Why Hamas Courted Israeli Attacks

Lack of results confirmed the case for violence

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 30, 2008 8:07 AM CST

(Newser) – Hamas has long argued that negotiating with Israel won’t help Palestine—and that belief drove its decision to end a six-month ceasefire on December 19, writes Stephen Farrell in the New York Times. While it's possible Hamas leaders underestimated the scale of the Israeli response, which has cost more than 300 Palestinian lives in the last 4 days, it's also possible that they welcome the attacks, which have restored Hamas’ image as the “champion” of Palestinian resistance.

But will the majority of Palestinians blame Israel for the renewed violence, or will they, as Fatah, Israel, and Western allies hope, blame Hamas for inciting it? At the moment, most are “loudly” blaming Israel. But even after its attacks, if Israel were to say “‘We want a political solution, let’s reach an agreement,’ it would be completely accepted by the majority of the Palestinian people,” said one Palestinian observer.

Smoke rises from an Israeli missile strike on a target in Gaza City, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian relatives girls killed in an Israeli missile strike mourn during a funeral in northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian woman collects children's toys from a kindergarten that was damaged in an Israeli missile strike in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Israeli soldiers sit atop a tank at a staging area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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