Hamas got their man in Netanyahu- analysis

Hamas, the report said, has long viewed Netanyahu “as a coward, desperate to avoid trouble and war” while Gantz would be more open to military conflict.

April 10, 2019 19:16
2 minute read.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh next to his destroyed office (REUTERS/Handout)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh next to his destroyed office (REUTERS/Handout). (photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)

Hamas got what it wanted out of Israel’s elections: Another term with Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

His win came just weeks after yet another escalation of violence with the Sunni terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, after a long-range rocket launched from southern Gaza destroyed a residential home 120 km. away.

The Israeli military, like in every previous 11 rounds over the past year, said that Hamas was struck harder than ever since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Thousands of soldiers, including reservists, were called up and deployed to the border with Gaza, with tanks and armored personnel carriers deployed in the fields and ready to enter Gaza if and when the order was given.

The tanks and troops are still in the fields, but no order has been given.

Netanyahu did not want a war during the election campaign – dead troops don’t win elections, especially in Israel.

But the elections are over, and Netanyahu won. Now what? Will the tanks and troops return to their bases? Will the reservists get the green light to return home?

Very likely.

Despite calling himself Mr. Security and all the fist pumping, Netanyahu does not seem keen on yet another military conflict with Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Strip.

Almost every month over the past year has been a major escalation of tensions on the southern front, with over 1,500 rockets, missiles and other projectiles having been fired from the Strip since March 30. While the majority of the projectiles have been aimed toward southern Israel, three of them were launched toward the center of the country.

While that would usually trigger a military confrontation, Israel said they were “mistakes” caused by “technical malfunctions” in the Hamas rockets.


According to a report in The Forward, Hamas held a top-level meeting of its consultative council in late March, when senior Hamas leaders discussed the different possible outcomes of the elections and how to deal with its aftermath.

“The conclusions of the discussion were unprecedented,” the report said, with an “overwhelming majority” of Hamas leaders at the meeting preferring to see Netanyahu win the election.

Hamas, the report said, has long viewed Netanyahu “as a coward, desperate to avoid trouble and war,” while Gantz would be more open to military conflict as the answer to any violence emanating from the blockaded coastal enclave.

Those rockets were very likely not “mistakes,” but rather the terrorist group testing Netanyahu, to see how Mr. Security would react to missiles fired toward Tel Aviv. And they got their answer: tanks and troops in the fields but not in Gaza.

And Gantz? What would he have done as prime minister? Would he have taken a different, more militaristic approach? Would he have given the green light to the troops he used to command? Would he have overseen another war with Hamas?

Gantz was the chief of staff during the last conflict in Gaza – Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – which brought almost five years of quiet to the south.

But that deterrence gained from the last war has eroded during Netanyahu’s last term.

Hamas has re-armed and has studied and tested Netanyahu. They know he prefers calm over conflict. They got their man.

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