Hamas and Hezbollah, two terrorist organizations known for their violence against Israel, have begun to embrace new strategies that incorporate non-violent tactics, including civil disobedience, protest marches, lawsuits and boycotts, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Hamas officials said that the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed showed that more can be gained by getting Israel to draw international condemnation through its own use of force than by carrying out violent attacks against Israel.
"When we use violence, we help Israel win international support," Aziz Dweik, a Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank told the Wall Street Journal. "The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets."
Dweik has reportedly begun appearing recently at weekly protests against Israel's security barrier in the West Bank.
Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah have officially foresworn violence, however. Both organizations continue to stockpile weaponry and the Hamas charter still calls for Israel's destruction.
Also, according to video footage and soldiers' testimony, some activists on board the Mavi Marmara, the boat on which the nine deaths occurred, did not passively resist the IDF commandos as they boarded but instead violently attacked the soldiers.
In the wake of the flotilla incident, international pressure has led Israel to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on supporters to join the next flotilla bound for Gaza, marking the first time that Nasrallah has embraced such tactics against Israel, Hezbollah political official Ghaleb Abu Zeinab told the Wall Street Journal.
There have been reports of two Lebanese ships preparing to set sail for Gaza, but none have departed as of yet.
In the West Bank, a non-violent protest movement has gained momentum in the past year. In January, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced a boycott campaign against products made in Israeli settlements and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later banned settlement products from being sold in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.
In Hamas-controlled Gaza, marches have been organized into the Israeli-controlled buffer zone on the border and Hamas has supported lawsuits against Israeli officials in European courts.
A Hamas lawmaker in Gaza, Salah Bardawil, told the Wall Street Journal that Hamas has come to appreciate the importance of international support in its fight against Israel and has adapted its tactics.
The report quoted a senior Israeli foreign ministry official saying that Israel was aware of the change in tactics of Hamas and other terrorist groups. The official said the groups remain committed to Israel's destruction but have realized that they are more likely to achieve that goal by isolating Israel internationally than through violent conflict.