Three features distinguish the current Hamas offensive against Israel from previous offensives.
1. Hamas forces are better trained and are more disciplined than before.
2. Hamas forces are better supplied. They have short-range and longer range rockets provided by Iran.
3. They now have underground tunnels in which they can hide while they fire their rockets into Israel.
Hamas knows that it cannot stand up to the Israeli war machine. Egypt is not in a position to offer military help to the Palestinians, and Syria is locked in a life-and-death struggle with ISIS, the extremist Moslem mass movement which has already conquered much of Iraq and established an enclave in Syria.
So why has Hamas started a war with Israel, and why does Hamas continue to reject western calls for a cease-fire?
The role of Hamas seems to be to keep the Western powers focused on events in Gaza while the real threat in the Middle East, which is ISIS, continues in its quest for power.
There can be no doubt that ISIS wants to capture Damascus. But equally important, ISIS wants to capture the biological stockpile of weapons which President Assad of Syria has hidden away somewhere.
If ISIS can get its hands on these biological weapons, it will be able to wield awesome power. That is what ISIS is all about – power to impose its will on the countries of the Middle East. ISIS not only wants Demascus! It wants Bagdad, and Tripoli and Amman as well.
ISIS, the extremist mass movement of Sunni Moslems, whose aim is to re-configure the face of the Middle East, is a cauldron of religious fanaticism, with malevolence towards Jews and Christians alike. It is the one force in the Middle East with the potential to overrun Syria and annihilate the Jewish State of Israel.
But first ISIS needs time to consolidate its gains, and this is where Hamas comes in. Hamas is willing to take a pounding by Israeli forces today in return for ISIS support in smashing Israel tomorrow.
The rising fortunes of ISIS in the newly established Islamic State of Iraq, infusing the hearts of millions of frustrated young Sunnis with big dreams for a Moslem super-state, is bad news for more moderate governments in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. Jihadists in Gaza have embraced the dream, and that’s why this fight against Israel is continuing.
The stakes across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are enormously high. One would have to go back to the days of the Cold War to find an ideological threat so fraught with danger.
We see the conflict in Gaza as a time-fuse capable of escalating into a world conflict.