Hamas is not finished yet, but it has suffered a strategic loss. A key proof of this is on display in Jerusalem where – thanks to the Israeli army pinning down Hamas in Gaza – the world saw the first peaceful Ramadan on Temple Mount in years, where thousands of Muslim worshippers enjoyed a holy month free of the riots that Hamas-backed extremists sparked almost every year over the past decade.

This is one of the many important assessments that have been lost in a complex war coverage where the news cycle is muddied by intricate political realities in both Israel and America, and by the disturbing scale of the humanitarian suffering in the war. So we offer you here a summary of things to keep in mind as Hamas’ war completes six months on April 7, 2024:  

1.      Hamas did not start the war to defend Palestinian rights or aspirations. Hamas’ war is driven by Iran’s interests and the need to disrupt America’s diplomacy on peace and integration in the Middle East.

2.      The Gaza war prolongs not because Israel wants a drawn-out war but because Hamas needs extended humanitarian suffering as a pressure tactic.

3.      Hamas’s calculation: its survival is more important than the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis.

4.      Hostage talks stall because Hamas wants an Israeli guarantee it will survive. Every tragic human suffering in Gaza due to this stalling brings Hamas closer to its goal and hurts Israel more. The terror group faces little pressure to show compassion to the Gazans or to the hostages.

5.      With the media focused on Israel, Hamas is successful for now in dodging international scrutiny for its strategy of letting Gaza’s residents die in large numbers—a tragedy it ensured by building tunnels under houses and placing launchpads near them.

6.      Officials in several Arab and Muslim states are rooting for Israel in the war against Hamas and Iranian proxies. Many won’t say this publicly because they risk violent extremism in a region with a history, but we can see media and influencers across the region bluntly criticize Hamas’s war. This is unprecedented.

7.      Moderate Arab and Muslim states believe the region’s future – and Palestinian future – is with the stability and prosperity that Israel represents, not with the chaos and wars that Hamas represents. Arabs and Jews are clear about the future in the Middle East. We in America should support them by ensuring that Hamas is dismantled and Gaza is demilitarized.

8.      They hope Israel will eliminate Hamas and not stop before that goal is completed. They support Palestinian aspirations but will not support Hamas or allow its presence in their countries

9.      They suspect that somewhere in the West some people want to save Hamas. They don’t offer any evidence to support this, but they refer to a spate of reporting in sections of Western media claiming defeating Hamas is impossible. Nobody said this about Al-Qaeda or ISIS, they say. 

10. The conclusion to Israel’s war against Hamas will define the Middle East and the interests of the United States and the region’s moderate nations for years to come.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.