The point of interest for me here (analytically, that is, aside from the general task of keeping up and bearing witness) is this:
Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, and that of Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds Brigades, announced that the rocket fire was a response to “Zionist crimes”.
“In response to the injury of civilians in the most recent strike on Rafah, the Qassam Brigades and the al-Quds Brigades fired a number of rockets at enemy military positions,” a Hamas statement said.
The BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza City says it is unusual for Hamas to acknowledge involvement in attacks against Israel.
In the past it has tried to rein in rocket fire from smaller groups.
But Hamas is under pressure to be seen to be resisting Israel’s occupation from those in Gaza who believe the Islamist movement has compromised too much, our correspondent adds.
Read the rest here.
That pretty much covers it, and it’s a mark of how pathetic coverage of this conflict generally is that I’m surprised to see a general news article differentiate successfully between Hamas and IJ and cover the cliffs notes of Hamas’s position here—and with an economy of words, no less. This is yet another data point showing how Hamas is pretty backed against the wall right now. Time was, they did a pretty tight job of monopolizing weapons, violence, and most everything else in Gaza. Islamic Jihad has always been the biggest thorn in their side since coming to power in 2006, and in the ongoing life cycle of Palestinian resistance organizations—that is, hyperviolent emergence, open resistance, sporadic detente, reluctant coexistence/being ostensibly in charge, gradual decline into craven administrators—I would put my money on IJ being the next lucky player to tread this hallowed path. Hamas is now being forced to behave toward Islamic Jihad just as the PLO did toward Hamas when they were up and coming and Arafat was losing control of his rank and file.
I’m not saying it’s time to yell, “TIMBER,” and stand back to watch Hamas fall just yet. That’s impossible to say for certain. But if Hamas is going to have a more interesting future than that, I think they need to reconcile with Fatah in the West Bank before they get eclipsed in Gaza. The other party doing nothing is what got Hamas where it is today. They can’t afford to make that mistake too much longer, especially in this climate, depending a little on what’s going on internally at IJ and when Gaza has elections again.
in other words, it’s the circle of life, and it moves us all*, even radical organizations bent on declaring all of Palestine an Islamic waqf. (I actually think there was evidence shortly after the 2006 election to suggest Hamas was thinking about softening up their position on that, but, sadly, bygones.)
*Yes, that was a Lion King reference.