Hamas in Gaza: Return of the Body Snatchers

As Benjamin Netanyahu mulls a new 'diplomatic process,’ Hamas comes out the victor. Hezbollah is watching and learning.

Prof. Aryeh Eldad should use his scientific training to make sure that his political commentary be informed by the absolute minimum of intellectual integrity.
Aryeh Eldad
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Palestinian members of the Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas' military wing, December 7, 2012.
Palestinian members of the Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas' military wing, December 7, 2012.Credit: Reuters
Prof. Aryeh Eldad should use his scientific training to make sure that his political commentary be informed by the absolute minimum of intellectual integrity.
Aryeh Eldad

In 1956, the film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was a rousing success. Aliens murder people and take over their bodies so they can take over the planet. The film became a science-fiction classic, but it was more than just a bizarre horror film. Many people saw it as an allegory for communism taking over the world.

The Gaza Strip of our day, like Hezbollah’s Lebanon, has become a kind of rerun, neither science fiction nor bizarre. And the allegory is no longer a cinematic interpretation. This is the reality – the vision of radical Islam, Sunni or Shi’ite, trying to take over the world.

They have been digging sophisticated tunnels for years, with huge investments from Qatar and Iran, equipping themselves with tens of thousands of rockets, training suicide fighters and believing they can vanquish Israel through terror, abductions and murder – and by snatching bodies and trafficking in them.

This is the reality. People who see this reality but delude themselves about moderate partners who will achieve peace with these body snatchers are themselves living in a science-fiction movie. They’re hoping for a happy end when the lights go up so they can go back living in their bubble.

As these words were being written, the army was leaving the Gaza Strip and rockets were once again being launched at the south and center of the country. By the time these words are published, the army may already be back in the Strip, or there may be quiet. The decision on which way things go, unfortunately, is in the hands of the body snatchers, not Israel’s leaders.

Under such circumstances, Hamas comes out the victor. Hezbollah is watching and learning. The general feeling in Israel at the end of the Second Lebanon War was that we did not win. For certain political and military commentators, our eight years of quiet are proof that we deterred Hezbollah. But as Mao Zedong said when asked about his opinion on the French Revolution – it’s too early to tell.

If “deterred” Hezbollah has accumulated more than 100,000 rockets, if it has chemical weapons obtained from Bashar Assad and is digging tunnels, it hasn’t been deterred from waging war against us. It’s only waiting for the right time or an order from Iran.

And if we leave Hamas in the situation it is in today, military commander Mohammed Deif may continue to live in a bunker, but he’ll also continue planning attacks against us. And even if he contracts rickets from a lack of sunlight, he’ll continue to dig, build rockets and try to obtain or manufacture chemical weapons.

After all, the real body snatchers tend not to speak the lines written by our scriptwriters appearing on television and speaking from the heart. According to the pure logic of our strategists and commentators, Hamas has been badly hit and the Gazans will make it pay for the destruction. And the whole world is against them, so this is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ time; he’ll come out on top. But what do you do when the logic of the body snatchers is different?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks like a person who has decided to miss out on a historic opportunity and not reign victorious. There are concerns he may try to cover up his failure with a new “diplomatic process.” If it turns out that Abbas’ road to statehood was built using the blood of Israel’s military heroes, it will not just be a missed opportunity. It will be a crime.

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