It is very convenient to imagine that Hamas does Syria’s bidding to divert the West’s attention from Syrian wrongdoings. Or Iran’s. Or the Arab League’s. It doesn’t. Afghan mujahedeen had interests similar to American interests, and took the American money and weapons. Afghan insurgents critically depended on America, but followed nearly none of its orders. If not for America, the Afghans would have fought communists with old rifles and long-term terrorism. Suicidal young Arabs, locked in Gaza with no life prospects, objectively need an outlet like Hamas. Palestinian insurgents benefit from Syrian money and hideouts, Iranian money and training, the Egyptian blind eye to weapons’ shipments from the Muslim Brotherhood, and Saudi money. But there are also Palestinian splinter groups that enjoy very little institutional support. They rely on small donations, racketeering, and occasional kidnappings to purchase cheap explosives and send suicide bombers; the Saudis will pay their families later. Hamas needs money and support for training and weapons suitable against Fatah. The anti-Israeli part of Hamas’ job is inexpensive: Hamas makes rockets in common metal workshops with basic explosives routinely made from fertilizer.

Hamas is not a hit man for evil powers, but a genuine national liberation movement which enjoys wide support among the politically active strata of Palestinians. Israeli peace-seekers ignore the grassroots Palestinian desire to claim back the ancient Arab land in its entirety.

Hamas
is impossible to extinguish, but easy to suppress. There is no need for politically questionable actions against Hamas’ civilian supporters. Hamas politicians are the perfect targets for Israeli retaliation. Israel currently avoids harming the high-status enemies, though in every war the enemy’s politicians are prime targets. Instead of hitting empty areas called “Hamas training camps” and Hamas shacks, the Israeli Air Force could keep destroying the villas of Hamas officials, preferably with their families, in retaliation for suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israel. The Palestinian population has little regard for their corrupt politicians and warlords, and would also tacitly welcome the Israeli tactics. Foreign governments cannot condemn attacks against leaders of terrorist group. The Hamas leadership isn’t concerned with Israel destroying shacks or killing rank-and-file members. Personal retaliation against the Hamas leaders and their property would quickly change Hamas’ attitude toward Israel. Many splinter groups such as the PIJ and Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades won’t care about the damage to Hamas’ officials. Israel can target those groups by bombing major houses of their leaders’ extended families. The Israeli-Palestinian war is now personal only to the common Jews of Sderot and common Arabs of Gaza. Make it personal for the rulers.