During this period three years ago, Israel was engaged in a conflict with Hamas in Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge. Over the course of seven weeks, Hamas fired nearly 5,000 missiles, rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers, and repeatedly attempted to infiltrate Israeli towns through a series of tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip under the border into Israel. Israel responded to these provocations with air strikes and a military ground operation targeting Hamas members, military installations and weapons storage centers. When the conflict ended on August 26, six Israeli civilians and 66 soldiers were killed, as well as more than 2,000 Palestinians, including at least 616 Hamas members (and possibly more).
While tensions between Israel and Hamas have remained relatively low during the past three years, the US-designated terrorist organization still remains publicly committed to Israel’s destruction. According to the Israeli military, Hamas has rearmed itself and attempted to rebuild their network of tunnels, presumably in preparation for a future conflict with Israel. Earlier this year, Hamas issued a new document which purported to moderate the organization’s hateful views on Israel as expressed in their charter. This notion was quickly dispelled by the document’s text which states “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” This confirmed earlier comments and quotes from Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal who said that Hamas remained deeply committed to continuing its armed confrontation with Israel and the organizations “is not changing its skin.”
Mashaal’s comments were further reinforced just a few days ago by Ismail Haniyeh, who, in his first speech since replacing Mashaal as head of Hamas’ political bureau, was quoted as stating that the terror group remained faithful to “the liberation of the land, of Jerusalem of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the prisoners, the realization of the Palestinian right of return and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.” Haniyeh also called for unity between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah party so that “the occupier [Israel] could be eliminated,” and offered praise for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Judging by the organization’s latest actions and statements, it is clear that Hamas has made no effort to moderate its approach towards Israel, and remains committed to the violent destruction of the Jewish State.