Palestinian affairs analysts say that Hamas has refrained from joining PIJ in its current conflict with Israel due to its fear of a full-out IDF operation which could result in it losing control over the Strip. But there may be another reason – thanks to the power of Israeli intelligence – that Hamas is practicing restraint.
Despite boasting in the past about its arsenal of “secret weapons” it can dispense against Israel, Hamas has not taken advantage of the current conflict to use them. Could it be that besides trying to avoid an all-out escalation, Hamas has lost the capability of utilizing these “secret weapons”?
Israeli intelligence has been remarkably successful in recent years at quietly eliminating the brains behind Hamas’s weapon development, according to a Jerusalem Post report on Wednesday. The elimination of the “brains behind the brawn” include the assassinations of Muhammad al-Zawari in December 2016 in Tunis and Fadi Muhammad al-Batsh in April 2018 in Malaysia. Those were the most talked-about assassinations but there have been other ones – some reported and some unreported.
Of course, the Mossad didn’t take responsibility for these assassinations which were perpetrated far from Israel’s territory but confirmation isn’t necessary. According to the Jerusalem Post report, Mossad head Yossi Cohen often mentions the strategy he announced on entering his position of a new battle against Hamas’s arms experts – wherever in the world they may be.
The Mossad’s new strategy focuses on the long-term goal of reducing Hamas’s capability of upgrading their weaponry and designing more sophisticated armaments over the short-term goal of eliminating top terror commanders who are usually quickly replaced. Weapons experts and/or scientists are eliminated together with the knowledge they possess, are not easily or quickly replaced and can significantly delay or even end significant advancement in weapon capabilities.
In Israel, experts often complain about the “brain drain” phenomenon of educated Israelis moving abroad, where their earning capability is much greater. Educated Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and beyond have a different type of “brain drain” going on – an involuntary and permanent one. A more apt term for the Palestinian “brain drain” may be “brain dead.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)