HAMAS’S OVERARCHING ideology according to its 1988 charter is both anti-Israel and anti-Semitic: It calls for the destruction of the state of Israel and the extermination of its Jewish inhabitants. Not surprisingly, therefore, many Israeli Jews believe that was Hamas’s strategic goal in the recent Gaza war.

It is, however, more reasonable to assume that the aim of the cross-border attack tunnels was to abduct IDF soldiers or take over Israeli civilian communities for bargaining purposes – to force Israel to lift the siege on Gaza and free Palestinian prisoners. It is also more reasonable to assume that rather than to destroy Israel, the internal network of tunnels and the rocket arsenal were intended for defense and deterrence against a possible Israeli offensive.

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