Gazans survey damage, but will they reflect on it?

On Saturday, the Washington Post chose as its lead story a piece about Gazans surveying the damage caused by Israel’s response to rocket attacks by Hamas. Those rocket attacks were mentioned only in passing.

The Post’s headline story wasn’t exactly news. Everyone knows that Gaza was damaged by Israeli strikes. The story’s only purpose was to garner sympathy for Gazans.

Indeed, the story was so slanted that it could almost have been written by Hamas. It might have been vetted by the terrorist outfit. The Post’s reporters — Steve Hendrix and Hazem Balousha — are in Gaza City only because Hamas allows them to be.

The Post doesn’t really address the interesting question — whether Gazans will reflect on the damage and, if so, what they will conclude. It’s easy to “survey” what Gazans have lost thanks to Hamas’ attack on Israel. But will residents ask themselves what they have gained from it and, more generally, what they gain from being governed by Hamas?

Hamas gained something. It confirmed that it can inflict damage, albeit minimal, on Israel. It confirmed that it’s at the vanguard of the fight, albeit futile, to destroy the Jewish state.

It has demonstrated to its Iranian backers that their financial investment in Hamas’ terrorism yields some return. And the exchange of fire with Israel probably caused an uptick in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment in the West.

But what did the Gazans gain? Maybe some are gratified that Hamas killed about a dozen residents of Israel, not all of whom were Jews or Israelis. But the Gazan death toll was considerably higher. Beyond this dubious tradeoff, it’s difficult to see Gazans having achieved anything.

Hamas, of course, is claiming victory in the one-sided battle of bombing. Do ordinary Gazans buy this narrative?

The Post quotes two of them — a father and a son — as saying that Hamas is more popular now as a result of the “revolution” against Israel.

What revolution? A few protests and a relatively minor clash between Arabs and the police in Jerusalem?

It’s impossible for those of us in the U.S. to know how residents of Gaza really feel about Hamas’ latest bout with Israel. I doubt that the Post’s men in Gaza City know, either. And if they learn that Hamas has lost support, I have no confidence they will tell us.

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