Israel's Hamas Dilemma: Stop the Kassams but strengthen Hamas?

Hamas' offer poses a dilemma for Israel concerning Gaza; The government can apparently end the rocket fire, but only at the price of allowing Hamas to strengthen.

Based on a report in the Arabic daily Al- Quds Al- Arabi, Ha'aretz states that Hamas is seeking a truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, senior Hamas officials have recently been trying to persuade its military wing to stop firing Kassam rockets so as to prevent a large - scale Israeli military operation in the Strip.

Hamas' offer poses a dilemma for Israel concerning Gaza; The government can apparently end the rocket fire, but only at the price of allowing Hamas to strengthen. By being able to smuggle weapons into the Strip without interference, Hamas could reorganize and strengthen itself towards the next confrontation.

Moreover, the Reut Institute has described other dilemmas that Hamas poses to the Government of Israel concerning Gaza.

What price to reduce weapons smuggling? Theoretically, Israel could prevent or reduce weapons smuggling by taking over the Philadelphi Corridor along the border between Gaza and Egypt. However, this would undermine Israel's claim to have Ended its Responsibility over the Gaza Strip following Disengagement (8/05). (See: Military Logic May Undermine National Security.)

What is the objective of fighting Hamas? The only alternative to Hamas rule in Gaza are more extreme organizations such as Islamic Jihad. Therefore, Israel is not necessarily trying to topple Hamas and is finding it difficult to formulate aims in its struggle against it.

Sources

Avi Issacharoff, Ha'aretz, 8/12/2007.