Different Policy towards Hizbullah and Hamas

While the IDF raids Hizbullah targets around Lebanon, it continues to fight Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. Re'ut Institute poses the question whether both fronts are led by the same considerations.

The logic behind the Israeli raid of Hizbullah targets in Lebanon is that Hizbullah is primarily responsible for the military escalation, the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers and the massive shelling of northern Israel.

Yet, while Hizbullah is the military target, Israel's political address is the Lebanese government. Although some of the government members are Hizbullah representatives, thus far Israel has not targeted the Lebanese national regime.

Israel's actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian in current crisis relies on a similar logic, holding Hamas responsible for the military escalation, the shooting of Qassam rockets and the kidnapping of corporal Gilad Shalit.

However, Israel's military operation has included the bombardment of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Palestinian Economy Ministry and the Prime Minister's Bureau alongside the arrest of government members – all targets identified with the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Hence, Israel's policy concerning the Hizbullah is significantly differently from the one concerning Hamas. While in Lebanon Israel avoids an attack on the potential political address and focuses on Hizbullah, the operation against Hamas includes direct assault of PA governmental institutions.

The Reut Institute wishes to raise the following questions:

  1. What is the organizing idea behind the differentiation between Hamas and Hizbullah?
  2. Does damage to the Palestinian political address serve Israel's strategic interests; or, alternately, does the 'protection' of the Lebanese government serve the battle against Hizbullah?