These lines are written on the first day of the confrontation, which began on Saturday, between Hamas and Israel. I can imagine that, in the coming days, the Palestinian death toll will reach much higher figures; and that there will be many people not involved, on both sides, who will die. In vain.
Yes, it was a big surprise. Yes, Hamas has managed to surprise Israel and prepare a complex operation right under its nose. There has been no special trigger that explains it or that prepared Israel to face such an attack. So the question is: what is the purpose of Hamas?
His associates have made Netanyahu’s life miserable; Hamas has made it more comfortable
Former Israeli Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip (a decision that was carried out without the cooperation of the PLO) was an unexpected gift to Hamas, which seized the area from Fatah. Hamas is a typical Islamist movement, very authoritarian, that attacks human rights and, especially, women’s rights; and it is bad news for the majority of the two million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip. There is a growing consensus in Israel that the only way to deal with the situation is to end its rule in Gaza and its endless threat to Israel. It won’t be very simple, that means a land war and that means casualties; but it is something that seems increasingly inevitable.
This war will have direct repercussions on the Israeli political sphere. Yair Lapid, the head of the opposition, has proposed forming an emergency government, which means ending the 10 months of far-right government. Until now, center-left parties had refused to participate in the government due to the ongoing trial in which Netanyahu is accused of taking bribes. In December, forced to choose between integrating the religious ultra-nationalist party into his coalition or resigning from power, Netanyahu opted for power and found himself with a handful of extremists who have made his life impossible. Unexpectedly, Hamas has made his life more comfortable, as he now prepares to lead the war against that movement. There is no doubt that, in such an eventuality, the far-right party would have demanded that he adopt extreme measures; Now, without it, you will be able to make much more reasonable decisions.
The next question is what impact a unity government will have on the current opposition parties that will apparently join it. Maintaining the position held until now would allow them to harshly criticize the fact that the government has been completely surprised by the Hamas attack; On the other hand, if they join the government, voters may not remember that they were still in the opposition when it all started. And there is also another issue: in most cases, wars do not end as they begin, and centrist parties may have to share the blame with Netanyahu.
However, the most important issue is that both Lapid and Benny Gantz (leader of a centrist party) promised their voters not to participate in a unity government and made that issue their main electoral commitment. Will voters see the Hamas attack as a reason to break the promise?
Needless to say, if they join Netanyahu’s government, the prime minister will renounce the problematic planned judicial changes, changes that would have turned Israel into another Hungary. Once that happens, the weekly demonstrations in Tel Aviv against the judicial revolution will end. Netanyahu will practically be guaranteed the full four years of his mandate…
Whatever happens, a different political scenario will now be created than the one that emerged after the last elections. A few hours of a completely unexpected Hamas attack can have unexpected consequences.
Translation of Juan Gabriel López Guix