When trying to determine which side proved victorious in the recent Hamas initiated conflict with Israel one needs to include all the disparate and varied venues in which the contest was fought. One need measure the delivery of damage to military forces and equipment, destruction of infrastructure, protection of civilians, media coverage and commentary around the world and public opinion around the globe. No matter the actual wins and losses amongst these criteria, the single most important item is winning the peace, attaining your goals in the resulting accords, treaties and most important the realities on the ground once the combat has ended. In the last two conflicts between Hamas and Israel the winner of the peace was undetermined as Israel did receive a period of peace and quiet without rockets raining down on her towns and cities while Hamas was able to smuggle in more rockets to replace those lost through attrition, usage and Israeli destruction of rocket stores. In the past Hamas had a definitive advantage over Israel in the propaganda war as Hamas leveled numerous charges of war crimes such as Israeli strikes having struck schools, hospitals and other civilian structures which would normally be outside of acceptable targets and the IDF took too long in determining whether the accusations were valid or false. Even once the IDF had the truth and answered these specious charges their responses were delayed beyond anybody’s memory of which accusation they applied to and the damage of the accusations had already been accomplished. The current conflict the Israeli media management was vastly improved but still ran up against the highly polished media manipulation and propaganda from Hamas. The main problem Israel runs up against is Israel had a free press which applies to the Israeli media as well as the international media even including those sources antagonistic to the Israeli government and that openly supports Hamas while there is no freedom of the press in Gaza and all stories are monitored and any diversion from the Hamas directed story line can get a reporter expelled and his credentials invalidated, a threat which is usually sufficient to force a compliant media which carries the Hamas line of propaganda and spreads it as if it were truthful reporting.
Some media is complicit with the aims of media and is willing to stand against Israel for purely political reasons which can be witnessed in many of the antagonistic and accusatorial interviews where Israeli politicians and spokespeople are met with assaults, challenges and charges of spreading lies and propaganda. I witnessed one such broadcast while watching a tape of an evening news broadcast where Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had been requested to be interviewed and the newscaster went through a familiar denigrating accusations demanding the reason for so few Israeli fatalities, especially of civilians, and accusing the Prime Minister of allowing war crimes because more Palestinians had died than Israeli civilians. This line of denunciatory questioning continued the entirety of the interview with the news anchor interrupting Prime Minister Netanyahu in mid-sentence as he attempted to explain, simply to accuse Israel and his managing of the war as being disproportional and Israel guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. After dismissing everything the Israeli Prime Minister stated and immediately after he cut short the interview rather curtly, the newscaster followed-up before cutting to commercial break by reading what he deemed a press release by Hamas word for word without any commentary seeming to present their report as factual after all but directly calling the Israeli Prime Minister a liar. The biggest two areas where Israel lost this conflict were in the left-leaning world news casts, media and amongst academia where Hamas propaganda was presented as factual and Israel was considered guilty of any charge any source cared to bring and whenever Israeli representatives were permitted to give the Israeli side they were met with animosity and inflamed indignance with the only phrase being disproportional and the singular most line of queries demanding an explanation as to why there were not more Israeli civilian casualties. Their answers were almost universally cut short simply to demand an explanation as to why there were not more Israeli deaths. It got to the point that one starts to hear them asking where are the dead Jews; we want more dead Jews in place of their effrontery, in place of journalistic integrity.
Looking purely at the cold and hard facts, the civilian victims inside Gaza are the saddest of the end results of this entire conflict. We have already covered the reasons behind much of the loss of life in Gaza and the far fewer casualties being suffered in Israel. It comes down to the fact that Israel has spent the past twenty years and billions of Shekels developing the Iron Dome and building shelters where needed and changing building codes to require every new apartment and home to come equipped with a reinforced rocket-proof safe room. That is where Israel used their concrete while in Gaza Hamas used millions of dollars, if not billions, and tons upon tons of concrete to build a complex of tunnels making up an entire underground system which could have provided a safe haven for the Palestinian people had they been permitted to hide below ground where the Hamas fighters hid to escape the air attacks. Hamas also invested heavily in rockets and even invested in larger warheads and longer range rockets which they hid underground, in UNRWA schools, in Mosques and in civilian homes. When the sorties flown by Israel is compared to the numbers of rockets Hamas fired since the beginning of the escalation of rocket fire executed by Hamas after the abduction of three Israeli teens who they murdered, the numbers are basically comparable with Israel dropping slightly more explosives compared to the Hamas rain of rockets. The main difference in civilian casualties was the efficiency of the Iron Dome Systems and the Israeli society’s ability to utilize shelters and safe rooms which were built by the Israeli government or subsidized by the Israeli government. As far as Hamas firing rockets from amongst their civilian population and even near places where the Gazans were kept in refugee shelters and the institution by Israel of dropping leaflets and making phone calls warning Gazans of approaching or imminent airstrikes or IDF infantry actions in the near future and one can see the difference of the attitudes between the Israelis and Hamas. The one true statement describing this situation was that Israel showed more concern and care for the civilians in Gaza than did Hamas.
Still, after all has been said and done and all the countering voices have faded into the past, the one victory which will remain and the only one that truly matters is who wins the peace. This will be an easily measured contest. Israel has demanded that the Gazan terrorist groups be disarmed and demilitarization of Gaza while Hamas demands open borders, and operating port facility and an international airport so as to maximize their ability to import additional weapons and also more advanced missiles to replace unguided rockets as well as advanced weapons systems such as armor, military aircraft, newer rifles, explosives, and an endless supply of concrete and tunneling machines in order to rebuild and improve their infiltration tunnels to facilitate larger and more murderous terror assaults on Israeli communities throughout Israel. What the world forces who will attempt to mediate these treaty discussions will most likely offer is a solution which they will claim opens up all of Gaza to the rest of the world and also will receive guarantees from Hamas that they will demilitarize all of Gaza including themselves and the other terrorist structures and groups.
Then there will come the most difficult portion of the negotiations, ascertaining who will have the responsibility and power to monitor that both sides are respecting their word. Determining if Israel had complied will be a relatively easy task while assuring whether Hamas has lived up to their promises will be a somewhat more difficult endeavor. Israel has already had some seriously flawed experiences with European monitors who had been assigned to monitor the Rafah crossings between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. Within a few weeks at their post the European monitors decided that monitoring the Gaza Egypt border might be too dangerous and they packed up and returned to Europe leaving the border unregulated. The only real and effective way of determining whether or not Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terror groups in Gaza have honestly disarmed is to wait a few years and once they begin raining missiles which have accurate guidance systems and larger payloads being capable of delivering them anywhere in Israel, then we will know the answer was they were not complying with the agreement and simply made a promise they never intended to keep. It is called Taqiyya which permits Muslims to lie to non-Muslims if it in any way aids the Muslims in their goals and helps to spread Islam to the rest of the globe. Then once again the news reports will complain of any disproportional force used by Israel as the Iron Dome might prove to be just as exemplary in its performances against missiles as it had been against the rockets. Still the Israelis will be best served by practicing running hastily into the shelters because, if Hamas is permitted open passage and an open port, it will not be long before the missiles and remaining rockets begin to fly. Needless to say, but at that point there will be no further use of the monitors as the actions of Hamas and supporting terrorists groups will have already proven their incapacity to prevent the rearming of Hamas transforming them from a terrorist groups into a terror army similar in size and capability of ISIS. With an open sea port and international airport, perhaps we might witness the forming of an alliance merging Hamas with ISIS making for a force to be reckoned with and posing a serious danger to Europe and beyond. Such a merger would conceivably lead to ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood working to reestablish the Caliphate in earnest and not simply the mostly ignored declaration by ISIS. Establishing a group with Muslim Brotherhood’s political tentacles with the brute force of ISIS combined with Hamas, which would produce an entity with the capabilities of declaring themselves a Muslim state which could only be ignored at one’s own peril.