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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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The zero sum of Hamas’ broken parts

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A clearer light could not shine.

The contrasting manner by which most Gazans and most Israelis marked the ceasefire last week was a high-wattage incandescence sharply illuminating the core difference between the two societies.

Encouraged by their leaders, Gazan militia members danced in the streets shooting their automatic weapons into the air. 

An observer could understand and even appreciate the celebrations if they had been an expression of relief that the incessant, razor-sharp bombing by the Israeli Air Force had finally come to an end. But the partying in the streets of Gaza was merely the latest manifestation of the self-delusion that passes for enlightenment in the political manifestos of the various Islamist factions there. The bombast of Gaza’s leaders was as pathetically overwrought as it was patently false. 

For example, according to the Times of Israel, one of Hamas’ founders, Mahmoud al-Zahar “touted Hamas’ combat success against Israel during the eight-day operation, claiming its fighters downed seven Israeli aircraft. The IDF has denied that any of its aircraft were shot down.”

By contrast, there were no celebrations in Israel. Israeli leaders were quite subdued, even understated, in reporting the results of Operation Pillar of Defence to their people. Indeed they acknowledged with great frustration and disappointment the inevitability of a reprise of fighting with Hamas and their Islamist confederates in the future. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not embellish. “We took out thousands of rockets that were aimed at the south, and almost all of the rockets that were pointed at the centre of the country.” He thus made plain that they did not destroy the entire cache of rockets in Gaza.

Israel’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, provided perhaps the truest perspective on the eight days of fighting.

“As the days pass and the dust settles, the other side will realize the price it paid for its actions. The results will speak for themselves… We have a strong military, excellent defence capabilities and a stalwart public. I am certain the future will prove this,” he said. 

And what might the future prove of the Palestinian public? Without a doubt it will show that seldom did history ever record a leadership that found constant celebration and festivity in the mountain of misery they themselves had brought down upon their own people. 

The societal sum that Hamas has constructed for its people out of its many morally misshapen parts is a sad, disheartening zero.

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