A Hamas bomb-making accident caused an explosion which killed seven and wounded 51. Retaliations, though, were swiftly made against Israel in the form of 50 missiles fired into the southern Negev. Later, though, Hamas stopped calling the accident an ‘attack’ and started referring to it as the explosion it was subsequently discovered to be.
David T makes some important comments. What we should take from this is that Hamas government members:
- Make bombs for jihad against Israelis
- Site these works in civilian areas, endangering civilians
- Scapegoat Israel, complete with spurious eyewitnesses
I was interested in whether Hamas often officially admits it was wrong to blame Israel. I couldn’t think of an occasion. If it doesn’t usually, was this admission significant, then? Did it mean that Hamas is an organisation which is beginning to own up to mistakes? Did it reveal a tension between, say, bomb-makers and non bomb-makers? Was this late admission of responsibility, after wrongly blaming Israel, a sign of foment under the surface of Hamas – one faction which holds its citizens lives at nothing and delights in any opportunity to bomb Israel, the other wanting to scale down the war and own up to its mistakes?
“On Thursday, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said that as a result of the IDF denying it’s involvement, the military wing will conduct an investigation into the blast and make its results public immediately.
Hamas’ announcement confirmed Ynet reports saying that Ahmed Randur, commander of the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades in north Gaza was present at the time of the explosion and lightly injured as a result.”
The investigation showed that Hamas members were the culprits. The Ynet article reports that senior Hamas people were at the scene, suggesting their complicity in the bombmaking. Then we got a statement from Hamas’ military wing which referred to “martyrs” who died noble deaths preparing for “holy war”. And that is the significant thing, I think. This is how we know that Hamas is rotten – instead of condemning bombmaking in the thick of civilians, it just says hey-ho, all in the good cause of jihad.
Those give-away words in the admission (or the fragment that is reported) suggests that Hamas is an organisation in such a bubble of self-regard that its Qassam Brigade thinks it is perfectly fine for government members to construct bombs in the homes of civilians and, when this results in fatal accidents, to tell the world that the dead were martyrs.
So you can praise the officials who made the admission that the 7 deaths and 51 injuries in Beit Lahiya were Hamas militants’ fault – an admission which reflects badly on Hamas and gives political capital to Israel and supporters of Israel. You can take it as evidence that Hamas is a slightly more responsible organisation than it is painted to be. Or you can look at the substance of the admission and deduce that Hamas is slightly more pathologically deluded and disregarding of its citizens than it is painted to be, without sufficient awareness to even begin to realise how damning these self-deaths are. I started off at the former position, but that optimism gave way to the latter. It is good that Hamas investigates these things and, having investigated them, publishes the truth. It’s just that you get the distinct impression that Hamas only publishes the truth because Hamas is in so much of a bubble that it doesn’t realise how badly the truth makes Hamas look.
In the end, why expect more of Hamas? Hamas’ constitution talks murderously of Jews, not Israelis. Its curent attacks on Sderot and Ashkelon easily fit into a pattern of, and seem continuous with, attacks on Jews since the early 1900s, before Israel or World War 2. Hamas has been exascerbating the blockade by commandeering fuel and attacking supply delivery trucks. Now it has blown up 7 of its citizens and wounded 51. This brings the Palestinian self-death count for 2008 to approaching 100.