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Hamas, the first Palestinian army

Israel did not rightly assess Hamas’ military abilities and must henceforth stop considering it as terror cells, like the other Gaza Strip groups, but as an army that it should aspire to bring down.
Members of the Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas movement take part in a parade marking the fifth anniversary of the three-week offensive Israel launched in 2008-2009, in Gaza City January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY) - RTX17CGS

In recent years, two narratives developed in Israel regarding its face-off against the Hamas movement. According to the first one, Hamas is a terrorist organization and, therefore, classic anti-terror tactics must be used to fight it. The second narrative, formed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, holds that Israel must create a balance of military and economic terror against the organization and erect clear red lines. Only if those lines are crossed by Hamas should Israel begin action to destroy the organization.

In general, Israeli governments adopted relatively restrained policies of containment vis-a-vis Hamas. The reason for this was the assumption that should the Hamas regime be overturned militarily or collapse economically, the alternative regimes in the Gaza Strip could be much worse and much more dangerous to the security of Israel. Operation Protective Edge already proves that both narratives are no longer applicable.

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