Israel is off its rocker again, this time launching a devastating attack against Hamas, and killing Ahmed al-Jabari, a man who is widely being reported as a top Hamas military commander. But Jabari has played a different role in recent years: as an Israeli subcontractor, tasked with maintaining security between the Gaza Strip and southern Israel after the end of Israeli Operation Cast Lead in 2009. He failed at this task, and was vaporized for it.
Al-Jabari’s mandate was extraordinary. He was to keep Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, and other extremist groups from shooting rockets into Israel. In return, Israel would help supply medical goods and other necessities to Gaza. But Jabari’s task was arguably impossible given the nature of PIJ and more psychopathic organizations.
What you aren’t going to read from many sources in the coming days is that Hamas was not responsible for most of the rocket attacks coming out of Gaza. In 2009, Hamas realized how politically and tactically ridiculous it was to attack Israel unprovoked. Since then, Hamas has taken a relatively realist tone towards Israel.
Few media outlets questioned the reasoning behind the Gaza rocket attacks. When looking at this IDF graph (a graph which seems to have been since taken offline) of reported strikes from the Gaza strip, the correlation of strikes with Israeli aggression, in the form of major offensives into Gaza or assassinations of Hamas leaders, is indisputable.
What’s more appalling is that the strike on Jabari is reported to be more related to election politics than Hamas savagery. President Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party are up for re-election and a strike on a major Hamas leader as well as a potential ground invasion of Gaza has the potential to make them look strong.
In Israel's defense, rocket attacks against their people are deplorable. Hamas has been rumored to be getting more violent as extremists outside the country are now wrangling to influence its future position against Israel. But Hamas' domestic leadership understands that less violence is necessary if it the party is to be taken seriously as a state actor. It seems, in this case, that Hamas is being punished for outsider interference.
Israeli leadership seems to have the memory of a goldfish. Operation Cast Lead did nothing to quell Hamas and other militant groups, but instead lead to a scathing 600-page report by the UN that declared Israel a violator of human rights after 1,400 Palestinians were killed in only three weeks. Further, murdering the man that Israel itself deemed fit to keep the peace in Gaza does nothing to support Israel’s supposed victimhood.
Israel has failed time and time again to realize that the only way to establish lasting peace is to create a Palestinian state. The West Bank of Jordan, which Israel stole in 1967, along with the Syrian Golan Heights are the bane of Israel's existence. Even still, history has shown a long narrative of Israeli aggression towards Arabs, as documented by esteemed authors Stephen Walt and Peter Beinart.
It seems that everyone except Israel knows what would truly bring lasting peace. While you don’t need to be a genius to realize it, common sense certainly helps.