Analysis: Hamas Fires ‘Political’ Rockets At Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (VINnews) — The symbolism of the timing in the current Hamas rocket attack is inescapable. Jerusalem Day which fell on Monday commemorates Israel’s victory in the Six Day War and this year it was preceded on Friday, the last Friday of Ramadan, by Al-Quds Day which is the Arab version of Jerusalem Day. For Arabs this is a day of demonstrations against Zionism, the government of Israel and its occupation of Jerusalem as well as expressions of  solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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Thus it should come as no surprise that the worst day of riots in Sheikh Jarrah (Nahalat Shimon), where Arabs are being evicted based on pre-1948 Jewish property rights, as well as on Temple Mount, was last Friday, Al-Quds day. Similarly the rocket salvos fired towards Jerusalem are meant to signify to celebrating Jews that Hamas, holed up in Gaza, has not forgotten the holy city (Al-Quds) or its brethren in Judea and Samaria.

The irony of these rockets is that they are not really military rockets directed at Israel but rather internal political rockets directed mainly at the Palestinian leadership. As will be recalled, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas cancelled the elections in Judea and Samaria recently. Although Abbas blamed Israel for the cancellation, claiming it did not allow East Jerusalem Arabs to participate, the real reason for the move was that Abbas knew that Fatah stood to lose control of the Palestinian parliament. Fatah had split into three opposing factions rendering it weaker and more splintered whereas Hamas remained unified.

One way for Hamas to express its exasperation at the cancelled election as well as scoring points with the Palestinian public is to fire rockets at Israel. The celebrations which took place at Damascus Gate when a rocket came close enough to Jerusalem on Monday to be intercepted by a missile defense system demonstrated that the Gazan terrorist group is popular even in East Jerusalem and may even wrest control of Judea and Samaria from Fatah before the demise of 86-year-old Abbas or as soon as he is incapable of ruling.

Arabs celebrate the rockets on Temple Mount, crying: “Dear rockets, hit Tel Aviv”

At the same time, Hamas’s rockets achieved yet another political goal in embarrassing Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Raam party who was conducting negotiations with Bennetts’ Yamina party for a possible entry into a center-left government. Abbas is ideologically opposed to using violence to attain political goals, although he identifies with Hamas’s Islamic view and his organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, also spawned Hamas. Abbas has been accused of betraying Israel if it attacks Hamas and indeed he immediately broke off negotiations after the Israeli response to the attacks “until things calm down.” Hamas will be hoping not to let things calm down as they can utilize this not only to terrorize Israel but also to gain political points even among Israeli Arabs who are split between identifying with Israel as their home and the Palestinians as their nation.

However if Hamas pull the rope too hard they could be in for a rude shock themselves, as Israel will not sit quietly even during an interim government and watch its citizens running to shelters from Gazan rockets, even those which can be deemed political ones.

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