Is Hamas planning the destruction of Israel?

  December 16, 2021   Read time 2 min
Is Hamas planning the destruction of Israel?
Realistically speaking, the argument that ‘Hamas’s tacit and ultimate end is the destruction of Israel’ bears no relevance. The facts and positions on the ground speak for themselves, and tend completely in the opposite direction.

Neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian or Arab party – or even state for that matter – has any dream of having the ability to destroy Israel. Israel enjoys military capabilities, both conventional and non-conventional, that would enable it to destroy all of its neighbouring countries in the Middle East in a matter of days. It is an uncontested fact that there is no threat to the existence of Israel in either the medium and long term, but there certainly is one against the Palestinians posed by Israel. Depicting Hamas (and the Palestinians) as any such threat to Israel is a matter of political propaganda and emotional sensationalism.

In recent years Hamas has grown out of its early naive discourse of the late 1980s, and today’s Hamas projects are more nuanced and its pronouncements more realistic. The dominant theme of its political and military discourse is resistance against the occupation of illegally seized lands and driving the occupiers out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since Hamas took control of the Palestinian Authority after elections in 2006 it has not expressed a single word of the old rhetoric of the Charter, or issued any ill-considered slogans.

In summary, any suggestion that Hamas plans or aims to destroy Israel is obviously naive. For Hamas to be able to achieve such a goal it would have to remain in power for decades, defeating all the Palestinian groups that would not work toward that goal. It would also have to build a massive Palestinian army in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip over decades, with Israel unconcernedly looking on. It would have to import tanks and jet fighters, from sympathetic international sources that do not exist, and train hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the tiny strips of non-contiguous land it would control. How could Hamas possibly defeat Israel militarily, let alone destroy it, when all other Arab countries collectively have failed to do so in the past half-century?

Despite what euphoria Hamas has seemed to enjoy at its high peaks, both militarily in its waves of successful suicide attacks in the heart of Israeli cities, and politically in its election victory in 2006, Hamas remains defensive rather than offensive. The structural confines that limit Palestinians in general apply to Hamas as well, and sometimes even more so because of the specificity of the movement (such as the lack of international support, unlike the case with the PLO). Wary of its difficult position, Hamas’s engagement in politics and world affairs is mostly driven by defensive mechanisms. Its ultimate goal in the coming years will be simply to preserve its own existence and avoid destruction, not to destroy others.

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