Hamas perfects the art of celebrating defeat
Khairallah Khairallah/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Hamas is not ashamed of depicting the cease-fire in Gaza as a “victory.” If the long-term cease-fire which was achieved through Egyptian mediation is a victory, then what is to be defeated? Maybe Hamas won. It triumphed again over the people of Gaza who have been exposed thanks to its missiles and tunnels to a new Israeli aggression that cost the lives of more than two thousand people, most of whom are civilians. How long will this victory for the Palestinian people last?
Above all, there is the devastating destruction that Israel deliberately caused to the Strip. Who will compensate for the losses of the people of Gaza? Is it enough to bring a woman from here and a young man from there to talk about the “victory of the resistance,” so that the Palestinians believe that they have defeated Israel?
“Perhaps the only goal achieved by Hamas is that it is still controlling the Strip”
The important question now is: what will happen after the cease-fire? In case the victory was real, Hamas should first of all admit that it was defeated, given that the war did not achieve any of its objectives. The war did not embarrass Egypt, the Arabs, and other Palestinians; the Islamic movement, which is an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood, did not get out of its deep crisis.
Perhaps the only goal achieved by Hamas was that it is still controlling the Strip but this is neither guaranteed nor acceptable in the long term except in one case. It is only accepted if Hamas provides clear guarantees that it will not launch anymore missiles from Gaza. Most of all, Hamas should provide guarantees to Egypt that it will prevent Gaza from being a source of terrorism and terrorists and a haven for those who seek to conspire against Egypt and the Egyptian people.
Israel took advantage of the recent Gaza war on all levels. It seems that it took advantage of the missiles fired on cities and towns to avoid the search for a political solution of any kind. Moreover, it took advantage of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which is one of the most radical governments in Israel’s history. All that Hamas is doing is to proceed with a policy that blocks all ways to reach a political solution that helps to provide a minimum of legitimate rights for the Palestinian people.
What is sure after the recent war in Gaza is the failure of Hamas on the Egyptian, Palestinian and Arab fronts. It is now clear that it has no other place to go to except Egypt. As for the West Bank, it has once again confirmed that it is prepared to learn from the mistakes of the past by preventing their repetition, including the mistakes of militarizing the intifada, the outcome of which was disastrous in 2000, a past that is not so long ago.
What is important now is that Hamas should be aware that it has lost all its bets. It did not embarrass Egypt. I did not embarrass other Palestinians. It did not embarrass Arabs. All it did was serve Israel’s interests. Hamas was only cheered by those who previously applauded for the missiles of Saddam Hussein and Hezbollah. What was the result?
Well, Saddam got overthrown as we all know, and Hezbollah found a party to defeat. It defeated Lebanon and the Lebanese and here it is now seeking to win over Syria and the Syrians. Hamas was only able to defeat the people of Gaza. And since it was not able to achieve this victory, it only found 18 Palestinians and executed them in order to spread terror in the Strip, a few days before the cease-fire.
What should Gaza expect?
What should Gaza expect tomorrow? Who will build its houses? Who will compensate for the losses that have afflicted ordinary and poor people? Why would it escalate against a state that practices terrorism and possesses enough weapons to destroy every house in the Gaza Strip? Where is the bravery in what Hamas did?
The last heroic act that Hamas can do is to stop talking about the conditions for a cease-fire. It did not do so, at least until now. It is still imposing conditions. Perhaps it needs these kinds of conditions to save face.
In fact, the balance of power does not allow for the imposition of conditions. All that Hamas can do is to let Egypt settle things and be convinced that defeating Israel is possible, but not through rockets and tunnels. Defeating Israel will be realized through the establishment of a basis for a peaceful Palestinian state in Gaza with a very clear objective. This objective is not to give Israel more excuses to escape serious negotiations, given that such negotiations are not foreseeable in the near future.-+
After what happened in Gaza, Netanyahu will claim that he cannot accept an independent Palestinian state in any form, especially after the missiles were launched from Gaza threatening the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. He will resort to security excuses in order to impede any serious negotiations. Is there a greater service that Hamas can provide to Israel?
In case Hamas was not aware of all the obvious warnings, it will keep on celebrating fake victories, like the last victory in Gaza. There seems to be a new trend; the art of celebrating the defeat as being a victory instead of realizing that it is impossible to correct mistakes by committing bigger mistakes. A mistake is a mistake and a defeat is a defeat, nothing else. No one can ever win if he cannot admit his defeat and learn from his past experiences. What Hamas is currently asking for Gaza was available in 1998 when Yasser Arafat’s airport was still in operation. It was also the case for the port and it was not even besieged.
Honestly, Hamas has worked with the help of Israel and I believe there was a secret agreement between the two on transforming Gaza into a big prison, simply because its objective was not the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, but rather to change the nature of Palestinian society and drag it to be more and more underdeveloped and miserable in order to make it easier to control.
Does Hamas have enough courage to retreat? At least in order to maintain what is left of Gaza, if there is anything left at all?