If any doubt remained about who won and who lost in the latest round, it was quickly dispelled. Israel launched the attack to restore Gaza’s fear of it. But after the ceasefire and its terms were announced, Palestinians flooded the streets of Gaza in a celebratory mood as if at a wedding party. In a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, Hamas’s Mishal cut the figure and exuded the confidence of a world leader. Meanwhile, at the Israeli press conference announcing the ceasefire, the ruling triumvirate—Netanyahu, Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman—resembled grade-schoolers called down to the Principal’s Office, counting the seconds until the humiliation was over.
Now, here’s what Yuval Diskin, former head of Israel’s Shin Bet, has to say in a recent interview:
“If I look at where Hamas was before we assassinated Ahmed Jaabari and launched Operation Pillar of Defense and where it is today, then in political terms it is in a much better place.
“Hamas is in a state of euphoria, because the Palestinian public has a feeling that it managed to turn this into a victory for itself once again. Hamas fired at Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion and Jerusalem, and came out of it at a relatively low cost. From the standpoint of the average Palestinian citizen on the street this is a huge achievement. No one dared to do such things in the past.
“From Hamas’s standpoint, Israel negotiated with it; its leader Khaled Mashal, who was unable to enter the Gaza Strip before, entered it; the legitimacy that Hamas receives internationally has increased; and despite all the attacks by the State of Israel, it looks as if it were afraid to enter the Gaza Strip.
“Israel upgraded Hamas’s status. It weakened Abu Mazen even further, because now Hamas has gained strength in Judea and Samaria as well. We saw the demonstrations staged by Hamas in Judea and Samaria, why is that? Because Abu Mazen understands that the energy of the public and of Hamas is strong, and he cannot come out against them at the moment, he has no choice but to sit quietly. When he sits quietly Fatah weakens and Hamas gains strength.”