Commentary | Hamas sacrifices the Islamic Jihad for the sake of controlling Israel

Commentary | Hamas sacrifices the Islamic Jihad for the sake of controlling Israel
Commentary | Hamas sacrifices the Islamic Jihad for the sake of controlling Israel

The current round of fighting in Gaza, like the “Belt before it”, is directed only against the Islamic Jihad. And not for nothing. It seems that in recent years Hamas is ready to sacrifice the Islamic Jihad for long-term goals. The main one is the takeover of Yosh, after the death of Abu Mazen.

Hamas’s strategy in recent years has undergone a “change of direction”. In light of Abu Mazen’s advanced age, the organization wants to take over YoS, more than embark on an annual round of combat against the IDF in Gaza. And that’s where he puts his resources. Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israel understand that there is going to be chaos in the United States. The succession struggles in the authority began a few months ago, when the question of the continuity of the government was submerged in a pool of uncertainty.

Hamas wants to prepare infrastructures, social, economic, political and military, in order to take advantage of the chaos to take control of the Palestinian Authority’s territories in the West Bank. I will mention that the elections that were supposed to take place in 2021 in the Palestinian Authority, have not taken place to date. Apparently due to the fear of Abu Mazen and Israel that Hamas will win them.

Gaza as a logistic base

During the 16 years of its rule in Gaza, Hamas managed to build a military force that would allow it the governmental stability needed to develop socio-economic stability. The governmental stability of Hamas has allowed the organization to establish civil, political and economic infrastructures that will support its military arm and the takeover of the Palestinian Authority’s territories. This stability is based on delicate relations with Israel. Tit-for-tat. take and give. In the present case, take Jihad.

Unlike Gaza, in Israel, Israel has broad security control and Hamas requires many resources and focus of effort. If he wants to realize his vision of taking over PA territories, he needs to anchor Gaza as a logistical base. A war with Israel harms this interest.

In the Islamic Jihad they did not understand that the cheese moved. Hamas avoided a confrontation with Israel in Gaza, in order to focus its efforts on Israel. Even after the results of the “Black Belt” operation in 2019, the Islamic Jihad did not understand the hint. About four years have passed and again an IDF operation, this time called “Shield and Arrow”, and again the fire is directed only at the Jihad infrastructure.


From a terrorist organization – to a political entity

While Israel is perfumed by the tactical success in the current conflict in Gaza, the elimination of senior Jihad officials and the organization’s rocket infrastructure, Hamas is thinking in the long term. If a “black swan” event does not happen, and the plan continues as planned by Hamas, this conflict will end in the erosion of Jihad. A result that will benefit the Hamas government in Gaza. Not only due to the erosion of a competing organization, but due to the fact that Hamas will be able to manage relations with Israel without interference from Jihad.

The long-term vision of Hamas is to take over the territories of the Palestinian Authority in the United States and come under its political “sleeve”. A move that will make it possible to whitewash Hamas as a political body, just as the Oslo Accords whitewashed the PLO.

Israel, for its part, will try to enthrone someone on its behalf in order to create governmental continuity that will prevent elections in the PA territories and keep Hamas in Gaza. Hamas, for its part, will try to thwart Israel’s kingdom move and mobilize the international community to support holding elections under the supervision of the United Nations.

In this equation, Hamas understands that a relationship interface with Israel is needed. If we return to the “Shield and Arrow” operation, the question arises as to who gave Israel the real-time location of the three senior jihadists. These are senior officials in a terrorist organization who lead the life routine of a wanted person and it is difficult to put a sigint signature on them and it is even more difficult to track this signature in real time. It can be assumed that Yomintic information reached Israel.

Did Hamas pass on the information? How much cooperation is there between Israel and Hamas in the current operation? How much was a black belt? These are open questions. In conclusion, there is no doubt that Israel won the current conflict with a tactical achievement, but this is a short-term achievement. In Hamas, it seems, they think further.