Until a few weeks ago, Israel’s security establishment believed that Hamas has no interest in a comprehensive armed conflict with Israel. Instead, it was thought, Hamas would prefer talks, under Egyptian mediation, leading to some kind of arrangement. The negotiation process, even if it would have been a long one, was expected to lead to a relief in the closure. Meanwhile, Qatari financial aid allowed the Hamas leadership to reduce pressure, pay salaries to the employees of the local government and show the Palestinian population that they are headed in the right direction.
But that’s all over now. Hamas is disappointed with the Egyptians. After all, even if they haven’t cut off all contact with the Gaza Strip, they show no motivation whatsoever to bring Israel and Hamas to any kind of arrangement. Then there is the Qatari aid, which blew up in Hamas’ face. It was already too late by the time the Hamas leadership realized that the damage to its image caused by that aid was much greater to the group than its utility.