The celebration of the 25th anniversary of Hamas coincided with the victory celebration following the recent Israeli attack. This short war has profoundly modified Israel’s strategic situation and reunited different factions of the Palestinian resistance.
Hamas authorized the partisans of Fatah to demonstrate in Gaza for the recognition by the UN of Palestine as an observer state, while Fatah authorized the militants of Hamas to demonstrate in the West Bank. Furthermore, the four internal currents of Hamas seem to have patched up their differences around Khaled Mashal. This sudden evolution heralds a new awareness. The Palestinians are no longer afraid of Israel and are beginning once again to entertain hope for their future.
A sign of this new-found confidence – several hundred thousand of them gathered to listen to their leaders’ speeches, with no fear of Israeli bombardments.
During the war, the Palestinian resistance tested new missiles with a range of 120 kilometres (instead of the 8 kilometres reached by their home-made rockets). They experienced no difficulty in penetrating the Iron Dome, which is only capable of intercepting primitive rockets. If we put this capacity into perspective with that of Hezbollah from Lebanon, this means that all of Israel is now within striking range. Consequently, the Israeli defences, based on "strategic depth" are now obselete. Israel can no longer be defended.
In Tel-Aviv, the intelligence services state that Hezbollah’s capacity for bombing Israel has been multiplied by 400 since the war of 2006. (Yes, that was not a typing error, you read that correctly, "multiplied by four hundred"). In the event of a regional war, the Israeli territory would be devastated in a few months.
This new balance of power becomes apparent when comparing Israeli aggressions. The attack on Lebanon in 2006 lasted for 33 days, the attack on Gaza in 2009 lasted 22 days, and the most recent attack lasted only 8 days. During the war of 2006, 200,000 Israelis were obliged to hide in shelters to escape from Hezbollah retaliation. This time, they were 2,000,000 seeking shelter from Palestinian missiles.
- In mid-November 2012, Israeli soldiers try to shelter at Kiryat Malachi, in the Southern part of Israel, after warnings of a rocket attack.
For the first time, the Palestinians, Hezbollah and Teheran have claimed that these new missiles are of Iranian design. And at the same time, Iran has demonstrated its superiority in the limited but nonetheless crucial domain of drone technology. A large pilotless aircraft, remote-controlled by Hezbollah, was able to cross the entire territory of Israel, from Lebanon as far as Dimona, without being spotted. It was only noticed and destroyed when it flew over the nuclear reactor. However, when a US drone was spotted over Iranian territory, the Revolutionary Guard was able to take over control and land it, rather than destroying it.
The perspectives of Tel-Aviv have completely changed. For 64 years, Israel profited from war, and hoped, each time, to be able to capture a little more land. Now Tel-Aviv has to avoid conflict at any cost, because it could not survive.
It’s now easy to understand why the rhetoric of Hamas has changed. During his speech, and for the first time, Khaled Mashal declared: "Palestine is our land and nation from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river, from North to South. We will make no concessions (...) and we cannot cede an inch or any part of it". In other words, he is claiming not only Gaza and the West Bank, but all of Mandate Palestine, including what is currently Jordan. Sticking to the letter of the UN recognition of Palestine and the relinquishment by Mahmoud Abbas of the "right to return", Hamas rejects the two-state solution and opts for a single state where there are currently three – a position which corresponds precisely to that upheld by Iran since the 1979 Revolution. "We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation (...) there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take", continued Khaled Mashal.
Conversely, this new situation is forcing Tel-Aviv to support without reserve the project of Paris, London and Doha, which aims to sabotage the peace agreement between the USA and Russia - before February - and implement an attack on Syria. This is, in fact, Israel’s last chance to embark on a military adventure.