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Hamas: Reports of its death are greatly exaggerated

05/14/2004

From time to time, experts assure us that Israel has dealt a critical blow to the Hamas or other terror organizations, and they are greatly weakened. A dreary monotony has set in about such declarations. They cause great joy for a brief period. They are conveniently forgotten when, as inevitably happens, they are followed by a horrendous terror attack or other operation that proves once again that there are no simple solutions.

A case in point is last week's article in the World Tribune, cited in Israpundit which quotes NRP MK and settler supporter Zvi Hendel as saying:


The prime minister, in several key operations, has managed to erode Hamas

and goes on to gloat:


Israeli military sources said the nation's intelligence community has infiltrated the Hamas movement in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The sources said Israel's infiltration of Hamas in the West Bank has been so thorough that the intelligence community usually received advanced warnings as well as details of suicide bombing plots.

"This has been one of the most important developments in our fight against Hamas," a military source said. "Three years ago, the idea of being able to infiltrate Hamas was unimaginable."

A senior Israeli security official agreed that much of Israel's information on Hamas comes from within the organization, Middle East Newsline reported. The official did not dispute the assertion that Israeli intelligence has infiltrated Hamas.



Of course, once Hendel revealed this great news for purposes of cynical political gain, any Israeli agents in the Hamas could kiss their behinds goodbye, but why should Hendel care?

Israpundit placed all this gloating under the headline Who says there's no military solution?. The ink was just drying on the World Tribune story when the Hamas struck an Israeli APC in Gaza, killing six soldiers, and followed up their success with a similar attack about 36 hours later. Apparently, Israeli intelligence hadn't gotten wind of those operations.

This was not the first time Israpundit has used that headline. In fact, as blogger Ted Belman wrote, it is an article of faith of his Israel advocacy strategy:


4. ...We must continue our efforts to destroy the myths. We must not accept the idea that there is no military solution.

But what happens when the myths turn out to be facts? What happens to this strategy of advocacy when it turns out that there really isn't a pure military solution?

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000257.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 4 comments

I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone in Hamas that they've been penetrated by Israeli intelligence. Indeed, this boasting about intelligence coups may well be exaggerated, in the hopes of accentuating the paranoia and dysfunction that probably prevails within Hamas already.

Posted by Analyst @ 05/14/2004 08:39 PM CST

"Of course, once Hendel revealed this great news for purposes of cynical political gain, any Israeli agents in the Hamas could kiss their behinds goodbye, but why should Hendel care?"

That is, of course, a ridiculous assertion. If Israeli intelligence agents have truly infilitrated Hamas, for example, the fact that Israel claims to have infiltrated Hamas does nothing to undermine their agents' cover. Indeed, the very nature of being "under cover" necessitates that the people can not distinguish between the one who is under cover and one of their own.

Posted by Patrick Markham @ 05/16/2004 08:36 AM CST

"Of course, once Hendel revealed this great news for purposes of cynical political gain, any Israeli agents in the Hamas could kiss their behinds goodbye, but why should Hendel care?"

That is, of course, a ridiculous assertion. If Israeli intelligence agents have truly infilitrated Hamas, for example, the fact that Israel claims to have infiltrated Hamas does nothing to undermine their agents' cover. Indeed, the very nature of being "under cover" necessitates that the people can not distinguish between the one who is under cover and one of their own.

Posted by Patrick Markham @ 05/16/2004 08:37 AM CST

1) Sorry for posting twice. It was accidental.

2) I failed to mention in the post, as I had intended, that I don't find Israel's claim to have infiltrated Hamas, for example, entirely believable. While claiming to have infiltrated Hamas does nothing to undermine her agents' cover, as i said, it does put Hamas on red alert, so to speak, which, as it turns out, doesn't put the agents in too terrific a situation. Furthermore, I'm not even sure I believe Israeli agents could infiltrate Hamas, much less in less than three years. Anyway, the final reason I'm inclined not to believe it is that the alternative (ie, making it up) is entirely reasonable; it increases Hamas' anxiety level. And that, of course, serves two purposes: (1) It might cause Hamas to decrease the number of attacks or, at least, the sophistication of attacks (not that sending a child into a public place to blow himself up is all that sophisticated), and (2) the simple fact is that people, those affiliated with Hamas included, make mistakes as their anxiety increases.

Sincerely,
Patrick

Posted by Patrick Markham @ 05/16/2004 08:50 AM CST


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