Hamas Overreaches: Rockets Hit Israel, But Group Not Ready for War

Lack of Foreign Ties Leaves Hamas Less Able to Deal With Conflict

As Israeli airstrikes escalate, Hamas is firing rockets deeper into Israel than ever before, firing not only at Tel Aviv and western Jerusalem, but at distant Haifa as well.

Hamas is making much of these strikes as proof of their resolve, though their ramshackle unguided missiles did virtually no damage in Israel, and caused no reported injuries.

This has been the case in past Hamas rocket attacks, and while they spun the 2012 Israeli attacks as a “victory,” their own missile fire did comparatively little, and the real victory was getting a ceasefire in short order.

In 2012, Hamas was ill-prepared for a ground invasion, and that’s even more true today, as the group has lost most of its foreign connections, which makes the rocket fire riskier than ever.

During the 2008 invasion, Hamas had ties to Qatar, Syria, Iran, and Egypt’s Mubarak government, and there was a lot of momentum for a ceasefire in the waning days of that war, and a lot of criticism of Israel’s harsh attacks.

Even in 2012, though Hamas had lost most of its Syria and Iran ties with the Syrian Civil War, the Morsi government of Egypt was even closer to them, and was eager to negotiate a ceasefire on their behalf.

With the Egypt coup, Hamas has lost virtually all ties to Egypt, and the Sisi government, while giving some hint they might be willing to broker a ceasefire, has been openly hostile to Hamas, and their only interest is to prevent spillover of fighting or refugees into the Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas, in short, needs an out, and while they are playing at the usual game of rocket fire hoping for a similar result to 2012, there is a great risk that Israel’s far-right coalition government will listen to its more hawkish members and continue to escalate, with calls for a ceasefire coming only from less directly involved powers like the European Union.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.