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Hamas thinks Israel will want to end this conflict quickly; it could be wrong

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At 6 p.m. on Monday, Hamas elected to embark on a foolish, arrogant misadventure. It might score some points with the Arab public, including in the West Bank and the wider region, but it will cost the Gaza Strip a heavy price and, as the Gaza death toll mounts, is unlikely to boost Hamas’s standing there.

Rather like the case with Hezbollah in 2006, Hamas’s assumption is that the Israeli leadership will want to end this round of fighting as quickly as possible. That’s what its experience with Netanyahu governments has taught it. The prime minister has created an almost surreal reality over the years in which Israel has essentially done no small amount to help enable Hamas to retain its rule over Gaza, including permitting the distribution by Qatar of funding to alleviate some of the Strip’s acute poverty, while Hamas for its part has generally avoided crossing red lines in its dealings with Israel.

But on Monday Hamas shattered the status quo, having determined that the benefits of doing so outweighed the costs. It reckons it will be portrayed as the defender of Jerusalem and of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the restorer of lost Palestinian honor, while the rival Palestinian Authority is left looking particularly ridiculous. But Hamas, which initiated the incitement regarding Jerusalem in recent weeks, maintained it, and managed to set the city on fire, went one step too far.

When its surreal “ultimatum” to Israel to withdraw by 6 p.m. from Sheikh Jarrah and the Temple Mount Compound expired, it attained its desired victory pictures: The barrage of rockets it fired........

© The Times of Israel

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