Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Since When Is Victory A Bitch?

I never fail to get a chuckle out of Ed Morrissey's forays into Middle East analysis. For a man who incitefully recognized the Palestinian "triangle offense" (wherein a rotating two of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad attack Israel while the third goes limp in order to bleed off the impetus for an Israeli counterstrike), he still can't seem to grasp that Israeli's surrender of the Gaza Strip to, effectively, Hamas, is anything but the pro-Israeli bonanza he persists in thinking it is. Or, put another way, he's still stubbornly channeling his inner Olmert.

Case in point:

A protest against Hamas rule by thousands of Fatah supporters turned violent yesterday when Hamas forces began dispersing the crowd, firing in the air and beating demonstrators.

The clashes broke out after worshipers held a Friday prayer meeting outside a mosque in a Gaza City public square. Fatah has urged its backers to stay out of mosques, which it says are being used by Hamas to provoke factional fighting among Palestinians.

About twenty people were injured in the clashes, including children, according to doctors and witnesses.

Two journalists were beaten by Hamas supporters, although neither was seriously hurt. Two other French journalists suffered minor injuries from a small explosion.
My reaction to that is, "So?" Gazaites don't like Hamas; that's hardly a news flash. But what can they do besides mount demonstrations and get the Mohammed beaten out of them? Nothing. Hamas used "Palestinian democracy" to gain power over the "Palestinian terrortories" and they succeeded in Gaza. Since they're not going to bother with any further pretense of democracy, what does it matter what dissident Fatahites think? To borrow a Klingon phrase, "They die well." By which, in Hamas' mind, is meant that they die, period.

Not to hear the Admiral tell it, though; he's convinced that bad PR is a big problem for Hamas:
It doesn't sound as if Hamas is enjoying their power grab. Certainly the people of Gaza haven't found it palatable, and the example it sets for Islamist rule has to be bracing for moderates in the region. If the beatings don't improve Gaza morale soon, what will Hamas do next?
The true operating term being "power". Hamas has grabbed it, and nothing short of a serious Israeli invasion of Gaza can take it away from them. "Moderates," meanwhile, already know what Islamist rule is like, but it's not as though that rule will burble up from the Islamic grassroots via placards and campaign glee clubs and public relations pamphlets and mass advertising buys and county fair straw polls. It will come via external Islamist invasion or internal Islamist revolution, and "Hamastan" is an advance base and tool for just such ends.

'nother case in point:
Yahiya Moussa, a member of the Hamas parliament in Gaza, said the organization did not change its policy regarding suicide attacks, Israel Radio reported Sunday evening. He said reports aired in Israeli media earlier Sunday were meant to "set the ground for renewed Israeli violence against the Palestinians."

Moussa added, however, that Hamas was not in complete control over its activists and that "pressure against activists in the [West] Bank could lead bring about an explosion."

A Palestinian source in Ramallah contradicted Moussa, and confirmed that the leadership in Damascus had indeed instructed West Bank Hamas members to carry out a large-scale attack.

Earlier Sunday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) deputy director said at the cabinet meeting that Hamas leaders in Damascus have told the group's loyalists in the West Bank to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack inside Israel.
THIS is why Hamas conquered Gaza and seeks to take over Judea and Samaria - to complete the conquest of the entire Holy Land for their masters in Damascus and Tehran. Palestinian public opinion - which, never forget, elected Hamas to power "legitimately" in the first place - is about as relevant to this situation as the latest Paris Hilton boob job.

Yet Ed - again - seems to think it matters:
Hamas faces a dilemma. The situation in Gaza, both politically and militarily, continues to deteriorate. The West Bank, under Fatah leadership, has seen both its status and its economics improve after losing the Gaza Strip albatross. According to polling last week, Hamas would lose an election in both areas, if one could be held in Gaza at all, and most people have lost faith in Hamas after the coup.

The only way to even the score is to provoke the Israelis into an attack.
There's just a tiny problem with that analysis: The Islamists are not concerned with public opinion. They wouldn't be mounting a massive terrorist attack in Israel to make Mahmoud Abbas less popular; as far as they're concerned he's a Jewish/Crusader poodle destined for a quick fall into a fiery hell. Hamas would be launching this attack because (1) their demon god told them to; (2) they don't believe the Israelis will retaliate, but rather demoralize further toward surrendering their country without a fight; (3) if the IDF did attempt a counterattack, whether against the West Bank or Gaza, it would be led by the same regime that carried out the weak, half-hearted, incompetent operation of last summer, with a very similar result; and (4) if fortunes turned even further against Hamas, it would be the perfect pretext for an Iranian intervention, via Hezbollah from Lebanon (like last summer) - or perhaps even with those nuclear weapons so many Western analysts still wishfully think they don't have yet.

Ed's peroration encapsulates his misconception:
Hamas has graciously given the Israelis a ready punching bag in Gaza by acquiring territory for themselves for which they now must be responsible - and if Hamas thinks Gaza is miserable now, wait until after a terrorist attack in Israel.
Hamas is not "responsible" for Gaza - Hamas controls Gaza. Just as Hamas seeks to control all of Israel as well. Until that distinction is understood, peace (through victory) in the Middle East will remain unattainable.

It's a sign of the times that that understanding is beyond even those who need it the most.

UPDATE: Are rocket attacks against Israeli day care centers launched from the Gaza Strip part of this "ready punching bag" meme? If so, it looks to me like the bag is giving the Jews a pummeling.