EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Hamas has built up its military wing at the expense of ordinary Gazans, for whom it has completely failed to provide reliable civilian services. Its insistence on focusing exclusively on its military capability keeps tensions high with Israel and renders reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority a near-impossibility.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip remain high following a period during which Gazan terror factions fired large numbers of projectiles at southern Israeli regions, drawing return Israeli airstrikes. Mass arson attacks targeting Israeli farms and villages, orchestrated by Hamas, have not yet stopped, and an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire is shaky at best.
The very issues that caused Hamas to escalate tensions in the first place – Gaza’s isolation and faltering economy, and Hamas’s desire to change both – remain in place, meaning conflict could flare up again very swiftly.
Ultimately, these events appear to be symptoms of a larger failure by Hamas to turn Gaza into a viable, civilian state-like entity, due to its fixation on armed conflict with Israel. It has built up its military wing at the expense of the needs of ordinary Gazans.