The parade of flags in Jerusalem passed in relative silence without any attempt by the Iranian-led resistance axis to launch rockets at Israel to disrupt the parade as happened in May 2021.
Hamas movement was content with paying “lip service”, it launched an extensive campaign of incitement in the media and social networks and in parades of Palestinian flags along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh boasted on May 18th that the high alert that Israel announced on “Jerusalem Day” indicates that the security situation in Israel is fragile and unstable and that the Palestinian resistance will continue until the liberation of Jerusalem and the Palestinian lands and the realization of the right of return.
However, Ismail Haniyeh also understands that the results of the “Shield and Arrow” operation against the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip testify well to Israel’s operational and intelligence superiority over Iran and its affiliates and that Israel is determined to restore its deterrence also through proactive and offensive military operations.
The fact that the Hamas movement avoided escalating against Israel on “Jerusalem Day” is a continuation of its policy to keep the Gaza Strip out of the circle of fighting against Israel, following the severe blows it received during Operation “Guardian of the Walls” in May 2021, and to try to set fire to the territories of Judea and Samaria and create an armed intifada there against Israel.
This is a strategic and pragmatic decision by the leadership of the Hamas movement following all rounds of fighting against Israel since the movement took control of the Gaza Strip by force in 2007.
The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are tired of wars against Israel, they want the restoration of the Gaza Strip and its economic situation, to receive humanitarian concessions and to work within Israel, the Hamas movement, unlike the Islamic Jihad, is the sovereign force in the Strip responsible for the daily life of more than two million Palestinians, it is well aware to these moods in the Palestinian street and does not ignore them.
Those who lead this line are Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Muhammad Def, the Chief of Staff of the military wing.
The intention of the two is also to take advantage of the temporary calm with Israel to restore the tunnel systems and rocket production that were severely damaged in the war in May 2021.
The leaders of Hamas had good reasons why not to fight alongside the Islamic Jihad against Israel, they feared that Israel would renew the policy of targeted assassinations and use it against them. They also feared that the IDF would severely damage the movement’s military infrastructure, which it had not yet managed to restore.
The Hamas movement also feared losing “civilian assets”, which the Gaza Strip received after the war in May 2021, such as the entry of approximately 18,000 laborers to work in Israel, these laborers support several hundred thousand residents of the Gaza Strip.
The closure of the border crossings with Israel for the import and export of goods for an extended period of time following the fighting would have harmed the operation of the electricity generation facilities in the Gaza Strip and delayed the construction of the water desalination plant in Deir al-Balah, the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing would have caused the Gaza Strip a loss of NIS 5 million per day.
Hamas has put its interests as a top priority despite severe criticism from the Islamic Jihad and its supporters that it betrayed it and that for the third time in a row it avoided fighting alongside it during the last round of fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The refusal of Hamas to participate in the fighting against Israel in the “Shield and Arrow” operation does not necessarily indicate that it will refrain from doing so in the future as well, this depends on the circumstances, the death of Hader Adnan in the Israeli prison was an act of suicide on his own accord, without any religious connection related to Jerusalem or the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Hamas saw no point in fighting against Israel because of this, the political echelon in Israel acted correctly when they made sure to clarify that the fighting in the Gaza Strip is directed against the Islamic Jihad only and not against Hamas.
Therefore, the IDF devoted a great deal of effort and made sure that the targets it attacked in the Gaza Strip did not include targets of the Hamas movement so as not to drag it involuntarily into fighting.
Israel was complacent, it ignored the logistical aid that Hamas provided to the Islamic Jihad during the fighting and did not demand that Hamas prevent the Islamic Jihad from launching rockets at Israel by virtue of being the sovereign in the Gaza Strip, its highest interest was to prevent Hamas from joining the fighting and it succeeded in achieving its goal.
The IDF hopes that Hamas has received the message of the assassination of the entire military elite of the Islamic Jihad and understands the consequences of this if it decides to attack Israel in the future.
According to the intelligence estimates, Hamas has about 24 thousand rockets compared to about 4000 rockets that the Islamic Jihad has, of which it has already launched about 1500 rockets at Israel in the last round of fighting and now it needs to restore its military capability.
The main effort of the Hamas movement now is to encourage and fuel the outbreak of a new armed intifada against Israel.
Hamas does this through an extensive campaign of incitement through its media and social networks, and it also tries to activate sleeping cells of the movement in Judea and Samaria so that they launch attacks against the IDF and the settlers.
According to security officials in Israel, there has been a large increase in the number of terror squads in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria recruited by the military wing of Hamas from the Gaza Strip via the Internet to carry out attacks against Israel.
Also the Hamas branch in Turkey, which is in charge of Saleh al-Arouri, who is the head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, manages to recruit Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to carry out attacks.