On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, frequent WEEKLY STANDARD contributor Elliott Abrams debated Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal over the issue of how the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has been covered by the media. Watch the clip below:
Be sure to read Abrams's recent story for TWS on the "long war against Hamas." Here's an excerpt:
Hamas has stated its own war aims (perhaps a strategic error, but unavoidable when starting a war), and they are far more extensive than Israel’s. Hamas rejected Egypt’s early proposal for a “mere” cease-fire because it did not include the gains Hamas seeks in exchange for all the suffering it has caused the people of Gaza. Hamas has a long list, including freeing all the Hamas terrorists released from prison in exchange for Gilad Shalit but arrested again recently; opening the border crossings to Egypt and Israel; allowing a seaport and airport; expanding the offshore fishing zone; and easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
At bottom what Hamas wants is an end to the squeeze that was making it increasingly unpopular in Gaza and even threatening its rule there. While Israel has not over the last few years changed its conduct toward Gaza and Hamas, Egypt has. Cairo’s military rulers see the Muslim Brotherhood at home and Hamas (a part of the Brotherhood) in Gaza as its enemies, and they have closed off the Gaza-Sinai border and shut the smuggling tunnels that provided Hamas with much of its revenue and Gazans with much of their economy. Hamas could not meet its own huge payroll in Gaza—43,000 people—nor could it give any hope that economic conditions would improve. Meanwhile, Hamas’s oppressive rule alienated more and more Gazans. That’s why Hamas took the risk in June of agreeing to join a technocratic or nonparty government under the Palestinian Authority, had the “ministers” in its government in Gaza resign their posts, and appeared ready for some role in Gaza for the PA (something it had prevented since its coup in Gaza in 2007). That ploy failed when the PA refused to take on the huge burden of all those additional salaries, and there was no change in the economic situation in Gaza. Hamas then turned to war as a way to shake things up.