Andre Gerolymatos: Hamas, Israel and the War for Hearts

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Andre Gerolymatos is professor of history and holds the Hellenic Studies Chair at Simon Fraser University.]

The recent crisis involving Israel and Hamas at first glance appears to be part of the endless cycle of violence that has doomed the region to perpetual conflict. It's certainly not conventional warfare, although the Middle East has had its share, but a type of war that is fought mostly in the shadows with only its outcome making it to the light of day.

Ordinarily six ships trying to break the Israeli embargo of Gaza would not cause much of a stir in the capitals of the world. But when Israeli commandos descend from helicopters onto small ships carrying milk and bread, medicine, etc., and kill nine of the volunteers, the story dominates all news cycles.

Shock and consternation are the results of this tragic event as both friends and enemies of Israel try to understand why such a terrible event took place.

Yet, the Israeli political-military establishment, not to mention the formidable intelligence community, is surely a lot more careful than to sanction such a thoughtless attack, particularly against a ship belonging to Turkey, Israel's only Muslim ally....

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