Analysis: Hamas Adopts New Policy of ‘Controlled Escalation’

By TPS • 26 March 2019
Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Israel and the Hamas terror organization have seemingly concluded another round of violence, while authorities in Israel remain on high alert ahead of another possible flare-up.

Arab sources have told TPS that Hamas has adopted a new policy of a “deliberate and controlled escalation” vis-à-vis Israel as a means of gaining further leverage in discussions with Israel.

Hamas’ new tactic employs a maximum amount of pressure in a very limited time span, which includes the launching of long-range rockets at Israel’s cities. Hamas hopes to receive various guarantees and aid from Israel in return for the cessation of their rocket attacks

Hamas has adopted this new short-term tactic for several reasons.

The April elections in Israel will bring a change in policy, and therefore Hamas is working to achieve bargaining points before the change in government.

Egypt is fed up with Hamas’ conduct and has sanctioned the terror group in various ways while opting to cease serving as an intermediary between Israel and Hamas, prompting the terror group to seek achievements before it is too late.

Similarly, several recent incidents involving Hamas prisoners in Israel, the violence on the Temple Mount and the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) arrest of Hamas members are motivating it to push its actions to the extreme.

The source told TPS that Hamas’ moves are coordinated with its leadership inside Israeli prisons, which still attains significant political sway.

Likewise, Hamas is seeking to avert the pressure in the street inside the Strip towards Israel. Hamas perceives the marches against it as a real threat and will do anything to suppress them.

Hamas assumes that Israel will not launch a broad campaign against it two weeks prior to the elections. Similarly, Hamas’ leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar in gambling on the fact that Israel will continue to incur Hamas’ attacks as long as it serves Israel’s objective of obstructing PA head Mahmoud Abbas abilities ahead of a possible diplomatic process.

In conclusion, Hamas is currently setting the rules to the game and has chosen to broaden its radius of strikes within Israel, while Israel’s deterrence is eroding. The terror group has essentially created a new way to generate tensions that Israel is “willing to accept,” and that now threatens a much larger segment of Israel’s population.