The conventional wisdom has it that Israel's crackdown on Hamas, in which it arrested more than 300 operatives, and its assault on Gaza has left the radical group on the ropes. But "that's a joke," one top Fatah official tells Mark Perry at Foreign Policy. Hamas' leadership has remained essentially untouched, and it's shown no inclination to negotiate a ceasefire. When asked by Perry to assess how much pressure the movement was under, Hamas' foreign relations bureau head replied, "We're fine."
It's a familiar story. Hamas has been defying predictions of its demise for years, despite a slew of Israeli offenses. Israel's approach meanwhile has frustrated the US—which is getting increasing heat from Europe for supporting it—and weakened its would-be Fatah negotiating partners. The assaults also create more extremists and politically strengthen radicals, including splinter groups more extreme than Hamas itself. "This idea that attacking Hamas can strengthen Palestinian moderates is just silly," one former US intelligence officer says. "The truth is that Protective Edge has weakened Abbas and left a void in the West Bank. And guess who's going to step in?" Click for Perry's full piece. (Read more Israel stories.)