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Was Israel Punked by Hamas? Are Progressives Supporting Palestinians Being Punked too?

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The blame game has started again. But this is no black and white picture.

Hamas fires, in one day, 80 Ketyusha rockets into Israel.

Israel responds with massive attacks.

This revenge and retribution has been going on for a very long time, but it is, sadly, not so simple.   

Bad leaders on both sides keep it going. The Israeli leadership, in the middle of an election and power struggle, faced two choices, though, in a recent Israeli press conference, an Israeli spokesman denied that  political considerations were involved. Livni’s more moderate party could support the violent response, as they did, and remain a viable player in the election, or oppose a military response and lose to the hawk, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hamas leaders knew the Israelis would respond to firing 80 Ketyushas into Israel in just one day. Now, we learn that Hamas is benefitting from the Israeli attacks.  A poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center,  before this conflict, showed that Hamas was less popular than George W. Bush, with only 16 percent of Palestinians supporting Hamas. Gaza elections were coming up. Hamas needed a popularity booster. What better than to fire scores of missiles at Israel?

Daoud Kutab, reports, in a Washington Post article, Has Israel Revived Hamas?

“…as the six-month cease-fire with Israel came to an end, Hamas calculated -- it seems correctly -- that it had nothing to gain by continuing the truce; if it had, its credentials as a resistance movement would have been no different from those of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah. Unable to secure an open border and an end to the Israeli siege, while refusing to share or give up power to Abbas, Hamas could have had no route to renewed public favor.

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For different reasons, Hamas and Israel both gave up on the cease-fire, preferring instead to climb over corpses to reach their political goals. One side wants to resuscitate its public support by appearing to be a heroic resister, while the other, on the eve of elections, wants to show toughness to a public unhappy with the nuisance of the Qassam rockets.

The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel's strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.”

An article in the NY Times by Stephen Farrell asks,

“…will the devastation in Gaza make Palestinians fall into line behind Hamas, as they reliably have in the past, or will Hamas lose their support as Gazans count the escalating cost in blood and destruction?”

The leaders of Hamas knew their rocket firings would produce a strong response from Israel but surely underestimated just how big a response.  They fired them fully aware of the deaths that would follow. This is consistent with Hamas now calling for Palestinians to become suicide bombers. Hamas leaders are ready to sacrifice the lives of Palestinians to further their political goals.  

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For example, Hamas leader, Nizar Rayan, who was killed, along with his four wives and 10 children, had, in 2001, sent one of his children as a suicide bomber and had said he wanted to be martyred. It’s one thing to want to be a martyr. It’s another, as a leader, to precipitate violence that makes helpless Palestinians who did not volunteer to be martyrs into victims.

The Hamas power ploy seems to have worked. A growing number of observers now believe that, Israel was, shall we say, “punked” by Hamas and that their response actually helped Hamas.   Hamas knew that the political situation in Israel would force the Israelis to react militarily.

Can we conclude that the leaders of Hamas made a cold blooded decision to sacrifice hundreds of Palestinian lives. No. Most likely they expected a more moderate Israeli response. The Hamas leaders probably expected to only sacrifice ten or twenty Palestinian lives. They gambled. The Palestinian people lost.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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I think the Palestinian people have been betrayed ... by Rob Kall on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 4:35:32 PM
After reading your previous article, comments, and... by raceme12 on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 6:42:08 PM
Make no mistake: that is what is occuring. I am di... by Stephen Fox on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:12:47 PM
This is a terrible article. Today's extremely well... by Elsie Brenner on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 4:52:13 PM
please add information that respects the fact that... by Rob Kall on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:26:21 PM
Mutual Protection Rackets.  Hamas and Israel ... by John Hanks on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 5:23:39 PM
Israel will continue to attack until it has all of... by Dennis Kaiser on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 5:32:48 PM by karmacounselor on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:15:55 PM
Rob,An interesting article, and interview with Rab... by Herbert Calhoun on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 6:09:21 PM
Taking sides in this fight is worse than useless.... by Darren Wolfe on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:07:52 PM
So basically you don't believe that Israel'... by Elsie Brenner on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 6:51:41 PM
Do you have a URL for Stephen Lendman's articl... by Sheila Samples on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 7:21:54 PM
I found it...right here on OpEd...sorry...... by Sheila Samples on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 7:23:57 PM
The West did not create the state of Israel for no... by ear on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 7:39:27 PM
... I think simple guilt plus the UK & France ... by Steven Leser on Sunday, Jan 4, 2009 at 4:45:13 PM
bad guys in this whole mess .. from the very begin... by richard on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:08:10 PM
His analysis didn't mention the oil factor; bu... by Nick Lento on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 8:49:37 PM
we continue to find that Israelis ignore the one k... by Ernest on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 11:07:21 PM
Ear's comments must and should be read -- a fe... by crispy on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 11:20:36 PM
Mr Kall, I note your comment:"The Palestinian... by Idaho Boy on Friday, Jan 2, 2009 at 11:39:10 PM
Whether we like it or not, all Americans have alre... by David Schwab on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 12:52:23 AM
way to say it brother... by TRADESMAN on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 9:36:03 AM
"Well they'll punk you when your drivin&#... by William Whitten on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 3:07:40 AM
"everybody must get punked".. you made m... by jersey girl on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 7:08:28 AM
why why--read the bible-- but read it over and ove... by TRADESMAN on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 10:18:19 AM
Skiidogs, whoever you are! (1) Jhvh did promise to... by syed mahdi on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 11:45:40 AM
 You ask, as if rhetorically and yet your sel... by William Whitten on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 4:42:01 PM
80 rockets in one day . . you expeditiously forgot... by Kahleeka on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 5:33:31 AM
 Yes Katleen and; "you expeditiously for... by William Whitten on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 4:53:00 PM
  “I am a Jew. I was a participant in t... by William Whitten on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 5:07:59 PM
didn't Israel back Hamas to displace the PLO, ... by Michael Shaw on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 6:57:36 AM
 I strongly recommend this article for people... by Jennifer Hathaway on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 11:39:49 AM
the article in question is by Jennifer Hathaway on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 11:41:36 AM
i read on one liberal web site either yours or buz... by liberalsrock on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 3:37:27 PM
with the help of UFO's that can read your mind... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 7:38:37 PM
Israel is committing genocide on the Palestinians.... by shirley reese on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 8:44:22 PM
America and Israel helped build up Hamas. Similar ... by shirley reese on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 9:18:43 PM
Hamas came to power through a fair and open electi... by Chris Gelken on Saturday, Jan 3, 2009 at 9:30:47 PM
Excellent article Rob.  Personally, I think t... by Mad Jayhawk on Sunday, Jan 4, 2009 at 10:07:09 AM
I have studied the Holocaust intently for many yea... by Stephen Fox on Sunday, Jan 4, 2009 at 9:34:32 PM