Hamas in a corner without a pressure valve
The recent developments in Gaza raise the question, what will be the trigger for the next conflict?
Hamas is stuck between a hard place and a rock. It seems that every body’s against them. Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli Government all seem to have their hearts set on bringing Hamas to their knees. Everybody except the Israeli defense establishment that is. While the Security Cabinet, at the request of the Palestinian Authority, made a decision to reduce the amount of electricity Israel supplies to Gaza it appears that the military has a different view.
Hamas are under internal pressure from the Palestinians living under their dictatorship in the strip. They are in a deep energy crisis. Hamas are in a deep international legitimacy crisis. And, Hamas are in a financial crisis with Qatari funds in question. Each of these crises could be a trigger for another round of violence. All of these things added up translate into one clear thing, when you humiliate Hamas, when you dishonor them, they will eventually resort to violence. That violence will be channeled to Israel, it may even be in the summer.
The defense establishment’s interest isn’t necessarily to prevent the conflict with Hamas, but rather prevent the conflict before there is a reasonable solution to the terror tunnels. It was Hamas’ strategy to build these tunnels that caused great frustration, several critical reports and produced public outcry about the military’s ill-preparedness for the threat of summer 2014. Indeed in the coming weeks the Ministry of Defense, are to deploy tens of engineering vehicles along the 80-kilometer border in order to implement an extensive project to sever all cross-border tunnels. The underground wall, sometimes called “the barrier”, is an extensive system that will flush Hamas’ tunnel system down the drain. When completed it will be a physical subterranean barrier forever blocking the underground route for attacks and infiltration.
When this project will be in full swing Hamas is expected to increase its activities along the border. Since the beginning of Ramadan, Hamas have been organizing riots across the border area with Israel provoking a response that has left two Palestinians killed and several others wounded. They are playing with fire, sometimes preventing sometimes provoking, this double-edged policy jeopardizes the stability and could be yet another trigger for the next conflict.
Where is this headed? How much humiliation can Hamas take before they attack?