Israel began giving covert assistance to Hamas in the 70's. According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)". Israel "aided Hamas directly, the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies. According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, "the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism." "The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer." "They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it," he said. Aid to Hamas may have looked clever, "but it was hardly designed to help smooth the waters," he said. "An operation like that gives weight to President George Bush's remark about there being a crisis in education." Shlomo Ben-Ami's ( former foreign minister) colleague, Avner Yaniv, in his Dilemmas of Security said, the main problem for Israel was "the P.L.O.'s peace offensive. They wanted a two-state settlement. Israel did not.? And so Israel decides to crush the P.L.O. in Lebanon.
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from the article: IDF says Hamas responsible for Katyusha fired from Gaza Strip