Israel and Hamas caught in a deadly embrace

2014-07-09 20:04
A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Said Khatib, AFP)

A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Said Khatib, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israel may force the Jewish state, unable to quell the relentless fire with retaliatory air strikes, to invade the Gaza Strip and open up a long and deadly conflict.

What are Hamas's objectives?

"To survive," says Israeli security analyst and commentator Daniel Nisman, who says the Islamist group is up against the wall in Gaza, short on funds and isolated after the new regime in neighbouring Egypt crushed Hamas's patron, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hence its need to deliver "victories" to impress Palestinian public opinion, he adds.

This could involve a softening of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the enclave, or a spectacular military coup, such as shooting down an Israeli warplane, infiltrating a commando into Israel or hitting downtown Tel Aviv with rockets.

In the end, "Hamas has nothing to lose", says Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a political scientist at Gaza's Al-Asa University.

What are Israel's objectives?

At the end of the day, "Hamas should no longer have the means to produce rockets", says Gilad Erdan, home front defence minister and a member of the security cabinet.

Israel is preparing for a lengthy campaign, unlike Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012, which lasted less than two weeks, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his fellow citizens to be patient.

Prospects of Israeli ground assault?

Two types of invasion are possible: The first would be a long-term campaign that aims to completely eradicate from Gaza Hamas's infrastructure.

The other, more acceptable to Israeli public opinion, would be shorter and aimed at only weakening the military capacity of militant groups in Gaza.

Abu Sada says Hamas "figures that Israel will not launch a ground campaign to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, which would be practically impossible to achieve and carry an exorbitant cost".

Nisman adds that the initiation of any such action could be accelerated if "a rocket hits central Tel Aviv or with the first Israeli being killed".

Hamas, thought to have an arsenal of around 10 000 missiles, has the capacity to hold out for around six weeks, according to Israel defence experts.

The group surprised Israel with the launching of rockets on the north of Israel, more than 160km from Gaza.

But Nisman says those longer-range, more precise missiles will be used sparingly, while Hamas will not hesitate to "fire the rest of its arsenal without counting".

Meanwhile, Amos Gilad, strategic affairs director at the Israeli defence ministry, considers it unlikely that Hamas will get any support from Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement in the form of missile strikes on the north of Israel.

Is there any mediation?

All eyes have been turned on Egypt, but it has downplayed any hopes of a Cairo-mediated end to this dispute despite having played a role in bringing about ceasefires in the past.

"There is no mediation, in the common sense of the word," said foreign ministry spokesperson Badr Abdelatty.

"Egyptian diplomatic efforts are aimed at immediately stopping Israeli aggression and ending all mutual violence. [Egyptian] contacts have not yet achieved a result," he added.

And Nisman said any such mediation would be fruitless because Egypt under former army chief and newly elected president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made clear to Hamas last week that it would not put excessive pressure on Israel.

In that case, Abu Sada said, Hamas could turn to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and his Fatah movement, or even to Turkey.

Read more on:    israel  |  gaza

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Violet the puppy loves playing Cat Fishing 2 on the iPad!


For chic geeks...

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.