Israel has been hit by 5000 rockets fired by Hamas, a Gaza stripe based Islamist Organization. Hamas’ militia has declared operation Al-Aqsa Storm to take on Israel and have demanded support from the Palestinians across the Arab world.
Hamas emerged as a challenge to Palestinian Liberation Organization in the 1980s against the backdrop of the first Intifada. In August 2005, the Knesset approved The Disengagement plan which mandated Israeli forces to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza, giving the control of the region in the hands of the PalestinianAuthority.
Resurgence of HAMAs
In the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election Hamas’ unexpected majority gave it the right to form a government. FATAH, the party in power refused to hand over the reins which resulted in security chaos, violence and turmoil and Hamas captured Gaza from the Palestinian Authority. Consequently, Israel imposed a tight siege on the Gaza Strip from 2007 until 2014.
Hamas is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist national movement devoted to Palestinian cause . The Sunni group’s charter envisages destruction of the state of Israel and to have an Arab Palestinian state based on the Islamic law. Hamas has regional as well as global aspirations. It aligns with regional powers such as Iran and Qatar to promote Islamism in the Middle-East and locally strives to become the sole representative of the Palestinian cause and aims to destroy Israel and return the territory to the Palestinians.
Israel vs HAMAS
On the contrary Israel views Hamas as a revisionist actor which seeks to threaten the status quo. Though there are no official documents to state their strategic goals against each other, the Israeli leadership has time and again labelled Hamas as an ‘enemy’. The Jewish have undertaken various offensives against the terror group like the Operation Cast Lead in2009, Pillar of Clouds Operation in 2014 and Protective edge Operations in 2014. All the three operations aimed at securing peace and safeguarding its citizens in the Southern parts of its territory by destroying Hamas’ offensive facilities.
At the inception Hamas attracted funds from different Arab states committed to Palestinian statehood but Iran had been a consistent donor in the terror group’s endeavours to destroy Israel. Tehran has been supportive of Hamas both financially and militarily which contributed to its consolidation and institutionalisation in the occupied Gaza territory.
The rocket attacks by the terror group have garnered praise from the Iranian backed proxy Hezbollah , a Shiite political Organization based in Lebanon. Hezbollah has reportedly provided Hamas with training and weapons, while Hamas has offered political and moral support to Hezbollah in its conflicts with Israel.
Despite Hamas being a Sunni Islamist organisation primarily committed to Palestinian statehood, the group has received unequivocal support from the Shiite Hezbollah as both organisations overtly aim to destroy Israel and disrupt the power dynamics in the Middle-East.
HAMAS attack as a threat to Saudi-Israel peace talks
Amidst the ongoing normalisation talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the new development comes as a challenge to the peace deal between Jerusalem and Mecca. The rocket firing has the risk of further polarising the right-wing ultra-orthodox Jews in Netanyahu’s coalition government who were not supportive of the Palestinians achieving statehood. If the Saudi monarchy continues to hinge the normalisations upon viable concessions to Palestinians, normalisation between the countries might be a far-fetched dream as of now.