No Light at the End of the Tunnel for Hamas

 

Over the past several hours, Israel has been withdrawing most of its troops from Gaza after having destroyed all — or almost all — of the cross border tunnels Hamas had burrowed deep under Gaza and across the border into Israel.

This is a much bigger deal than most of the media realize.

In just two weeks the IDF has wrecked 31 tunnels it took Hamas five years or more to construct; along with most of the weapons stockpile the terrorists have been building up since Israel ended the occupation of Gaza in 2005.

This isn’t just another round in the endless cycle of Israeli-Palestinian violence liberals like to bemoan.  In fact, the real question is whether this doesn’t spell the end of the road for Hamas-certainly the end of its tunnel.

As Son of Spengler recently noted here on Ricochet, these tunnels have been an ugly problem for Israel.

But they’ve also been a vast capital-intensive enterprise for Hamas terrorists.  Ever since Israel left Gaza in 2005, they’ve been busier than carpenter ants tunneling and building this underground network of tunnels some of which extended for kilometers into Israel.

Most were dug with jackhammers some sixty feet underground, lined with concrete and wired for electricity—as well as dug wide enough for a car to drive in and out.

Many were jammed with rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles, as well as other heavy weapons.

Hamas has reportedly spent 40 percent of its budget — or rather of the money its Arab patrons provide them– on these tunnels and the weapons inside.

Now it’s all gone. Hamas also has managed to provoke the Israelis into wrecking Gaza’s infrastructure that’ll take years to rebuild, while isolating itself more from the rest of the Arab world that refused to lift a finger to help.

Here we can invoke Herman’s Rules of International Relations, Number 4: When the only friends you have left are John Kerry, the UN Secretary General, and the BBC, you know your case is terminal.

So what’s next for Hamas?

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  1. David Limbaugh Contributor
    David Limbaugh
    @DavidLimbaugh

    Great post. Thank you.

    • #1
  2. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    I largely agree.  Everyday Hamas’ options for attacking Israel grow less effective.

    • #2
  3. user_1065645 Contributor
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    Israels remarkable defense against terrorism while enduring repeated broken cease fires by Hamas will continue as long as Hamas is an organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.

    Sadly, as long as Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and all other splinter groups remain a reality, Israel will always be in war for survival.

    • #3
  4. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Hurrah!

    • #4
  5. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Arthur Herman: [….] 31 tunnels it took Hamas five years or more to construct; along with most of the weapons stockpile the terrorists have been building up since Israel ended the occupation of Gaza in 2005.

     What are the odds that other Palestinians were unaware of this massive undertaking?

    • #5
  6. Limestone Cowboy Coolidge
    Limestone Cowboy
    @LimestoneCowboy

    Aaron Miller:

    Arthur Herman: [….] 31 tunnels it took Hamas five years or more to construct; along with most of the weapons stockpile the terrorists have been building up since Israel ended the occupation of Gaza in 2005.

    What are the odds that other Palestinians were unaware of this massive undertaking?

     Precisely ZERO. It’s impossible to move that much material unnoticed.

    My hope is that… just perhaps.. Gaza’s inhabitants will take an account of their dead and injured, their wrecked city, their lost wealth and well being, and then take aim at the maniacs who led them down this path.

    I wonder if some might even secretly but fondly recall the days of Israeli administration.

    • #6
  7. Scarlet Pimpernel Inactive
    Scarlet Pimpernel
    @ScarletPimpernel
    • #7
  8. Scarlet Pimpernel Inactive
    Scarlet Pimpernel
    @ScarletPimpernel

    Are Iran and Turkey likely to try to keep Hamas, or a like group, in charge in Gaza?

    • #8
  9. user_615140 Inactive
    user_615140
    @StephenHall

    At last, some good news.

    • #9
  10. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    So what’s next for Hamas?

    Hell.

    • #10
  11. artycohn@gmail.com Inactive
    artycohn@gmail.com
    @ArthurCohn

    Arthur Herman, as usual, makes a very important and true point.
    The key question is: will Obama, who seems to have soft spot for the Moslem Brother hood, now prop up Hamas, the Moslem brotherhood offshoot.

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Limestone Cowboy:

    My hope is that… just perhaps.. Gaza’s inhabitants will take an account of their dead and injured, their wrecked city, their lost wealth and well being, and then take aim at the maniacs who led them down this path.

     

     They don’t  seem to be drawing the lesson you’ve hoped for (this time, either).

    • #12
  13. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    1) Dig better tunnels based on lessons learned.
    2) Prepare to take over West Bank
    3) Get better weapons from Iran
    4) Use damage caused by war as an excuse to import better weapons-making materials and equipment
    5) Increase anti-Semitic propaganda
    6)Undermine Egypt.

    • #13
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    The only light at the end of the tunnel for Hamas should be the Laser sight of the Tavor-21 being aimed by the IDF.

    • #14
  15. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    For me, the $64 dollar question is how and when the average resident of Gaza or the West Bank is going to say, “I’m sick and tired of leaders who place Quixotic military terrorism over our well being,” and then unitedly create a moderate political movement designed to create a peaceful resolution with Israel and the building of an ordered society.

    I wish I could see that happening.  Is there any reason for hope?

    • #15
  16. Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman
    @ArthurHerman

    Arthur Cohn:

    Arthur Herman, as usual, makes a very important and true point. The key question is: will Obama, who seems to have soft spot for the Moslem Brother hood, now prop up Hamas, the Moslem brotherhood offshoot.

    He will try!  Already we have news stories about a “divided” Hamas, with the “moderate” political wing led by Khaled Meshaal who’s HQ’d in Qatar who supported the earlier ceasefire, and the “hardline” Hamas military leaders (link).

    Don’t be surprised if John Kerry now doesn’t meet with Meshaal to try to broker a comprehensive Israel-Gaza settlement, in order to make it look like he knew what he was doing all along.

    I love this story’s comment that after  the fall of Egypt’s Morsi Obama “had little way to communicate with Mr Meshaal and no channel to send messages to Hamas’s military command.” What does that say about how perverted this administration’s M.E. policy really is?  

    • #16
  17. Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman
    @ArthurHerman

    Arthur Cohn:

    Arthur Herman, as usual, makes a very important and true point. The key question is: will Obama, who seems to have soft spot for the Moslem Brother hood, now prop up Hamas, the Moslem brotherhood offshoot.

    He will try!  Already we have news stories about a “divided” Hamas, with the “moderate” political wing led by Khaled Meshaal who’s HQ’d in Qatar who supported the earlier ceasefire, and the “hardline” Hamas military leaders (link).

    Don’t be surprised if John Kerry now doesn’t meet with Meshaal to try to broker a comprehensive Israel-Gaza settlement, in order to make it look like he knew what he was doing all along.

    I love this story’s comment that after the fall of Egypt’s Morsi Obama “had little way to communicate with Mr Meshaal and no channel to send messages to Hamas’s military command.” What does that say about how perverted this administration’s M.E. policy really is?

    Scarlet Pimpernel:

    Are Iran and Turkey likely to try to keep Hamas, or a like group, in charge in Gaza?

    Excellent question. Yes they will, as long as it involves no political cost to them; and as long as it’s just Israelis and Palestinians who die. But their attention has already shifted to the east, to the struggle for Baghdad and the Sunni-Shia civil unfolding there.   

     

    • #17
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    tabula rasa:

    For me, the $64 dollar question is how and when the average resident of Gaza or the West Bank is going to say, “I’m sick and tired of leaders who place Quixotic military terrorism over our well being,” and then unitedly create a moderate political movement designed to create a peaceful resolution with Israel and the building of an ordered society.

     Since 2007 there have been two polities running in the Palestinian territories – Hamas in Gaza and the PA (basically Fatah) in the West Bank.  The PA has basically cooperated with the Oslo process – which, we are told, is what will lead to a peaceful resolution with Israel and the building of an ordered society and state.  Hamas may have initially tried to but was not able to and did not.

    So the two approaches have been trialled, and Palestinians can compare how each is leading to a viable state.

    The PA’s approach:

    West Bank

    Area A:  full Palestinian control.
    Area B:  Palestinian civilian control and Israeli military control
    Area B:  full Israeli control; Palestinian access limited. 

    Israeli settlers on the West Bank  doubled during the Oslo process to over 500,000.

    Not great options.

    • #18
  19. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    I think Hamas’s two most immediate plays will be (a) secure funds for rebuilding — from Turkey and Qatar, but also the US and EU; and (b) go on a PR offensive. The second piece might involve more “flotillas” from Turkey and stepping up lawfare in international forums.  Hamas may need to rebrand itself (Islamic State in Palestine, perhaps?), but if its leadership can bring in the dough, I expect the Gazans will keep them in power.

    • #19
  20. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    #18 Zafar

    I think you’ll find that most of the “West Bank settler” population increase happened in Jerusalem neighborhoods recognized under Oslo as falling under Israeli jurisdiction in any final-status agreement with Palestinian representatives.

    Moreover, after that category, the next major category for “West Bank settler” population increase has overwhelmingly been within the acknowledged/established settlement-block locales such as Efrat in the Gush Etzion area in Judea and Beitar Illit slightly north of Jerusalem.
    (By “acknowledged,” again I mean acknowledged under Oslo uncontestably as being under Israeli jurisdiction in any final-status agreement.)

    The Samaria locale of Ariel also has seen substantial population growth falling under this category (i.e., Ariel is a long-established city) — given that its placement is notably farther into Samaria from the 1949 Armistice line, it will be a challenging question as to whether this “salient” would be deemed a part of Israeli sovereign territory under a final-status agreement or whether some kind of pullout and land-swap with a Palestinian entity would be required.

    In short, a bulk figure of 500,000 might be fun to brandish, but on closer examination the breakdown of the figure doesn’t particularly support you.

    • #20
  21. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Danny Alexander:

    #18 Zafar

    I think you’ll find that most of the “West Bank settler” population increase happened in Jerusalem neighborhoods recognized under Oslo as falling under Israeli jurisdiction in any final-status agreement with Palestinian representatives.

    Moreover, after that category, the next major category for “West Bank settler” population increase has overwhelmingly been within the acknowledged/established settlement-block locales such as Efrat in the Gush Etzion area in Judea and Beitar Illit slightly north of Jerusalem. (By “acknowledged,” again I mean acknowledged under Oslo uncontestably as being under Israeli jurisdiction in any final-status agreement.)

    The Samaria locale of Ariel also has seen substantial population growth falling under this category (i.e., Ariel is a long-established city) — given that its placement is notably farther into Samaria from the 1949 Armistice line, it will be a challenging question as to whether this “salient” would be deemed a part of Israeli sovereign territory under a final-status agreement or whether some kind of pullout and land-swap with a Palestinian entity would be required.

    They gave away so much of the WB before starting negotiations?

    That doesn’t make Oslo look any better for the Palestinians, does it?

    • #21
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