‘Hamas wants to enhance status, doesn’t want Cast Lead'

Meir Elran of Tel Aviv University says that the escalation does not mean Hamas is goading the IDF into launching a second Operation Cast Lead.

Palestinian terrorist 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian terrorist 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas has stepped up its rocket fire in recent weeks in order to solidify its status as the Palestinian faction most devoted to the struggle against Israel, an expert on terrorism and strategic affairs said on Sunday.
Meir Elran of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University said that the escalation does not mean that Hamas is goading the IDF into launching a second Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
“They are the flag-carriers of the struggle against Israel, this is the thing that makes them special,” Elran said. “This is what preserves their existence; the fact that they are not like Fatah. So they have an interest to maintain the tension and escalate the situation, but they don’t want a fullscale escalation that will lead to Cast Lead 2.”
Elran added “there’s also the element of reaction, they will say that we’re the ones that started this round and so they are just reacting.”
He added that another consideration for Hamas is that they are interested in strengthening their position against Fatah in case contacts between the two continue.
On the other hand, Prof. Hillel Frisch from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University said he wasn’t convinced that Hamas had any concrete strategy driving their increased rocket fire.
“When these things happen, you can always speculate that maybe they want to show they are part of the struggle or the opposition to Israel, all types of theories can be devised. I don’t think there’s a strategy based on internal Palestinian politics.”
Frisch said it could very well just be a tit-for-tat between Israel and Hamas that has gotten out of hand for the past week, adding “most of our history with Hezbollah when we were in Lebanon was like this.”