Hamas’ widespread terrorist attacks have one thing in common with the Yom Kippur War, which began on October 6, 1973, when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria: they came as a complete surprise. This is remarkable for such large-scale, complex and powerful operations, as they must have escaped the attention of the interested services. There were several reasons to assume that the terrorist organization Hamas could commit violence against Israel again.
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Surprising Hamas attack on Israel – but three reasons spoke for more violence from the start
The first reason is that Israel has always resisted external violence with great solidarity and unity. But in recent months, the divisions in Israeli society have been visible on the streets: large demonstrations against the government’s judicial reform could be seen as deep social discord. In this state, societies are less prepared to defend themselves. But if this was a reason for Hamas, it was mistaken. The terrorist attacks were accompanied by great solidarity among Israeli society with the measures taken by their government.
The second reason is that the sponsor behind Hamas, Iran and its strategic partner Russia, have an interest in violence in international relations. They want to prove that the current world order is falling apart. It should become obvious that the USA no longer has the international situation under control and cannot even support its ally Israel. At the same time, the USA is expected to take sides in favor of Israel, which has direct effects not only in the Middle East but also in Europe. Anyone who shows solidarity with the “Palestinian cause” and specifically with Hamas will be strengthened in their anti-Americanism. This is one of the most important goals for Russia in the information space and can then be used to counter further support for Ukraine.
The third reason is the rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is being promoted by the USA. After the agreements that Israel has concluded so far with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco, this would be the most important diplomatic step, equal in importance to the change in relations with Egypt. Hamas’ terrorist attacks and the expected Israeli response put Saudi Arabia in a difficult position to achieve the results desired by the Saudi government in a timely manner.
Hamas has no chance against Israel
All of these were reasons why services should have monitored the situation very closely. The question of why they didn’t foresee it will be addressed in the coming weeks and months. At the moment, Israel is concerned with positioning its armed forces to repel terrorist attacks, pushing them back and weakening Hamas with targeted strikes. There can be no doubt that the Israeli response will be harsh. There is also little doubt that this will be used by Hamas in the information space to turn a defeat into a moral victory.
Because Hamas will be weakened at the end of the operations. Militarily it has no chance against Israel. Even if there are attacks from the north, where Hezbollah, a terrorist organization also supported by Iran, has already shown solidarity with Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Israel will survive the direct violent conflicts, but will then be confronted with the exploitation of Israeli hostages in the information space.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks began, Hamas’ propaganda warriors dominated the information space and thus the view of the operation, which showed Israeli territories that were no longer under Israeli control and victims of the use of force who were violated. The message is: The Israeli government cannot guarantee security.
Hamas as an instrument of Iranian and Russian interests
It is expected that Hamas supporters in Western countries will soon begin to frame Israel’s defense measures themselves as terrorism – which will be targeted disinformation. Russia’s disinformation warriors will also want to use this to their advantage. Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel could not have been carried out without active support from outside. Iran and Russia have direct and parallel interests in violence in the Middle East.
Hamas, which has no chance of achieving any of its goals or influencing the strategic interests of the Middle East powers, has been used as an instrument of these Iranian and Russian interests. The effects are also reflected elsewhere, where social polarization can be promoted through hybrid operations in the information space.
In the USA, where twenty senators recently called on the Biden government to take greater account of the interests of the Palestinians, and in Europe, where firm support for the Palestinians is organized, political advantages are also being sought, which limits the governments’ scope for action shall be. In Israel itself, the surprising and complex terrorist attack will mean that the guarantee of security for many years will provoke more intensive measures.