Ghosts in the Land

Adam Shatz in the LRB:

On 21 May​ Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire after eleven days of fighting, but the days of ‘quiet’ – as the New York Times tellingly describes the last seven years, in which Israel intensified its domination over the Palestinians with impunity – are over. Dead, too, is Trump’s plan to bypass the Palestinian question through ‘normalisation’ between Israel and Arab autocrats keen to do business with the Jewish state (and to buy its surveillance technology to monitor their own dissidents). If Netanyahu imagined that by attacking Gaza he could inflict defeat on Hamas, and rescue his own precarious political career, he has miscalculated. Hamas fired more than four thousand rockets across the border, hitting deep inside Israel and killing a dozen people, shifting the balance of fear. It also gained politically from the fighting by presenting itself as a defender of the Palestinians facing expulsion from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and, even more important, as a protector of al-Aqsa Mosque, under siege from Israeli security forces.

The territory it governs lies in ruins, but Hamas has reason to celebrate. While 90 per cent of its rockets were repelled by Iron Dome, Israel’s defence system, 100 per cent hit their other target: the Palestinian Authority, which looks even more impotent than usual. Hamas’s performance in the war has not only raised its prestige among Palestinians; it has made them forget for the moment its mismanagement and authoritarian rule inside Gaza. If the PA held an election, Hamas would almost certainly win, which may be the real reason that, in late April, President Mahmoud Abbas indefinitely postponed the legislative election scheduled for 22 May.

More here.