Hamas is attempting to present itself as the guardian of violent opposition to Israel in order to assume a position of importance in the Palestinian world. Undoubtedly, influenced by Israeli military problems in the invasion of Lebanon, Hamas officials are presenting themselves as not afraid of any Israel armed invasion of Gaza. Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official, noted: “For three years we’ve been hearing comments about an Israeli invasion into the Gaza Strip. Israel is like a teenager who begins to smoke, chokes, then stops.” Hamas insists Israel failed to carry out the truce agreement that Gaza crossings would be open for commerce and goods. Hamas has issued a dare to israel to try and invade.
Hamas is misunderstanding the reluctance of Israel officials to respond with an armed invasion. Prime Minister Olmert sincerely seeks to make an agreement with Palestine leaders, but Olmert will soon be gone and there are other voices in Israel who are ready to take up the dare. If Gaza is invaded, thousands of innocent people will suffer.