A Negative Example or a Boost for Hamas?

The WSJ never fails to be a treasure trove of tidbits that fascinate and entertain me. Sometimes I forget to bring it home–and then dutifully drive back to the office to fish it out of recycling. It’s just that good.

I learned today about how an Israeli colonel believes that their attack on Hamas strongholds has strengthened, not weakened, the terrorist’s control in Gaza. It’s a repeat of 2006, he says, when relentless bombing of Lebanon resulted in Hezbollah emerging stronger, by paying for rebuilding. How else do you make friends with destitute people–pay to rebuild their homes and point to Israel as the cause of the destruction.

Hamas has already begun handing out $2000 down payments to civilians caught in the battle. The Colonel, Shmuel Zakai, says that “winning the hearts and minds is as important as victories on the battlefield.” He said that Israel should be the first ones on the ground helping to rebuild Gaza and making sure Hamas isn’t.

Yet another columnist, Bret Stephens, maintains that by losing so few soldiers and stomping so hard on Hamas buildings, bomb factories and tunnels, Israel has regained its reputation as a ferocious fighting force not to be taken lightly. Israeli military planners, say Stephens, think that the Hamas state, in its now bombed out condition, will be a negative example to the West Bank’s Palestinians, like East Germany once was for the more prosperous West Germany.