Forces: Depleted Hamas is Reconstituted


June 25, 2024: Palestinian terror group Hamas is an unusual group that mainly raises money from foreign, usually Arab, donors and uses that cash to maintain the luxurious lifestyle of the Hamas leadership, pay for weapons to arm new recruits and the ongoing propaganda campaign portraying Hamas as a champion of the Palestinian people and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Hamas has been doing this since the 1990s. Hamas has consistently failed to achieve any of its goals but remains viable by describing each failed operation as another costly victory on the path to establishing the Palestinian State. This state is supposed to eliminate Israel but the Israelis have consistently defeated Hamas attacks. The problem is that Hamas cannot be destroyed because it thrives on defeats. As long as it continues to portray itself as the champion of Palestinian statehood, the many unemployed Palestinian men will join. Being a Hamas member means you get paid, armed and often killed in another hapless Hamas offensive. The Hamas leadership currently lives in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, where they direct disbursement of cash to Hamas groups and arms merchants who can supply smuggled weapons to wherever Hamas members are active.

Hamas is largely about appearances, not reality. Hamas suffered heavy losses since its October 2023 offensive in Gaza, a Palestinian controlled territory between Israel and Egypt. Israeli forces prevented Hamas from entering Israel in the north and Israel and Egypt prevented Hamas from entering Egypt in the south.

By June 2024, Israel and Hamas were trying to agree on a ceasefire for the fighting in Gaza where Israeli troops are seeking to eliminate the remaining Hamas fighters. This has been going on since the initial Hamas offensive in October 2023. Hamas used surprise, deception, and frequent use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. This is what Hamas is currently doing as Israeli troops attack the Rafah border crossing. This is the only crossing between Egypt and the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. Until Hamas decided to start another war in October 2023, over two million Palestinians lived in the Gaza Strip and their two main supply routes were Rafah and the Erez crossing with Israel. Hamas failed to penetrate either of these crossings. The Erez crossing is not a practical option for Hamas because it is guarded by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). The Rafah crossing is guarded by Egyptian forces, who will not allow Palestinian civilians but will allow supply trucks to enter Gaza from Egypt. Israel wants Hamas to hand over the remaining Israeli hostages and other foreign hostages they hold. Some of these hostages are dead and Israel wants their bodies. At the same time Israel wants to kill all the remaining Hamas members in Gaza. Most of these Hamas members have hidden their weapons and present themselves as Palestinian civilians. Israel has biometric (fingerprints and photos) data on many Hamas members and that makes it difficult for Hamas members to try leaving Gaza via the Rafah crossing. Hamas members have to cross an Israeli checkpoint and then an Egyptian checkpoint. Hamas could only use these crossings in peacetime so now they are trapped in Sinai and hunted by the IDF. The problem is that most Hamas members are Palestinian men who accept weapons from Hamas and take orders in return for regular pay. Hamas is a financial and terrorist scam that gets lots of Palestinians killed and accomplishes nothing. Most Palestinians recognize Hamas as a problem that does nothing for the Palestinian people. Hamas threatens to retaliate against any Palestinians who openly criticize them

The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization and so do many other countries that have encountered Hamas. The American government uses its OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) to identify bank accounts used by Hamas and donors who raise money for Hamas. These accounts are shut down and the money in them is often seized. Since October 2023 Hamas has suffered a string of defeats but has found new ways to cause mischief. Hamas launched a surprise October 2023 offensive from Gaza against Israel. The IDF easily defeated the Hamas attack but Hamas continued attacking with help from the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon and parts southwestern Syria. Hamas described its attacks on Israel as an effort to create a Palestinian state. The problem is that Hamas considers a Palestinian state one that occupies all the territory Israel is composed of. Since Israel is the wealthiest and most militarily powerful state in the region, Hamas efforts to eliminate Israel are fantasy. Currently Hamas has gained a lot of media recognition and even some support for their Palestinian state plan.

Despite that, Hamas leaders, who live and work in Persian Gulf sanctuaries, are trying to make the most of the current Hamas Palestinian state fantasy, which has gained a lot of media coverage and public support. Among the Palestinians, who live in the West Bank and, until late 2023, Gaza, Hamas was considered a menace that is more interested in power than providing any benefits to the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Currently Hamas gunmen are using Palestinians in Gaza as human shields as they continue to fight Israeli troops sent in to restore order and establish safe routes for foreign aid to get to over two million Palestinians who need it. Hamas not only disrupts aid deliveries but seizes much of the aid that does get through, diverting the aid to Hamas controlled locations so that Hamas can sell the aid on the open market to obtain money to pay for Hamas operations. This is how Hamas operates and a major reason for the unpopularity of Hamas among Palestinians.

These Hamas operations put the growing number of Moslem states that have established diplomatic and trade relations with Israel in an awkward position. Hamas, for all its faults, knows how to manipulate the media temporarily to portray Hamas as the good guys. Arab states in the regions, especially Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, have to put up with Hamas activities until Hamas runs out of support. This doesn’t take long but until the media and diplomatic support fades there is not much that can be done.

One of the temporarily disrupted efforts is the growing tendency for Israel’s Arab neighbors to establish valuable economic, diplomatic, and military ties with Israel, and gain an ally against common enemies like Shia Iran and Islamic terrorism like Hamas. Israel is also the only nation in the region with nukes and reliable ballistic missiles, which are also used to put Israeli spy satellites into orbit. It is also the worst of times because Iran has personnel operating on Israeli borders and an increasingly effective Cyber War effort against Israel.

There is growing dissatisfaction in the West and the Middle East with the Palestinian leadership failures and rampant corruption. The current Hamas activities are the latest example. Many Palestinians support Hamas because they are convinced that Israel has no right to exist and pretending to negotiate a peace deal is useful for obtaining foreign aid and not much else. Arabs in general are now telling the Palestinians to take whatever peace deal they can because cash and other aid from Arab nations will continue to disappear unless the Palestinians solve their own problems with corruption and fixation on destroying Israel. Many Palestinians are willing to change but their corrupt leaders are not and use their war on Israel as an excuse to violently suppress any Palestinian opposition to the current suicidal strategy. This played a role in Hamas from launching a major attack out of Gaza into southern Israel in October 2023. Over a thousand Israelis and hundreds of foreigners died or were taken as hostages. Hamas planned to overthrow and replace the current corrupt West Bank Palestinian government. That effort failed because the Israeli military was able to counterattack and put Hamas on the defensive while West Bank Palestinians saw no gain in replacing their current corrupt leaders with the even more corrupt and much more violent Hamas.

The current Hamas crisis stems from the 900,000 Palestinian refugees who fled Gaza to escape the Hamas inspired violence. The refugees fled to the Egyptian border and the Egyptians will not let them in for the same reason Israel wants to control aid going to these refugees and search the refugees to find and capture or kill Hamas members.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close