The Foreign Policy Research Institute said the Israeli government goal
to deter Hamas from attacking the Jewish state was either misguided or
mendacious. In a report by Michael Radu, co-chair of the institute's Center
on Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and Homeland Security, Hamas and other
terrorist groups were said to be incapable of being deterred by conventional
"The very concept of deterrence is based on a number of premises,
none of which applies to Hamas or any other religion-based terror
group," the report, titled "Gaza Conflict: Deterrence and Other Missed
Points," said. "The first is that the Hamas leaders actually care about
and/or fear for their lives and those of their families hence that they
will 'deal' if in personal peril. That is a doubtful assumption."
Radu, author of a recent book on insurgency groups, cited Hamas cleric
Nazar Rayan. He said Rayan refused to leave his home in the Jabalya refugee
camp outside Gaza City despite an Israeli warning of an imminent air
strike. In the end, Rayan and his family were killed.
"When terrorist leaders care little about their own lives, it should be
no surprise that they care even less about those of 'civilians,'" the report
The report dismissed the repeated statements by the government of Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert that a key goal of Operation Cast Lead, the military
attack on the Gaza Strip, was to deter Hamas from missile attacks on the
Jewish state. Radu said Olmert as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni know that Hamas nor any other group deemed
terrorist could be deterred.
"If they mean it and that is still unclear they are
dangerously misguided and misleading their public," the report said.
"Moreover, they are sending Israeli soldiers to their deaths for an
Radu compared Hamas and other groups deemed terrorist to the Soviet
Union under Josef Stalin or the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler. He said Hamas
was a totalitarian regime that maintained complete control over Palestinians
in the Gaza Strip, and used them as human shields.
"Hamas also understands, as the UN people in Gaza not to mention
the emotional and irrational crowds demonstrating in London, San Francisco,
or Paris -- do not, that the very concept of 'civilians' is largely
meaningless," the report said. "Certainly some women, and all infants, are
innocent victims of the conflict. But Hamas successfully makes all women
and all 'children' victims, knowing that the sob sisters/brothers of
the West accept this for their own reasons. Those reasons may
vary, from cultural anti-Americanism, historic anti-Semitism, or
the peculiar European adoration of everything Third World."
Radu said the Olmert government's refusal to destroy the Hamas regime
resulted in the death of both Israeli soldiers as well as Gaza civilians. He
said the Israeli elite is "more Western than is good for them or their
"The implicit message of the Israeli officials' claim that 'regime
change' in Gaza is not an objective of Operation Cast Lead is
problematic," the report said. "If sincere, Tel Aviv is wasting
lives Jewish and Palestinian for very short-term success. If not, the
problem is worse, because it only creates confusion in Israel, among
Palestinians, and elsewhere. As it is now, Israel's claim that the goal
is not Hamas' removal from power in Gaza is either dishonest, a PR
statement, or delusional."
The report said Hamas must be destroyed as the first step toward
stability in the Gaza Strip. Radu said this must be followed by the return
of the Palestinian Authority, which he acknowledged could renew civil war in
the Gaza Strip.
"The destruction of Hamas' military/terror capabilities would make
it unattractive to Gazans, who like winners if they kill Israelis," the
report said. "Anything else would convince most Gazans, who are always
ready to be convinced, that Hamas is the way to go, electorally or
practically. If Israel and those who truly seek calm in the Middle East
in the long-term are serious, they should support the total military
defeat of Hamas, rather than spill tears over the loss of 'civilians.'"
[On Jan. 20, Hamas renewed mortar and missile fire toward Israel. At
least two projectiles landed in Israel's Negev desert. There was no
immediate Israeli military response.]
Hamas said it fired about 980 missiles, mortars and rockets during
the war with Israel. Abu Obeida said Hamas launched 354 Kassam-class,
short-range missiles, 213 BM-21 Grad rockets and 422 mortar shells. He said
Hamas also fired 98 anti-tank missiles toward Israeli military vehicles.
At a Jan. 19 news conference, Abu Obeida said Hamas destroyed or damaged
47 Israeli main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers and
struck four helicopters and an unmanned aerial vehicle. The UAV was said to
have been downed. Israel has not confirmed any of these details.
"We stress to the entire world in accurate and credible words that
whatever military capabilities we lost in this war were extremely
insignificant," Abu Obeida said. "And we have already restored most of what
we lost in the war, even before the war ended."
"Bringing in pure weapons and manufacturing resistance weapons is our
mission," he added. "We know very well how to obtain weapons."
Hamas's military reported 48 casualties in Israel's invasion of the Gaza
Strip. The Israeli military has assessed that at least 500 Hamas and
Palestinian militia fighters were killed in Operation Cast Lead.
Islamic Jihad reported 34 casualties; Fatah, 37; Popular Resistance
Committees, 17, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine 13.
Abu Obeida, whose face was covered, said Hamas struck Israeli strategic
facilities during the war. He would not elaborate.
"The enemy is still silent about the sensitive targets that we shelled
in retaliation for this criminal war, targets that were hit for the first
time in the history of the Zionist entity," Abu Obeida said.
Hamas officials said the regime was stunned by the massive strike by the
Israel Air Force on Dec. 27, which targeted several cities in the Gaza
Strip. But they said Hamas's military recovered within a day and organized
missile strikes and other operations.
"On the first day we were quite shocked, especially because they didn't
battle the fighters," Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Hussein said.
"But by the second day we were working well and maintaining order."