its developments and demands on the ground. The strong foundations of the movement’s organisational structure have made it difficult and almost impossible to infiltrate it on the intelligence level.
We are looking at a movement that expresses itself as a resistance state, the conscience of a nation, and the honour of Arabism. In our analysis, we cannot overlook its skill in managing the battle or its ingenuity in dealing with issues politically, despite the difficulties of the military aspects. However, Gaza remains the shining example that expresses our moral victories with doctrinal constants that cannot be excluded from the overall picture.