It is a mistake to assume that Hamas is merely a group of suicidal psychopaths. It was not an easy task to topple Fatah in Gaza; such achievements are not the result of fate or blind ideology. Those who direct the organization are also astute politicians. The young fighters are simple-minded, but the leaders are not barking dogs. Politicians are schemers, strategists, driven to gain power.

Why does the Hamas continue to draw us in? Why do they keep firing rockets, breaking the cease-fires? Instead of merely saying, “They are blood thirsty”, we must think beyond simple assumptions. Their actions are calculated. They are driven for strategic political goals. What is the immediate political achievement they desire? This is what we must determine.

Clearly their ideology is Islamic fundamentalism and they preach the annihilation of Israel. But they are actually not acting specifically to destroy the state of Israel. This war of attrition bothers us, but has no chance of breaking us. Terrorist attacks will never kill our nation. If their goal was stability and open borders, they would act differently. If their interest in fighting was primarily to regain funds, they could have agreed to a cease-fire long ago. They already possess government within Gaza, so what do they want?

In these tumultuous times, we must keep in mind that the immediate goal of Hamas is to seize government in the West Bank. While they scheme against Mahmoud Abbas and the PA, we debate whether to use more force! Our response should be tactical. In order to understand the enemy in Gaza from a realist perspective, we must observe the balance of power in Ramallah.

For by devices thou shalt make thy war” (Proverbs 24:6).