The resistance option

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Robin Yassin-Kassab writes on EI:

Hamas isn’t Hizballah and Gaza isn’t Lebanon. The resistance in Gaza — which includes leftist and nationalist as well as Islamist forces — doesn’t have mountains to fight in. It has no strategic depth. It doesn’t have Syria behind it to keep supply lines open; instead it has Israel’s wall and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s goons. Lebanese civilians can flee north and east, while Gaza’s repeat-refugees have no escape. The Lebanese have their farms, and supplies from outside; Gaza has been under total siege for years. Hizballah has remarkable discipline and is surely the best-trained, most disciplined force in the region. Although it has made great strides, Hamas is still undisciplined. Crucially, Hizballah has air-tight intelligence control in Lebanon, while Gaza contains collaborators like maggots in a corpse.

But Hamas is still standing. On the rare occasions when Israel actually fought — rather than just called in air strikes — its soldiers reported “ferocious” resistance. Hamas withstood 22 days of the most barbaric bombing Zionism has yet stooped to, and did not surrender. Rocket fire continued from Gaza after Israel declared its unilateral ceasefire.

Let’s put this in context. In 1947-48 Zionist militias drove out more than 700,000 Palestinians without too much trouble. In 1967 it took Israel six days to destroy the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies, and to capture the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Zionism’s last “victory” was the expulsion of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Beirut in 1982 — if it was a victory.

The long and bloody occupation of Lebanon gave birth to new forms of resistance. Where Arab states and armies had failed, popular resistance removed American and French forces from Beirut, and then steadily rolled back the Israelis. The first suicide bomber of the conflict was a Marxist woman of Christian background.