Israeli Military Surprised by Relative Lack of Hamas Response

Two Killed in latest Hamas Firing, But Israel Anticipated Much Larger Response

by Jason Ditz, December 29, 2008

An Israeli soldier was killed in a mortar strike on a military base in western Negev today, and a civilian was killed in a strike on the city of Ashdod. A handful of others were also wounded in the attacks from the Gaza Strip. The toll in three days of fire from the strip is at four killed and eight wounded.

And while the casualties have indeed been a story in the Israeli press, the real issue behind these articles is not how many Israelis have been hit in Hamas strikes, but how few. The Israeli military projected a much larger response to the onslaught it has unleashed on the Gaza Strip, but though Hamas has spoken in hushed tones of a third intifada, its strikes have been shockingly limited.

No one seems sure why Hamas hasn’t responded in greater force. but the Israeli media is speculating that it is either a tactical decision by Hamas to make the enormous Israel-inflicted toll in the Gaza Strip seem all the more disproportionate or a testament to the success of the military’s killings over the past three days. So far no credence has been given to the other possibility: that Hamas wasn’t nearly the grave threat Israeli intelligence officials made them out to be.

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