Haaretz Analysts Weigh in on Operation Protective Edge

A week and a half into Operation Protective Edge, Haaretz analysts weigh in on Hamas' political success, how much longer Hamas can hold without breaking and whether the Iron Dome actually works.

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Palestinians gather around a vehicle that was destroyed by a Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.Credit: AP

Hamas’ political success at Mahmoud Abbas’ expense, the cross-purposes in the search for a cease-fire, the need for Israeli “magnanimity” toward Gaza, and whether the Iron Dome is a hoax - these were the topics taken up by some of Haaretz’s top analysts over the weekend.

Noting that Hamas has two weeks’ worth of rockets remaining, Amos Harel writes: “Hamas shows no signs of breaking, its spokesmen seemingly swept away by its very success in holding out and refocusing Arab and international attention, even if Europe and the United States are showing understanding of Israel’s right to defend itself and embark on the ground operation.”

Much of the fuel for Hamas’ confidence comes from the Palestinian public in both the West Bank and Gaza, who see it standing up bravely for the national cause while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plays the diplomatic supplicant, writes Amira Hass. “In recent weeks it has become clear that Hamas has been able to present a challenge to Israel greater than any Israel has ever faced from a Palestinian organization – and in the opinion of the Palestinian public, for justifiable reasons. This has also impressed those who despise Hamas’ political-religious path as well as those who are not blinded by worship of the armed struggle.”

A Haaretz editorial argues that if a cease-fire leaves Gaza in the same miserable condition it was in before Operation Protective Edge began, it will not hold. “Despite the growing frustration as the war continues, Israel must strive for a cease-fire, granting Hamas an achievement in terms of the population’s welfare, livelihood and freedom of movement. … A magnanimous solution for the daily distress of Gazans would allay frustration toward Israel, would allow them to live honorably and could stop another violent round in the near future.”

Zvi Bar’el tracks the conflicting interests of the main players in the pursuit of a cease-fire – Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Egypt and Hamas, Egypt and Qatar/Turkey, Israel with everyone except Egypt and the United States. He writes: “The conclusion from this international and inter-Arab involvement in the Gaza conflict is that the prospects of a resolution to the conflict lie not only in the number of Palestinian and Israeli dead or the amount of rockets and tunnels, but depend to a large extent on striking the right balance between the different power struggles and prestige wars waged by all sides, until the last drop of Palestinian blood.”

And Rogel Alpher wonders why the Israeli media are not investigating the claim of two scientists and one late military analyst: that the almighty Iron Dome does not shoot down many rockets at all, that it’s a grand hoax. Without judging this assertion himself, Alpher writes that these researchers “make the most subversive claim imaginable. If they are right, what we have here is the mother of all conspiracies: The national leadership is manufacturing an imaginary reality and convincing citizens of its truth, out of tyrannical and economic motives. If so, North Korea is here.”