To no one’s great surprise, Hamas declared victory after agreeing to an Israeli cease-fire for a week after getting pummeled throughout Gaza for the past three weeks. The declaration amounts to a poor attempt at face-saving, as its leadership has been decimated and its infrastructure heavily damaged — and since the IDF remains in position in Gaza:
In a speech broadcast on Hamas television on Sunday night, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinians had achieved a historical and strategic victory over Israel, and claimed that Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip had failed.
The Hamas leader repeated the terror organization’s demand for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Strip, and for the opening of the border crossings.
Note to Hamas: When the enemy has its army encamped in your territory and you have to make demands for them to leave when the fighting stops, you didn’t win. They had a cease-fire in place in December, without Israeli soldiers all over Gaza, and Hamas ended it in a hail of missile and rocket fire. A month later, several of their top people are dead, Gaza has been heavily damaged, and they’re isolated politically among other Arab nations, plus the IDF is now holding Gaza in a vise grip, and all Hamas has is another cease-fire. Yeah … some victory.
Their declaration of victory isn’t all that newsworthy. The Iranian agreement to honor the cease-fire signals a big change in Tehran’s position:
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal and congratulated him on the “great victory” the Palestinians had achieved over the IDF, the Iranian IRNA news agency reported on Monday morning.
According to the report, Ahmadinejad said that this was “just the beginning of the victory, which will be completed with patience.”
The Iranian president reportedly said the victory will be complete once Israel withdraws its forces from the Gaza Strip, lifts the siege and opens the border crossings, and when Islamic countries “break off contacts with the Zionist regime and its sponsors.”
Earlier, Iran had threatened to cut off funds to Hamas if they agreed to a cease-fire. That opened a split between Hamas leadership in Gaza and the international leadership in Damascus. The Iranian retreat speaks much louder about Hamas’ performance in this war than Hamas’ self-serving pronouncements. Iran realized, perhaps after Israel easily destroyed the special commando group that Iran trained, that Hamas would at best barely survive this war.
Iran can paint their retreat in hosannas of flowery praise, but even their statement recognizes the defeat Hamas suffered. The victory will be “complete”, Iran says, when Israel retreats from Gaza, ends its border control, and everyone in the world ends contacts with Israel. Well, sure, if that had happened, Israel would have lost. Unfortunately for Iran, none of it has happened, and except for the withdrawal, none of it will as long as Iran’s proxy terrorist group remains in control of Gaza. Tehran knows it lost this gambit, and they’re trying to bolster Hamas’ reputation after a disastrous provocation exposed them as lousy terrorists and even worse soldiers.