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Opinion

Hamas is no winner in the Gaza ceasefire with Israel (+video)

Hamas has claimed total victory in the ceasefire with Israel. Sure, Hamas evaded a punishing Israeli ground assault in Gaza and gained some diplomatic support and recognition. But in the long run, Hamas is sowing the seeds for its own destruction.

By Jonathan Adelman / November 27, 2012

Palestinian school children walk Nov. 26 in the rubble left after an Israeli strike destroyed the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza City. Op-ed contributor Jonathan Adelman writes: Hamas cannot become 'a viable and recognized state unless it moves away from the alluring, but ultimately empty, confrontations with Israel. These confrontations only leave it more impoverished and keep it from taking the road to peace and global integration.'

Adel Hana/AP

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The Hamas leadership has claimed total victory in the truce that started the day before Thanksgiving after eight days of brutal warfare with Israel. And on the surface, this seems to make sense.

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COMMENTARY: Stephen Walt analyzes the many complex and vitally important issues underlying US-Middle East policy as part of the American Conversation Essentials series.

Hamas evaded a punishing Israeli ground assault; gained diplomatic support from a new Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar; maintained its ties to Iran; developed an indirect relationship with the United States; triumphed in the Palestinian world over the ineffective leader of the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, and proclaimed a sense of legitimacy from standing up to Israel.

And yet, in the longer run, this “victory” will likely turn bitter and holds the seeds for its own destruction.

While Hamas, touting its martyrdom and survival in the war, claims victory, nearly all such terrorist victories are ultimately oxymorons. Militarily, Hamas, despite launching more than 1,500 rockets at Israel and occasionally reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was almost totally routed on the battlefield. Its rocketry killed six Israelis and wounded about 240 others and failed to destroy any Israeli military or civilian facility.

Instead, Israel, with the newly developed Iron Dome missile defense system, destroyed 84 percent of the incoming Hamas rockets likely to cause damage. The Israeli Air Force, Navy, and Artillery Corps hit more than 1,500 targets with overwhelmingly pinpoint precision, 10 times more than they took out in Operation Cast Lead four years ago.

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