For years, the Israeli governments led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been indirectly supporting the Hamas terror group, while simultaneously weakening the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas. The strategy was aimed at preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state. As a result, Hamas evolved from a mere terror group to an organization that Israel negotiated with indirectly through Egypt and allowed to receive foreign funds.
Hamas was also involved in discussions about increasing the number of work permits for Gazan laborers, which helped maintain economic stability in Gaza. The number of work permits issued to Gazans increased significantly during Netanyahu’s tenure, reaching nearly 20,000 in 2023.
Despite the rocket attacks and incendiary balloons launched from Gaza since 2014, Netanyahu-led governments have largely ignored these actions. Israel has also allowed millions in Qatari cash to enter Gaza since 2018 to maintain a fragile ceasefire with Hamas.
However, this policy of indirectly strengthening Hamas while tolerating sporadic attacks backfired on Saturday, when terrorists crossed the border, killed hundreds of Israelis, and kidnapped an unknown number under the cover of thousands of rockets fired at towns throughout the country. This marked the bloodiest day in Israel’s history.
The terror inflicted on the Israeli civilian population is so severe that the wounds will take years to heal, especially with the added challenge of the dozens abducted into Gaza. Given Netanyahu’s management of Gaza over the past 13 years, it is uncertain whether there will be a clear policy going forward.
Read more at The Times of Israel.