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Rami G Khouri

Hard Questions for Hamas

Instead of crowing about its "victory," Hamas needs to be answering one question: What has its military strategy actually won for Palestinians?
The answers will be tougher.
The answers will be tougher.

A hard-hitting column this week in Haaretz by Amira Hass posed a series of questions to Hamas leaders that cut right to the heart of the strategy and raison d'etre of the Palestinian group. Hass's intimate knowledge of Gaza adds force to her questions, especially when she asks Hamas leaders how they feel about the lack of any quantifiable gains from the last war with Israel, other than a sharp and probably temporary rise in the group's own popularity.

Hass notes that despite the supposed "victory" over Israel, Jewish settlements continue to expand, Palestinian economic gaps are worsening and Gaza remains isolated from the West Bank. Indeed, she reminds Hamas leaders, 43 percent of Palestinians in Gaza want to emigrate. Is that not proof that their military strategy has "proven its failure and futility"?