The media flashed pictures of Palestinians surging into the streets, firing weapons in the air, and proclaiming they had won. From the television coverage, I witnessed, it appeared that Hamas had gained a major victory over Israel.
I was reminded of the day that Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Egypt had just been knocked upside down and defeated. Of course, that loss called for a military parade celebrating their victory. The badly defeated Egyptian army marched into the field before the review stand. Suddenly the soldiers turned on Sadat and the military leaders, firing their weapons indiscriminately. Egyptians defeat was compounded by tragedy.
The Palestinians characteristically don’t read the handwriting on the wall. Israel had killed their major military leader, other agents, reduced all Hamas headquarter buildings to rubble, terrified the civilian population, and caused multiple deaths. The Israeli army stood amassed on their border with the capacity to reduce Gaza City to rubble. The major reasons that Israel did not press forward were that major military objectives had been accomplished and the pressure from President Barack Obama called for them to stand down. Of course, at least half of the population of Israel did not want Prime Minister Netanyahu to invade. With elections in the near future, this factor more than any other gave Netanyahu a good reason to stop.
Did Hamas win? Win what? A reprieve from having their houses destroyed? Having more Hamas leaders killed? Not having to commit suicide by continuing the war? Doesn’t sound like a victory to me.
Several interesting twists appeared out of this war. The Iron Dome system that Israel built and America funded proved successful. Not only were 90% of the incoming rockets destroyed, the system demonstrated the capacity select which projectiles to intercept and which ones to let go. Amazing capacity, indeed. Of course, the rockets came from Iran as Hamas acknowledged. The Iranians now have a reading on what their missiles can not do and must be taking a long, hard, second look at the results. Iran could now be more ready to negotiate because they must recognize their own limitations.
The second surprise was Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s actions immediately after the cease fire. Recognized as playing a key role in negotiations, Morse went home and gave himself dictatorial powers. He unilaterally neutralized the judicial system by barring the courts from challenging his decisions. This move gave protection to the Islamist dominated assembly writing a new constitution because the court held the possibility of a dissolution of the Assembly.
Morsi supporters in the Moslem Brotherhood immediately clashed with liberals who feared the rise of a new dictatorship. In Alexandria, anti-Morsi opponents attacked the Brotherhood and the protests are far from over. And where is the military in this upheaval? Nothing has been heard from the generals who were demoted as Morsi rose in power. If the tanks and troops came back on the streets, Morsi would be in big trouble. The issue is far from settled.
So, did Hamas win something or the other? I don’t thinks so. They are luck to be alive!