In Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are divided over strategies to be pursued against Israel

Usually, they work side by side against Israel. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad are the two largest armed resistance movements against the Jewish state. But during the three-day deadly escalation between Gaza and Israel that began on Friday 5 August and left 47 Palestinians dead, Islamic Jihad was the only one to fire rockets into Israel – more than a thousand. Hamas condemned the Israeli attack but did not take part in the fighting. This is not the first time, as the scenario repeats, almost identically, the events of November 2019. Then Israel killed a prominent leader of Islamic Jihad – Baha Abu al-Atta – as was the case with Taysir al-Jabari, Friday, with the same consequences: the Islamic movement responded by firing rockets The escalation lasted for several days, and then ended. Because Hamas, the largest and best armed, did not get involved, each time the conflict remained limited.

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Hamas holds power. They have interests in Gaza.”Khalil Abu Shamala, a human rights activist, explains this inaction. After the tensions in the spring, the Palestinian enclave enjoyed relative calm. The Islamist movement has been keen to preserve this stability and the Israeli concessions that have accompanied it: the Jewish state in particular has eased a bit from the strict blockade it had imposed on the Strip since 2007. Hamas is also seeking to spare the 2.3 million Gazans, still traumatized by the May/June war. May 2021. The organization itself has not recovered: it has not yet reconfigured its operational capabilities.

So when Islamic Jihad responded to the arrest on 1Verse In August, Hamas, for its part, had every reason to abstain. Finally, Israel took the initiative to bombard Gaza on August 5, it claims “Attack thwarted” against civilians. Islamic Jihad avenged. “We are facing an attack, what is expected of us? Asks Daoud Shehab, the movement’s spokesman, who is received in his office in central Gaza. Hamas was not ready on the military level, we are ready all the time. » Analysis of the situation in Hamas is different. Our main disagreement with Islamic Jihad was over timing. They wanted to hurry to answer, Mutee Abu Musabeh, a Hamas spokesman, notes. The Islamic Jihad movement insisted on the escalation on its own without coordination. »

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