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Ben-Dror Yemini
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Palestinians waving Hamas flags on the Temple Mount

Israel must find a way to outsmart Hamas on public relations front

Opinion: While Israel is strong militarily, it never achieves its objectives during confrontations in Gaza due to international pressure; Jerusalem needs to offer Hamas a slew of benefits only to prove the terror group harms Palestinians more than Israel ever could

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 05.10.22, 23:27
The question is not whether there will be another confrontation with the Hamas terror group, but rather when and on what scale?
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  • During previous military campaigns against Hamas, the terror group suffered many losses, but was never outright defeated.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    כיפת הזהב הר הבית
    כיפת הזהב הר הבית
    Palestinians waving Hamas flags on the Temple Mount
    (Photo:AFP)
    It's true that since the last war between Israel and the terror groups in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave's rulers have significantly slowed down firing of rockets and incendiary balloons into Israeli territory, but its overall ability to inflict pain on the Jewish State has not been harmed.
    Hamas' capabilities include more than armaments. It continuously incites against Israel, encouraging and lauding any terrorist acts meant to harm the Israeli people, regardless of whether the perpetrators are members of Hamas or not.
    As a result, the voice of the terror group and its leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, seems to grow louder and louder. After all, the group is behind the continuous riots on the Temple Mount, with its flag hoisted both on the Temple Mount and throughout the West Bank.
    So yes, the drop in rocket launches is important, but it’s only part of the overall picture.
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    Children at a rally days after a cease-fire was reached in an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel
    Children at a rally days after a cease-fire was reached in an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel
    Children at a Hamas rally days after a ceasefire was reached in an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas and Israel
    (Photo: AP)
    If Israel fails to prepare accordingly, the next military confrontation with Hamas will be a repeat of all previous conflicts.
    Israel will strike and destroy. Hamas will launch rockets that cost pennies, prompting Israel to intercept them with expensive Iron Dome missiles, each costing the state about $50,000. From then on, it is going to be a repeat of the same scenario.
    First, most first world countries would accept the Israeli response to the attacks on its sovereignty. Then, a few days will pass - or only one day as was during last May's fighting - and the anti-Israel campaign will spring into action.
    From human rights NGOs to the New York Times, all will present Israel as a malevolent and utterly criminal nation, attacking innocent and oppressed Palestinians. Antisemitic sentiments around the globe will become louder, international pressure will increase, and the number of anti-Israel protests around the world will only grow.
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    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, who was killed in the recent fighting with Israel
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, who was killed in the recent fighting with Israel
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, who was killed in the recent fighting with Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    This time , however, there's another element at play, which wasn’t there in in previous rounds of fighting. Any building damaged in the Gaza Strip will be compared to buildings damaged in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Israel will be inevitably be compared to Russia, even though the Palestinians have aligned themselves with both - Iran and Moscow.
    International pressure will do its thing, and Israel will fail to complete its military objectives - again.
    Sinwar’s repeated provocations - which have successfully increased security tensions all throughout the country and even prompted several deadly terror attacks - necessitates Israel to rethink its course of action.
    In Albert Einstein’s words, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas terror group, May 15, 2021.
    Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas terror group, May 15, 2021.
    Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas terror group, May 15, 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    There have been repeated calls over the past week, and not just from the Right, to carry out a targeted assassination of Sinwar. It may be possible, but will it help? Security officials have reportedly opposed such a course of action, presumably knowing what every sane person should know - Sinwar’s assassination will lead to another confrontation with Hamas, which will again lead to the same result.
    This well-known failure stems, in part at least, from the fact that Israel is perceived as a strong and oppressive force, while Hamas is perceived as a victim stuck under the Israeli boot.
    That is of course a lie, and the vast majority of Israelis know this. But, public opinion around the world differs, mostly due to ignorance.
    Can Israel change this? Israel cannot hope to sway the usual anti-Israel brigade, nor the "human rights organizations" that have become an integral part in the prevalent hate campaign against the Jewish State.
    But, not everyone is an Israel hater, some have simply been swept by the propaganda. This includes parts of the American Jewry, which acts as a strategic backbone of the State of Israel. We cannot afford to lose them, and in order to avoid that, Israel has some work to do before before the next confrontation with Hamas breaks out.
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    Pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrate near the Israeli Consulate following the flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, May 18, 2021.
    Pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrate near the Israeli Consulate following the flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, May 18, 2021.
    Pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrate near the Israeli Consulate in the Manhattan borough of New York City, May 18, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    This means changing direction. This means offering Hamas a slew of benefits: Lifting the blockade, rehabilitating the Gaza Strip, establishing a seaport, all that and much more in exchange for one thing only - the demilitarization of Gaza.
    We know in advance that Hamas will refuse that. After all, the Mideast Quartet (U.S., Russia, UN and EU) has already submitted a similar proposal, as did the EU. The answer was always a vehement “no”.
    Hamas prefers destruction and devastation over construction and welfare. So why even offer? Because it is doubtful that those who hate Israel know that Hamas was offered proposals of growth and peace. In order for such a philanthropic proposal to become mainstream news item, much more needs to be done. Israel has never made this effort, which will cost it effectively nothing.
    The confrontation between Israel and Hamas takes place on two fronts. The military front and the conscious one. It doesn’t matter how strong Israel is on the former front, in the end it always surrenders because of the latter.
    Such a dramatic proposal on the part of Israel will not stop the protests against it, but it will weaken their legitimacy.
    And in an age where every confrontation is managed on two fronts, such an achievement can have great benefits.













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