By now everybody has probably read a number of articles which have stated that Hamas was the force behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teens on their way home from their respective Yeshivas. For Hamas, being singled out for the blame, or the credit as they view the situation, was exactly what they desired as it will give them opportunities on three fronts. The first front is, of course, the kidnapping hurts Israel and makes the Israeli government, security organizations and the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) all appear to be incompetent. Furthermore, as the search takes longer and longer and the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn, G0d forbid, into months, the IDF will appear to be less effective while also angering Palestinians whose lives will inevitably suffer and be ripped from their normalcy. The second front is it makes Hamas appear to be stronger and better able to gain the release of the terrorists and security prisoners from Israeli incarceration. It places Hamas front and center before the eyes of the Palestinians giving them hope that there is a force which is fighting to further the Palestinian hopes of establishing their own nation, be that nation beside Israel or preferably, as many of them view it, in place of Israel with the Jews washed from the lands they covet. Lastly, by holding the high ground in the struggles against Israel, Hamas forces Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to choose who to placate with the words and statements desired by Israel, the United States and the Europeans. Abbas is forced into that position as he must do everything within his power to keep the funding of the Palestinian Authority. As Abbas speaks the soothing words meant to keep the funding and the Western government’s pressures on the Israelis to make concessions in exchange for another round of useless talks, Hamas points to Abbas’s words translating them into Arabic and asking the big question to the Palestinian people, who do you want as your leaders, the weak and pathetic Abbas and Fatah who are the weaker horse always pleading and saying things that are pleasant in the ears of Israel and the Western governments or do you really want Hamas which is the strong horse who has taken the children of the reviled Jews and is forcing them to beg for their children and who stand firmly in opposition to those Western nations who actually support Israel and are not the friend of the Palestinian people.
This abduction of the three teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel, was planned not just for the political gains and reaffirmation of the Hamas pedigree as a terrorist organization during the run-up to the Palestinian elections for new leadership of the newly established unity government, but should Hamas continue to be able to hold these three teens on through the elections they will easily win outright control of the legislature and likely replace Abbas with Ismail Haniyeh, the current crowned Prime Minister of Gaza where Hamas took control in a coup which removed the vast majority of Fatah and Palestinian Authority security forces and leadership in the Gaza region. And that acknowledgement brings us to what Hamas is likely to do should Chairman Abbas decide to nullify the unity agreement and again cancel the elections, or at the least the elections for his position. Hamas very probably would try to repeat their revolution similarly to what they did to establish their unquestioned rule over Gaza. The odds are that Hamas would rout the Palestinian Security Forces as it is very likely that many from the security forces would go over to the side of Hamas thus destroying morale, unit cohesion as platoons and companies would require merging in order to make up for the defecting units, and contribute to confusion and disarray in the leadership positions making for an easier Hamas victory. Everything Hamas is doing goes towards weakening Mahmoud Abbas preparing to replace him with Hamas backed leadership and also simply poking Israel in the eye making a situation where they potentially could trade these teens for prisoners. This would give Hamas the added advantage of the loyalty and support from those they were able to free from prison.
Expect that Abbas will move to dissolve the unity pack attempting to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas claiming they broke the understood and agreed upon legal restraints and expectations of Hamas complying with the agreements between the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis. Hamas has given their answer, they refuse to play nice or to accept any of the presumed rules governing the playground and further, they will continue to assault, abduct, destroy and generally terrorize Israel and oppose Israel flaunting their abilities in the face of an IDF manhunt. This will give Hamas, or so they think, the introduction and general acceptance with the majority of Palestinians residing in Judea and Samaria (misnamed West Bank) allowing for the expression of what will appear to be a general acceptance and backing for Hamas to take the power away from Abbas and provide the brave leadership that they contrasted against the weak and pathetic pandering committed by Mahmoud Abbas during this Hamas induced crisis. It may even turn out that Hamas is satisfied with running their own little enclave in Gaza and does not desire to take on the additional burden of dealing with the West Bank and the Palestinians Authority. So, we can definitely expect the unity government of the Palestinians to collapse leaving only one question, who will end up in charge in the West Bank? My money would be on Hamas should any sectarian violence begin between Fatah and Hamas.
In the end, there is only one thing a civilized person could desire from this Palestinian intra-governmental dispute over who will provide the leadership going forward; that is the release of the three innocent school-age boys from their horrific ordeal as rapidly as believed. We wish them G0d’s protection and G0d’s speed in returning to their families and their studies. We pray for their welfare and safe return of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel into the loving embraces of their mothers and happy hugs given by their fathers. May the families spend this Sabbath together with renewed faith and celebratory hearts.