The Palestine Chronicle / May 14, 2023
There is no question that by attacking Gaza in the early hours of Tuesday, May 9, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a risk. Wars on Gaza are never predictable; they are easy to start and hard to finish.
But one thing Netanyahu seemed certain about, and that he will be able to center his attention on isolating and defeating the Islamic Jihad in Palestine (IJP) group, without inviting the wrath of Hamas, Palestine’s most powerful Resistance movement.
Waiting for him in Gaza, however, there were two surprises: The IJP was much stronger than he remembered from his brief, but deadly war on Gaza in November 2019; and that the Resistance was united.
Simply, the Resistance managed to find a new formula that allowed the Islamic Jihad to hit back at Israel with ferocity, without letting Netanyahu to impose a much wider and deadlier war on Gaza. The Strip had suffered tens of thousands of casualties – between dead and wounded – and untold destruction since Israel’s first major war on Gaza in 2008.
The Palestinian Resistance operated entirely through a joint command, known as the Joint Operations Room of the Palestinian Resistance. Logistical, tactical, and strategic support was offered to the IJP – along with other forms of support that remain unclear – while IJP fighters took on the task of being the ‘head of the spear’.
This confused Israel, which was wary of the involvement of Hamas and other Resistance movements, yet fully aware that all such groups were active participants in the war.
In a video, a copy of which was sent to the Palestine Chronicle, Abu Hamza, the spokesperson of the Al-Quds Brigades – the armed wing of the IJP – made a brief but loaded message, hours following the ceasefire.
‘The enemy tried to isolate us but the Resistance arrived without delay. A special thank you to our partners in the Joint Operations Room, especially the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades,” he said.
That “especially to Izz al-Din al-Qassam” – the armed wing of Hamas – remark tells of a much bigger story that can be summed up in a few words. The two groups have fought the war together.
Israeli military analysts are now trying to understand the degree of Hamas’ involvement in the war, although the answer seems to be obvious.