Israel Attacks Serve as Reminder of Might

Leaders feared being seen as 'paper tiger'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 29, 2008 9:49 AM CST
Palestinians run as an explosion is seen during an Israeli missile strike on the Hamas controlled Islamic University in Gaza City, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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(Newser) – Israel’s overwhelming strikes on Hamas are in part an effort to flex the country’s muscles and strike fear in the hearts of its enemies, Ethan Bronner writes in the New York Times. “There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore,” said a national security expert.

“This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack you are going to pay a disproportionate price,” he added. But the attacks could leave Hamas in the position of “scrappy survivor,” giving it future leverage and weakening the position of Fatah, Palestine’s “more conciliatory” movement.