‘Hamas thinks Bennett is weak,’ threatens escalation over holidays

According to a Hamas official, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is currently weak due to Israeli internal affairs, which Hamas intends to take advantage of during September. 

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Hamas uses a variety of tools to constantly follow and interpret the current state of Israeli politics in order to make tactical decisions and reach long-term strategic objectives.

The latest example of this can be found an article recently published by a senior Hamas official and cited by INN.

In his article, Imad Zakut, director of the news department of Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV channel, estimates that “we may witness a new battle to lift restrictions and the siege on Gaza,” in the upcoming weeks, leading to “the great and comprehensive battle for the liberation of Palestine.”

And while such threats by Hamas officials are nothing new and do not usually amount to much, it is worth examining the context cited by Zakut as the basis for his arguments.

Zakut specifically addresses Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and argues that he does not have the capabilities, within the confines of his government, to stop Hamas when the threat increases.

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In an impressive understanding of Israeli politics, Zakut writes: “[Bennett] only won power for two years and he wants to keep it … he does not rely on a large party with a historical background, since his Yamina party won only six seats in the Knesset and the government composition is very complex and it will fall if only one party resigns.”

According to Zakut, “these factors have led Bennett to appeal to Palestinian resistance organizations through mediators to keep calm and be content with the most recent steps. However, they cannot accept this, and in their repeated statements express a determination to continue the pressure and put in front of Bennett two possibilities: either his government will fall completely or the siege over the Gaza Strip will be lifted.”

Hamas will try to pressure Bennett during the month of September, Zakut argues, as internal issues in Israel “have become stressful for Bennett and he is weak because of them.” These include, according to Zakut, the opening of the Israeli education system, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the approaching Jewish High Holidays.

“Bennett’s weakness may entice him to carry out an assassination operation against [Hamas leader in Gaza] Yahya Sinwar, which will undoubtedly be an uncalculated move by Bennett that will lead to a reversal of the situation against the Zionist leaders,” Zakut concluded.

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Sinwar himself, is reportedly “up in arms” and has told Lebanese media that “the Gaza Strip is ready for another military confrontation and it will happen at the last minute if all efforts fail.”

Daoud Shahab, one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, also said that “the options available to the resistance are many.”

Palestinians continued to riot along the Gaza border with Israel last week, often leading to violent confrontations with IDF troops.

On Thursday night, a 26-year-old Palestinian rioters was killed and dozens were injured after thousands of rioters hurled explosive devices and burned tires toward Israeli soldiers along the border.

The ongoing riots have been organized by Hamas and carried out by what the organization calls “night confusion brigades” that have been rioting along the border every night for the past week in an attempt to lift more restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

“The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are determined to achieve all their demands and not to agree to any more gradual mitigations,” Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanua said last week.

The IDF has also indicated that it is preparing for a looming confrontation is Gaza, possibly in the coming days.

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Baruch Yedid/TPS contributed to this report.