This news is no surprise. The best way that Hamas can win back the support of the West is to kill Israelis so that Israel has no choice but to respond, leading to images of Israeli tanks rolling into Palestinian villages, and using that as propaganda to make Israel look like the aggressor. It also helps them gain an upper hand in the internal struggle against rival Fatah by showing themselves to be more willing to kill Israelis.
According to Hamas, the inciting incident was an errant Israeli artillery shell that killed 7 Palestinian beachgoers in Gaza. A tragedy no doubt, but that’s what happens when Israel is forced to respond to the daily rocket attacks directed toward Israel from Gaza.
It’s also worth contrasting the way Israelis view innocent life, with the way Palestinians do.
In response to the incident, Israelis expressed deep regret, saying:
“Harming innocent civilians is of course totally unacceptable and we will do whatever we can to avoid civilian loss of life,” said Mark Regev, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.
A skeptic may argue that, “Of course Israel is going to say that publicly for PR reasons, any government would to make themselves look better.”
But I know one government that wouldn’t issue such a statement–the Hamas-led government of the Palestinians. Back in April, Palestinian suicide bombers specifically targeted civilians, killing nine people by a Tel Aviv fast food stand. Far from condemning the attack, the Palestinian government said it was self-defense:
Hamas spokesman Sami abu-Zohari said that the attack was an act of self defense: “Our public is carrying out defensive fighting and it has every right to use all means to defend itself.”
Back then, many Israelis wanted a stronger response to the attack by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s new government, but the government decided to show restraint instead:
Israel’s leaders held the Hamas-led Palestinian government responsible Tuesday for the deadliest suicide bombing in 20 months, but decided against a large-scale military operation in an attempt to avoid escalating violence.
Meanwhile, today the so-called militant “wing” of Hamas has vowed more such suicide bombings are on the way:
“The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again and the aggressors will have no choice but to prepare their coffins or their luggage.”