Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Why Did Hamas Provoke a Conflict?

by Elliott Abrams
November 15, 2012


There is a conflict now between Israel and Hamas because Hamas insisted on starting one. After relatively few rocket and mortar strikes into Israel in 2010 and 2011, Hamas increased the numbers strikingly this year, and finally fired more than 100 into Israel this past weekend. This was a deliberate effort by Hamas to elicit an Israeli response, for it was obvious that as the numbers grew any Israeli government would have to protect its population. One must assume that if Israel had not responded to the hundred rockets last weekend, Hamas would have upped the ante even more until it got what it wanted.

The question is why. Why did Hamas want to provoke an Israeli attack?

I would offer two theories. First, in recent months the Palestinian Authority under Hamas’s enemies in Fatah has been doing better than has Hamas. While the PA has been and remains short of cash, its initiative at the UN to raise itself to “non-member state” status looks like it will succeed. Meanwhile, Hamas has been forced to leave its long-time headquarters in Damascus, and the advent of a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt has done nothing for Hamas. The border is still largely closed and worse yet for Hamas the Egyptians are destroying the smuggling tunnels that bring Hamas income and bring Gazans goods. So Hamas may have wanted to get back to center stage, reminding people that while the PA talks, it acts. The events of the last few days have, as Hamas must have liked, pushed the PA to the margins and made it seem irrelevant.

Second, Hamas commits acts of terror because it is a terrorist organization. By this I mean that no Hamas leader glories in collecting garbage in Gaza, or even in receiving the Emir of Qatar’s money when he visits. The glory comes in fighting, and killing–but since the last round with the Israelis in January 2009 Hamas has not only been very careful. It has also restrained other terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad from firing into Israel. This situation cannot be attractive to Hamas’s leaders, and they know they risk losing the loyalty of many young men in Gaza to other more active groups if it goes on for too long. So, they have decided to provoke a conflict.

Now the question is how big a conflict they want. Do they wish to provoke an Israeli ground attack? We will know the answer very soon. It would be easy to for Hamas leaders to say they have shown they have longer range rockets and missiles now, have terrified Israelis, have killed Israelis, and this round can end. If they continue to fire at Tel Aviv and other locations in Central Israel, this will suggest that the Israelis cannot find and eliminate all these longer range rockets using only air power. In that case they may go in on the ground to find and eliminate the rest.

The choice is largely that of Hamas. Its leaders deliberately provoked this conflict, once again treating Gazan civilians as nothing more than useful victims. Israel would prefer to avoid entering Gaza in the ground, and would prefer to end this round of exchanges. So far, it seems Hamas’s leaders want to keep it going.

Post a Comment 71 Comments

  • Posted by Why


  • Posted by Abdul Hajib Kablawakablaj

    trranslation of the word Hamas mean coward.:) they put themselves around civilians and kids so u cant get to them without hurting civilian. Pathetic coward hide behind kid haha.

  • Posted by Alex

    This is absolutely garbage that Israel has to endure all of these rockets, and the moment it retaliates. “unacceptable aggression”.

    The Arab nations needs to quit with the garbage propaganda that Israel needs to be eliminated, and try to find a peace-full means to live in harmony.

  • Posted by Robin

    What about adding a fact to your theories Elliott? The fact that Israel just assassinated the head of Gazaa’s military wing Ahmed al-Jaabari might have something to do with Gaza’s response. How would you/we feel if the Taliban took out the Chiarman of our Joint Chiefs Head of Staff right in the heart of downtown DC? What would our reponse be?

  • Posted by Gabriel Farkas

    They want to create a second front to Israel so they can’t concentrate in IRAN. Also probably distract them from Syria.

  • Posted by Nasser

    According to the first theory, and as usual Hamas is doing the Jewish stat a big favor. But the Israelis should thank them in public

  • Posted by Susan

    Robin: Hamas started this attack before Israel got Ahmed al-Jaabari. There is a fact you left out.

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    Unfortunately , the grossly provocative and , in fact , murderous actions of Hamas don’t receive nearly enough exposure from the American Press or the current , dithering administration .

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    Robin … Our current chairman of the Joint Chiefs may be a stooge for Obama but he’s NOT a terrorist .

  • Posted by jim terwiliger

    They attacked because Iran gave them weapons

  • Posted by F

    Hamas provoked Israel conducting an assasination during a ceasefire? Are you insane Abrams? Your two theories aren’t even logical let alone theories.

  • Posted by Gabi

    ROBIN: The assassination of Ahmed al-Jaabari happened AFTER the surge in rocket attack on Israel, by Hamas. Who do you think ordered that attack??? Get your facts right first, before you post!!

  • Posted by Aki

    Nice job “forgetting” a little fact like this.


    Damn… Those very same gulf state sunnis (US allies) that are funding the uprising “Freedomfighters!” in Syria are also funding sunnis in Gaza.

    Really strange how it is always Iran or someother (mostly Iran). Never ever a word against Saudis and their puppet states at the gulf… Even when it is this obvious.

  • Posted by Matt

    Civilians will leave the kill zone, that is Gaza. The al Quds are more than welcome.

  • Posted by Matt

    Jerusalem belongs to me I say who is the custodian.

  • Posted by Matt

    If I wanted a UN flag flying over Jerusalem, it would be so.

  • Posted by ahmad temsah

    Ladies and gentlemen
    If there is no solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the whole middle east will continue boiling.You cannot ignore the fact of giving the Palestinians a small piece of land to solve the problem. If this is not going to happen ,expect someone coming from planet Mars to join the Jihad in the holy lands to acquire influence in the Middle east !

  • Posted by worldman

    There is a simple explanation. Iran sponsors Syria, Iran is building the bomb, Hamas is an arm of Iran. What is the best way to get attention away from the killing of Syrians by Syrians aided by the Irans? Start a fight with Israel to distract from everything concerning Iran. Even the American Press is making Israel the villian when they should be looking to Teheran.

  • Posted by sandra lawrence

    Thank for the information. It is great that one can just log on and find out accurate details of Why? I have wondered for some time now, Who are Hamas, and what do they stand for?

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    Thank you. To understand Hamas, take a look at its Charter, found at many web sites such as this: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.

  • Posted by Hanan

    Crimes are being committed by both sides, it would help to consult IHL.

    This piece Is not even an opinion, it is meant to appease only. The questions asked are irrelevant and the theories presented, well, recycled. The question is not why Hamas ‘provoked’ an attack, the November 8 incursion by israel clearly provoked a reaction by Hamas, the question is, why now?

  • Posted by F

    Still can’t get over the fact CFR published this nonsense. Go look at every isreali attack from the bombing of Iraq nuclear facility to cast lead, they are all politically motivated. It is insane to paint Israel, a country with more resources financially, nearly 10x as many troops, and countless strategical advantages, as the victim in this conflict, especially from the Gazan elections to present day. When examining international conflicts, it is striking how stark the difference is in kill ratios of militants to civilians, even when comparing to such controversial issues like the drone program. The prime minister was being challenged on the national security front following the Obama reelection and risked escalation knowing full well the repercussions that Israel would face. This was a very bold and calculated maneuver.

  • Posted by Katarina Sri

    This provocation by Saudi/Qatar-royals sponsored Arabic Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who created Hamas ( as of many other Jihadist terrorist org that iclude al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and so on) is to divert world attention from the 6 billion weapons going to be sold to Qatar that will finance the MB-led Jihadist terrorists in Syria and 6 billion Aid coming to the MB’s REGIME in Egypt! It’s the same tactic beiing used over and over again when there are controversial and dubious deals like these! The evil Western REGIMES who supported such Nazi-like Arabic fascism like the US-UK-France’ REGIMES will be in the International Criminal Court one day – thank our Lord Jesus Christ for that!

  • Posted by rick

    With hamas being a proxy of iran , and iran being “on the Threshold ” of aquiring the Bomb, I believe that this whole gaza thing was Orchestrated by iran , in order to deflect Israel and its near future intentions to lay waste their nuclear sites. . iran just may have bought themselves enough time ,by bogging Israel down

  • Posted by Zee

    Everywhere I look, I see: Israel-Palestine, death toll, dying, killed, bombs, military..but what sickens me, sickens me to my absolute core, is to see those “humans” who are heartlessly complicit in these killings, by ignoring the situation (I’m talking to you, you weak-livered Arab leaders and the joke that is, the UN), condoning it (majority of the Western leaders) and actively encouraging it (you know who you are), don’t realise the “collateral damage” – the children, dying. Whether they are Israeli children or Palestinian, IT DOESN’T BLOODY MATTER! Children are children, innocent and fun-loving, and do not deserve this. If you want your war, have it out on the football pitch like civilised people!

    And for those condoning and encouraging the violence, just imagine a young, defenceless child being whipped in front of you. Imagine those screams of agony, would you still be nodding your head?? Civilians don’t deserve to die, whoever they are.

    May God bless all the oppressed, worldwide. Amen

  • Posted by Asad

    RUBBISH! This is the most biased article on the web. Hamas few rockets cannot do any harm to Israel in a thousand years. Hamas (if they were) firing rockets, are doing it against an oppression of Israel. Israel continues to take over the land in Gaza and West Bank and keeps treating palestinians like prisoners. Wake up! How long will you support this tyranny?
    If you are claiming Hamas as terrorist, than you are calling an elected party as terrorist. I think Israel is the one creating terror here as you can see in any news channel. Killing children? really? Shame on leaders of all nations who are doing nothing to stop this terrorism.

  • Posted by Dr. S A Visotsky

    It’s shocking to see how many news agencies are anti-Israel in their reporting.

    Here’s an example closer to home:

    Take for example, any city, any country, present day.

    Go to the Police Headquarters, and start throwing rocks, bottles, grenades at the building, and see how long it takes for an armed force comes outside to mash you into the ground, full stop.

    In this example, the Police are the AUTHORITY, and you do not challenge AUTHORITY with force, that is a breech of policy, and punishable, as it is a criminal act.

    In the Gaza conflict, it is much the same,

    NOTE: (Egypt and Israel imposed a Blockade of the Gaza Strip following the 2006 Hamas cross-border raid, when fighting broke out between Fatah and Hamas. Israel eased the blockade allowing consumer goods in June 2010, and Egypt reopened the Rafah border crossing in 2011 to pedestrians.), however, Egypt & Israel are still the onsite authority for the blockade which is still in effect, regardless of any easing they have allowed.

    So now, Israel acting as the only competent authority onsite, is being attacked, not “challenged”, by a largely illiterate group of thugs who have nothing better to do than stir up trouble, because they think they have a right to do so, and this has garnered sympathy from the BBC, who are not only anti-Israel, but indeed Pro-Hamas, check the record.

    The PA has said they condemn the rocket fire from “rogue” groups, which they cannot control (demonstrating internal security problems which the PA is responsible for, making it a UN problem.)

    Well PA, if you cannot even control your own people from attacking Israel (where is your Rule of Law, as in “law & order”, and / or the ability to restore it?), how do you expect to be taken seriously in negotiating a two-state solution?

    Solution: The PA needs to make their population COMPLIANT, in order to be seen as a serious Sovereign State,(who are capable of controlling any internal security issues which may arise) seeking a peace agreement with Israel. Israel should not always automatically be painted as the heavy handed war mongers.

    What do you think the US would do if Canada started lobbing rockets into US territory? We know that wouldn’t happen, but it’s the same thing. You cannot be exonerated simply because you are using less effective weaponry. Killing with a gun, or killing with a knife, are both murder, and carry the same punishment.

  • Posted by joel johnston

    I think the author misses an even greater point. Israel can’t fight two wars. While Hamas is engaging Israel, Iran is ingnored while building their nuclear bombs, and Israel, if tied in a ground war with Hamas, would not be capable of planning an attack on Iran’s weapon’s capabilities.

    I believe Iran will announce their nuclear capabilities while Israel is involved in a ground war with Hamas. And, Israel will become the next threat for Nuclear war – from Iran.

    Hamas, a radical arm of Iran, is a mere pawn in this game of nuclear brinksmanship.

  • Posted by slimshadey

    if this planet were seen from the outside looking in what they think of humans on earth. a population of somewhat 5 billion that cant seem to get anything right. we are like bugs nothing better to do then to destory each other and the sad part is there are groups out there like th usa like russia like china like arabs who think there conflickt of intrest means something fact is were are just humans nothing more nothing less and if the world cant see past that fact there will never be anything but war. so in the end those who peer at the earth are laughing cuz it seems like all we have is a planet full of bugs that destroy each other.

  • Posted by kim carsons

    Electronic Intifada has a timeline which shows it is Israel who escalated this conflict.
    Ask yourself who has the most to gain from these attacks – sadly the answer is israel

  • Posted by George G

    If Hamas don´t fire 120 rockets daily to Israel main cities, Israel wouldn´t have retaliate. But Palestine has been cornered by Israel settlements policies, that were stopped by PLO and Israel peace plans, THIS was the route to agreements and peace. Now Netanyahu has avoided any peace plans with Palestine, Obama proposed the 1960 border agreements and Israel denied it. Just google a map and see how Israel has robbed Palestine of its territories since 1960 agreements. Palestine is compressed in a small strip of land now. Hamas is just making desperate atempts to call international attention and force peace plans to take action, in a deplorable way, Israel has its right to defend itself, but both have the obligation to settle to talks and design and build their peace.

  • Posted by Veritas

    Israel did not occupy palestine.Israel was given the right to return to its Holy ground by the League of Nations also known now as the United Nations in 1948.Know your facts.

  • Posted by Zaf

    [Israel would prefer to avoid entering Gaza in the ground]

    Well obviously, but why would Hamas let continued occupation be low cost?

  • Posted by TheExpat

    when these murderous morons(hamas) will get their hands on a 10 kiloton tactical warhead, they will not hesitate to use it against Jerusalem

  • Posted by Sparhawk

    @TheExpat: Jerusalem could never be a target for such an attack lol, it’s one of the three holy cities in Islam.

    @everyone else: both sides are wrong, but the Palestinians at least have reasons enough for the agression. They’re refused basic human rights, access is restricted on all sorts of levels, be it people or consumer goods. Israël is even controlling the food supply going into Gaza, giving them just enough not to cause famine.

    They are simply kept from forming a prosperous community. What gives a people the right to do that onto another people? When you really look at what’s being done, with so many families being squished together in such a small territory, nowhere to run when the bombs start to fall, can you really call that justice? Can you call that good?

    There are no innocent parties in this conflict, only a lot of dead children that never had the chance to make something of their lives. Anyone calling one of these sides “right” or “justified” should be ashamed of him/herself.

  • Posted by Jason Sole

    Its simple. Iran wants to test their rockets on the iron dome missile defense system.

  • Posted by watchowski

    Hamas member dont get killed by Israeli air stikes “did you ever wonder WHY ” its because Hamas members spend most of the day and night in underground bunkers available only for their members ,dont believe it ,check it out ,I did .

  • Posted by Nick Meron

    Good analysis — except the 100+ rockets per day started AFTER Al-Ja’bari (the guy behind the draft truce agreement) was assassinated, which the IDF says that was just the opening shot in Operation “Pillar of Cloud”.
    Hamas are not nice guys at all. But they did not want, and did not start this particular round of escalation, and they have gained nothing but a PR victory at the cost of 100+ dead and 800+ wounded. Not that they care about Palestinian civilians any more than the IDF.
    I have no idea what Bibi was thinking. The whole thing makes no sense. Must have something to do with Byzantine Israeli electioneering. Or fear of a real truce with Hamas? Go figure.
    There are crazy people on both sides of the conflict. The Palestinians should ditch Hamas. The Israelis should stop subsidizing the ignorant breeder ultra-orthodox welfare class (exempt from taxes, jobs, military service, and decent education) demographic time bomb, or they will take over.
    May God help the Middle East. Neither its governments nor its citizens seem to want to.

  • Posted by Ahmed Geddan

    “Never again” versus “Nakhba”. Place two intractible and mutually exclusive ideologies in the same place…. Great for arms development and arms sales, eh? You humans are a gullible and primitive minded lot, most of you. The others just get paid.

  • Posted by Onome

    It is most unfortunate that the innocent always suffer with the guilty in matters such as this. However, it is only natural for one to desire self-defence when unduly attacked.
    This endless propaganda still remains senseless on all counts. It is amazing that peace talks NEVER come first…many lose lives first before they resort to peace talks. RIDICULOUS!
    My only prayer is this should not escalate to a full-fledged war because it still will not solve ANYTHING!

  • Posted by imran

    excue me hamas did not provoke the conflict rather the Israel attack on Hamas leader Jabir.

  • Posted by Hatem

    Netanyahu needs his voters pushed to the right before the elections.

  • Posted by heebiejeebie

    terrorist organizations and rogue states like hamas need martyrdom, victim mentality, holy-wars, resistance movements, and common enemies to unite their impoverished, uneducated, inbred followers.

  • Posted by mickey vail

    The answer is really quite simple; Hamas has no reason to exist other than to cause trouble for Israel. By attacking now it has given Bibi the final boost that he needed to win re-election.
    Without these attacks, he might have had to sweat it out.

    Hamas has nothing to gain if a new Israeli government sits and works out a peace plan with the Arab world. More to the point Hamas would become an outlaw organization, being hunted and hounded by both Israeli’s and Arabs alike.

    We can only hope that Secretary Clinton’s final major initiative will finally bring a lasting settlement. It would be good for Israel, the Arab states, the world in general and not the least important, her legacy as the best Secretary of State in the history of the United States.

  • Posted by Singo

    Israel is an innocent and peacful country. Israel never attacks any country neither it breeeches the sovereignty of its neigbours. Israel only defends itself with very peacful and friendly weapons. Others provoke wars aginst this gentle and lovely state who loves everybody but nobody loves it

  • Posted by the Lion

    Elliot Adams I will go back a week earlier why did Israel cross the border and Kill a 13 year old boy playing soccer? Israel has the right to defend itself but so does Gaza! In this instance just like in the pre attacks before Cast Lead it was Israel that crossed the border with tanks and bulldozers!

  • Posted by uos_spo6

    Nice theories, but you overlook the ideology of anti-zionism vs. the ideology of zionism. This is not a struggle between states, it’s a struggle of principles. Why should the Palestinians lay down arms and accept peace just to be given what the Israeli’s feel like giving them? Hamas was elected let’s not forget, they are a political body. You can brand them a terrorist all you want, but through time it has always been that what one man calls a terrorist, another call’s a freedom fighter.

    The jewish people moved in to Canaan (Palestine/Israel) in the bible and through warfare and genocide eliminated the people who lived there and their settlements (i.e. the Canannites). The Arab Palestinian population far outweighed the indigenous Jewish population in Palestine by the time WWI ended and the British Mandate was governing the region. The idea of Zionism was taking great hold and gaining momentum, the Mandate permitted jewish emmigration to the region in limited numbers, the numbers did not satisfy the logistical needs/drives/desires of the Zionists, inevitably JEWISH TERROR ORGANIZATIONS such as the Lehi and Stern Gang originated the tactics of intimidation and terror in targetting Arab Palestinian populations, and even British Mandate targets, actually bombing the King David Hotel, the command center of British governing in the region. With the British will to rule the contested region broken, Zionism won it’s first great victory, to be followed by many more. After the grotesque tragedies inflicted on the european jewish diaspora by a madman during WWII, it drew a massive following of disenfranchised jewish migrants towards the concept of establishing a Jewish homeland. Ideally, the one they are promised by their religious traditions in their holy tomes. i.e. what is now Palestine.

    No other country wanted to accept the massive influx of Jewish refugees/migrants, combined with the efforts of powerful Jewish Lobbyist groups in Washington and Britian, the US and Britian pushed the UN to issue a resolution essentially giving the Jewish people a license to set up Israel in 1947.

    Conflict ensues, the “Israeli’s” defeat a combined offensive by seven or so armies from arab countries and seize territory in the Golan Heights and Sinai as a result of it to create a buffer.

    So if you want to make the moral argument, Israel is a pretty messed up thing as it exists now, and the only argument that can be made for their right to exist as a nation state, is that they effectively defended themselves. But their right to go there, gentrify and take the land for themselves from another people and push them out of the way is nothing but tyranny.

    But all in all, how does Zionism differ from Manifest Destiny? Both are pile of garbage ideas that place one group of peoples agendas above another group of people, who happen to already live where the new influx of people want to have.

    Let’s be real with ourselves, Israel exists under some BS pretenses and the West should be ashamed for dumping our problem on the Middle East. In a sad twist of Irony, it’s our very support in creation of and support afterwards of this bastard state Israel that to this day causes most of our problems with the Middle East.

    I have no racial or religious motivations, I’m not anti-semetic, I’m anti-zionist. And so should anyone who wouldn’t want their homeland ripped from under their feet by a group of people with an ancient book and a letter from the UN condoning it.

    Also, same subject, separate angle. . .Israel has been responding to aggression near the frontier region in the Golan Heights with Syria. Hamas is an Arm of the Muslim Brotherhood which has some political power in Egypt now. If Hamas aggresses, and Egypt descalates, it bodes well for Egypt’s image and tempers the Islamist view they’re being viewed with right now to some degree.

    The chaos in syria also plays heavily in to all of this. There are balances of power in the Muslim world that aren’t particularly well articulated in Western media portrayals. It all has a lot to do with Sunni/Shiite splits. It’s in the Sunni world’s interest for the rebels in Syria to take power away from the Alawite/Shia minority, further weakening regional support for Iran, the only dominant Shiite state (besides Iraq now, you’re welcome Iran!) in the middle east.

    This leaves Hezbollah (also Shi’a) isolated from it’s main supporters, and it would be alone, the only Shia power in the immediate vicinity as Hamas is a Sunni group, the Sunni majority will have taken power in Syria, Egypt is Sunni, Saudia Arabia is Sunni, etc etc.

    You then have to consider Iran’s assistance to Hamas isn’t much more than intentionally using them to harass Israelis, it’s not in Hamas’ interest to deal with a Shiite State like Iran, but they will if that’s what it takes to get weapons to resist the occupation.

    And for a last bit of flavor, let’s inject Israel’s behavior related to contested regions and setting up new settlements in regions that are supposed to be set aside for the hopeful future Palestinian State?

    The Israelis can be mad at Gaza all they want but they invite the contempt, animosity, and aggression from Palestinians on so many levels. They should have considered all this before they bulldozed their way to statehood, uninvited, surrounded by neighbors who aren’t left with much reason to have good will towards you.

    In all honesty, I really believe it’s part of the Brotherhoods play to gain legitimacy and consolidate power. Egyptians want to be a major power broker in the region much like Turkey already is, deescalating a conflict they directed to begin with (feasible given Hamas/Brootherhood roots) and then perhaps paving the way to peace and a two-state solution would indeed fulfill that role in the global communities eyes.

    Unless you believe that a religious text ought to be used to set precedents on State Building, Israel should have never been established in the post WWII era.

  • Posted by Nana Yaw

    Israel will live forever and ever. No nation on earth can destroy God’s choosen people. Read your Bibles!!!

  • Posted by uos_spo6

    See the comment above for reference with the root of the problem. People justify their gentrification of a swath of land with biblical passages. If we all lived by those standards of right and wrong, what’s to stop anyone from making ridiculous claims of ownership based on archaic religious garbage? Read your bible a little closer and you’ll see that before being Israel, the land was Canaan, and the Israelite tribes massacred those people to so they could have it for themselves. That’s Joshua’s “benevolent” work. History merely repeating itself.

    @ Nana Yaw

    If you honestly believe Israel is justified by biblical authority, than it really should be destroyed and blown off the map in the name of sensibility. As twisted as it sounds.

    “God’s chosen people”. You mean chosen before subsequent “prophets” followed because the initially chosen people (i.e. Israelites/Jews) went astray? Listen I read religious tomes to, difference being I read the whole thing as opposed to what section justifies my nonsense beliefs, I’m studying them for historical context and anthropological interests, as opposed to people who read them for guidance or factual information which is like starring in to a soiled toilet for an epiphany.

  • Posted by watchowski

    could someone please explain to me ,why the Palestinian people elected Hamas , were they brainwashed into believing their lives would be better , Palestinians are not dumber or more intelligent than others ,each human being wants and deserves food and water freedom and affection , the so called Arab spring or whatever its called ,removed some dictator’s from power giving opportunity’s to the people , why couldn’t this happen in Gaza , my second and maybe the most important question on this great forum IS ,what has Hamas done for the Palestinian population ?

  • Posted by Ongey

    I agree with Rick… this is a tactical step by Iran to buy time… i’st a diversionary tactic for sure to prevent Israel form attending to their greater threat.

  • Posted by Richard

    Hamas is fighting an indiscriminate total war to the best of their ability. Israel is responding with a limited war to the best of their ability. If the Palestinians want a war give them total war. Fuel Air bombs sound good.
    War is hell and every time we try to fight a limited war, eg Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan we loose or have a very limited success which doesn’t last. This may sound cruel but it is a fact of life.
    If Hamas wants a war give them total war.

  • Posted by aussie

    hello… over 40,000 people have been massacred and are still being slaughtered daily in Syria. And yet the frontline news is over Israel-gaza with world leaders rushing to make a cease-fire and calls to stop Israeli aggression.

  • Posted by Lucas Trapaza

    Palestine is still the issue.
    Here you will find answers to many of you narrative of events and misrepresentation of the truth I would say . What is the root of the problem.?
    Well perhaps is after seeing this documentary you still have doubts of where the solution lies, you may want to see the Story os Zionism by by Ronen Berelovich an israeli citizen former IDF Soldier.
    But if still in doubt please do refer to the works of Tania Reinhardt or Illan Pappe or Amira Haas

  • Posted by Lucas Trapaza

    Mr Abrams, with all respects
    Your post is very disappointing and very poor intellectually which is a real pity coming from someone with you academic and intellectual background . What of the Jewish humanist tradition is left on you .

  • Posted by alasdair Macvarish

    The Israelis are the last of the 19th century European colonists. All others such as British, Dutch and French have been driven out except in countries where they were able to totally dominate the native population as in New Zealand and Australia. The Palestinian spirit of resistance denies Zionists total dominance so they will end up packing their bags and fleeing as did the Pied Noir from Algeria and Ian Smith’s followers from Rhodesia. Most Israelis will be happier in the US anyway so no great hardship for them to go. Palestinians deserve better neighbours.

  • Posted by Jal


    If you read the whole thing as you claim you did, you will know that there is no support for the ‘chosen people’ having been ‘initially chosen’. People will claim to have read religious texts to gain credibility, but your references need to be accurate. Google is your friend.

  • Posted by Lookaroundyou

    The Trojan Horses are amonst us in the west.
    The true fact of it all is the problem is larger than Isreal-Palestine.
    The rise of islam is going to bring about a resrrection of neo-Nazi’ism. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, this has been proven since the year “dot”.

  • Posted by watchowski

    The Arab league has a large responsibility in the middle east peace conflict !
    after Israels disengagement in August 2005 the Arab league should have taken over Gaza ,there is only ONE way to have PEACE! instead of running around in circles the Arab league can disband Hamas ,unite Gaza and the West Bank as one ,and enter serious talks with Israel and the world , it will take some time to heal the wounds of war ,and install trust and peace between these two peoples , but to look forward towards a brighter future for all ,there must be a beginning . why wait ?

  • Posted by ralph Spyer

    750,000 Abab lost there homes when the jewish state was born, When you have nothing, you have nothing to loose ,that why they strap a bomb and are willing to cive up there lives for there country Palestinian. A arab rocket cost 8oo dollars the iron done cost America 205 million dollars,, once Iran gets the bomb 30% of the jews will leave Palestine

  • Posted by Mikael Goldstein

    The answer is very simple: Hamas was ordered by Iran to challenge Israel. This little rocket war would divert Israel’s attention from the uran enrichment sites in Iran, which is the most important target. At least Iran knew, that during this week their enrichment facility would not be destroyed.

  • Posted by ajay

    your comments lies only on one side,it is much more unilateraly

  • Posted by Genghis


    Your history neglects the violence used repeatedly against Jews to subjugate them throughout the centuries of Arab rule.

    In the 1920’s Arabs were already bombing Jewish immigrants even though their lands and homes were legitimately purchased from their Arab owners.

    This conflict is based on ethnic intolerance and religious ideology.

    You will find that all the articles overlook the religious dynamic that drives the conflict:

    Muslims can’t share the land in the sense that Westerners mean it. Under Islam it must be ruled under Sharia or some form of it. The fact that Israel (the land) is no longer Muslim is a great affront to Islam, a wound to the Ummah and must be corrected or healed. An all or nothing mentality results. It gets echoed in Muslim rhetoric all the time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia_law and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ummah

    The Palestinians are looking for a theocracy. Religious tolerance isn’t in their vernacular. Even when they come close its part of Muslim law to tax everyone who isn’t a Muslim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi

    Being brought up in a western secular society, it is natural to underestimate the power of religion, so this dynamic is overlooked: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_society

    Muslims define peace in the way Westerners would define a military victory. An enduring Peace is only possible when Islam has won: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_War#Dar_al-Harb_.28House_of_war.29

    Until Islam changes some fundamental theological ideas there is no end.

  • Posted by Nickolas

    Nana Yaw, I don’t think the bible will protect Israel from a nuclear bomb from Iran. All parties need to get serious here and find a solution. The clock is ticking with Iran.

  • Posted by Nickolas

    To imply that the recent hostilites were orchestrated by Iran to turn away Israeli attention from their nuclear development is quite a stretch unless, we are considering a major development was taking place at this time. For Hamas to start this attack on Israel just to buy another week of development seems like a bad idea.
    1.) Iran became aware of an imminent attack on their nuclear program by Israel and wanted to get out front.


    2.) There has been some major development in the Iranian nuclear program that would have all attention on them. Possible a mass transfer of materials or something to that nature.

    However, the idea of a test of Israel’s Iron Dome is an interesting theory.

  • Posted by Luc Hansen

    It’s a shame to see such a distinguished name as Eliot Abrams indulge in such a one-sided propaganda piece.

    In considering the role of Khaled Mishaal, for example, it may be worth mentioning how he, as 12 yo, and his entire village were forced to march to the West Bank in 1967, fleeing the fast-approaching IDF who had deliberately cultivated an image of ruthlessness in carrying out their mission – the means of cultivation was exactly ruthless and merciless acts of violence against the indigenous population.

    And Mr Abrams chooses to ignore the fact of the ongoing belligerent occupation of the occupied Palestinian Territories by Israel since 1967. Perhaps Mr Abrams cannot do the maths but we are talking 45 years of ongoing dispossession, oppression, torture (only recent deemed illegal in Israel, but still routinely practiced, according to those who return), gratuitous acts of violence against unarmed and defenseless people, destruction of crops and infrastructure, restrictions on freedom of movement and much, much more. And this is during the quiet times!

    Israel complains about the trauma of their children from rocket fire but think of the poor kids of Gaza and the West Bank and what they grow up with – IDF soldiers aiming their rifles at them on a daily basis with hate in their eyes, midnight sonic booms, drones buzzing overhead waiting to ‘cut the lawn’ (Israeli speak for mass slaughter), drinking water deliberately polluted with settlers sewage and risking death each time they head to school.

    And Mr Abrams has the gall to talk of Israel’s ‘retaliation’.

  • Posted by mijayes

    your statement has no sound facts t support. It is merely your one-sided view which is very bias.

  • Posted by M. Davison

    Where is the problem?

    It’s not with Netanyahu or the Likud and its right-wing government.

    It’s not with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

    It’s not even with Hamas.

    The problem is that western critics have the memory span of a goldfish and the understanding of a five-year-old when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    That’s right, the ARAB-Israeli conflict. There is no such thing as the “Palestinian-Israeli Conflict”, except in the minds of the so-called diplomatic experts in the State Departments and Foreign Ministries of Europe and the United States.

    Mahmoud Abbas is not the “independent president” of the Palestinian Authority but gets his marching orders from the Arab League. As long as Abbas wants to keep his position (and his head on his shoulders), he dare not cross the Arab League or go against their orders.

    Abbas’ demands at any “negotiating session” keep the skirts of the Arab League countries clean… they (except for Egypt and Jordan) still maintain the infamous “Three NOs” of the 1967 Khartoum Accord: “NO recognition of Israel; NO negotiations with Israel; NO peace with Israel”.

    Twice since the year 2000, the PA has walked away from negotiations that could have ended the conflict. Yasser Arafat walked out on the 2000 offer by Barak, supported by Clinton without even making a counter-offer to initiate the second intifada while Abbas never answered Olmert’s 2008 offer until more than two years after Olmert left office under criminal indictment—THEN he admitted that maybe he “had made a mistake in not accepting Olmert’s offer”. He didn’t accept Olmert’s offer because he didn’t have Arab League permission to accept anything offered.

    No comprehensive peace agreement can ever be achieved if the Arab League isn’t fully involved, and if “the Quartet” doesn’t realize this and act accordingly, there will never be a comprehensive peace agreement until oil runs out and alternative means of power are used, leaving the Arab League as an organization with no leverage.

  • Posted by Ross Feliciano

    Why did Hamas provoke a conflict with Israel? Simple, Iran is fighting Israel through its proxy, the Hamas. In my opinion it was simply to divert Israel’s attention from Iran’s nuclear ambition to produce weapons for the destruction of Israel. Israel is determined to destroy Iran’s capabilities to produce nuclear weapons for its survival. The Scripture tells us that Israel had been conquered by many nations and for many centuries in Diasporas following the Babylonians’ conquest of the Judean Kingdom in the 6th century BC and again following the Roman’s destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 AD. But for as long as Israel continues being stubborn into being disobedient to God, she might once more be conquered by another nation and again be scattered throughout the world. Up to now they are still waiting for the Messiah to come.

  • Posted by Ross Feliciano

    So why don’t you post then?

  • Posted by Josef Zuares

    I was born in an Arab country,a jew amongst a few thousands like me.I succeeded to flee from the claws of its indigenous fanatics,leaving behind my childhood and some dear friends that didn’t get a chance to survive the hatred,millenaire.My family,like many others left all it worked for,happy to save the only things that could never be replaced,the kids.Since the ’67 war we are the true refugees,like many other jews from other arab countries.
    I lived in Italy where the jews from Libya got refuge,moved to Israel to finally live the dream we all shared,fought the ’73 war while in the army,survived as best I could,physically as well as mentally,for wars have their way to leave you with a lot more questions than you need,as a young man,looking to find a place in this world you see as a prison,a prison made of hatred towards you and the ones like you.Then I went to the usa to study and fell in love with the country and with its people,the hatred towards me and my likes seemed to have suddenly disappeared.Today I live in Paris and this hatred I recognize from back then is real and doing very well here.The Arabs have succeded in looring the europeans back to those dark places of their subconscious where just a few years ago they let the unthinkable become their legacy to posterity.Even the USA is not the same anymore since I left twenty years ago.
    All what I am telling you is to give you some clue to my background,for every day I live with unanswered questions.Why this hatred?I read everything I can find to get a clue to why the Arabs hate the Jews so much.It doesn’t really make sense for all the efforts the Ummah of more than a billion people puts,for so many years,to get back a sliver of land that in other times the arabs would not even consider.Then I read the Kouran,parts of it only for what I got to read was too much to bear ,and it cleared some puzzling questions I had had since being a child.This book is nothing like the Old Testament nor the New,it is a book written to take back humanity to its lowest animalesque impulses.I shall stop here for it is not easy for me to realize that I have brought four kids to this insane world,the youngest not three years old yet,but I shall leave you with my last thought and that is that the Arabs are and have been using Israel and the Israelo-palestinian conflict as the trojan horse to get inside every western society and conquer them from the inside,for they failed to do it from the outside,and they are succeeding in a way so extraordinary that you could think that they have God on their side.Their insidious ways they learned from their so called Prophet as history knows of him,and like an oderless and tasteless poison they are taking our beautiful civilized world to hell.

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