In a January 21, 2018 article in Hamas's mouthpiece Al-Risala, 'Imad Al-'Afana, journalist and former secretary general of Hamas's faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), calls on the movement to expand its target bank and its arena of operations in its fight with Israel. He wrote that the balance of deterrence that long existed between Israel and Hamas has collapsed because Hamas has stopped responding with sufficient force to offensive action by Israel, such as the bombing of Hamas tunnels and facilities and the attempted targeted killing of its operatives. He added that, in order to restore the balance of deterrence, Hamas must change its mode of operation, which has become predictable, and respond to Israeli attacks in unexpected ways, including by attacking Israeli targets abroad and by "moving the conflict into the enemy's territory and the into heart of its bases, settlements and airports – not only on the Gaza border but in the Zionist rear."
The following are excerpts from his article:
'Imad Al-'Afana (image: alresalah.ps)
"Almost all observers agree that the occupation has long since begun its fourth war in Gaza, but without declaring it. Over the past few months, those who are following the matter have counted some 40 enemy attacks on resistance individuals, sites, and resources in the Gaza Strip. [This war] did not begin with the crime of the assassination of the martyr Mazen Fuqaha, carried out by the agents [of the enemy]... which was just like the crime of the assassination of Al-Mabhouh in the UAE. [These crimes] arouse fears that the enemy is repeating similar scenarios in other arenas, in order to assassinate commanders of the resistance without raising a hue and cry. [This is also] exactly what happened with the assassination attempt several days ago against Hamas activist Abu Hamza Hamdan, whose car was blown up in Sidon. [And the war will] not end with the enemy's official declaration, in a military communique, of war against resistance sites, manifest in blowing up the strategic tunnels in eastern Rafah, which, it claimed, passed under the Sufa border crossing, nor its declaration of the existence of additional tunnels whose destruction, one after the other, it would announce.
"The period between these two incidents was rife [with attacks, such as] the attack on the Islamic Jihad tunnel late last year, the attack in late November and late December on important sites, resources, and strategic surprises [for the enemy that had been prepared by Hamas's 'Izz Al-Din] Al-Qassam brigades.
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"This shift in the rules of the conflict, from a clandestine [conflict] to an open one, and the expansion of the circle of targets to include strategic targets of the resistance, as the occupation calls them, has consequences, for it is a shift from a war [based on] siege, starvation and the drying up [of resources] to a [new] method of quiet war. In the past, the enemy's aggression against the resistance in Gaza was a reaction to the firing of rockets at settlements near the [Gaza] Strip, but now it is no longer reacting but taking the initiative.
"The balance of deterrence that Hamas tried to maintain vis-a-vis the occupation, and whose most blatant expression was the response to the assassination of the commander Ahmad Al-Ja'bari, which sparked the 2012 [Gaza] war, should have been sustained by responding to every bullet and every [Israeli] raid into the Gaza Strip. But the inactivity of the resistance, which stemmed from its preoccupation with the 'preparation campaign' [i.e., training, digging tunnels, etc. in preparation for the next round of fighting], enticed the enemy to gradually increase its activity, until it eventually shifted from reacting to initiating. This definitely requires the resistance to restore the balance of deterrence and correct the balance of its relations with the occupation.
The continued siege on Gaza, Ramallah's [i.e., the PA's] deliberate sabotaging of the implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation, and propaganda by some countries aimed at creating a climate hostile to the resistance [all] obligate the resistance branches in various areas and countries to consider employing bolder means and operations in their relations with the enemy. [This] will extract Gaza from the situation of being alone in the fray [against Israel] and open up other, quiet fronts and battle arenas, which the enemy's long arm cannot reach.
"The systematic operation method of the resistance, whose next moves the enemy can surely predict through in-depth study, must change in favor of new scenarios which will be more difficult to foresee, so as to undermine the enemy's confidence that the resistance will suffer the blows [without retaliating], and in order to prevent the enemy from expanding the circle of the underhand blows it is dealing the resistance.
"The launching of [resistance] activity in the West Bank seems to be encountering difficulty, due to the 'sacred' security coordination between 'Abbas's authorities and Israel. This obliges the resistance and all its branches to [recruit and] work with collaborators within the PA apparatuses...
"The resistance must take advantage of the public climate that is supportive of it and of the Palestinian rights... [to head] in new directions, in addition to the non-violent demonstrations and the [soliciting of] sympathy in the virtual realm [i.e., on the Internet], and this in order to convey powerful messages that will halt the efforts of various elements in the region to [promote] normalization and recognition of Israel. We must deliver painful blows to the enemy's vulnerable underbelly, that is, target its interests, its investments, its diaspora and its representations around the world.
"The enemy is convinced it can defeat the besieged, starved and exhausted Gaza in a quick and short war it is threatening to wage soon, and the resistance must therefore undermine [this conviction] with a quick operation... that will move the conflict into the enemy's territory and the into heart of its bases, settlements and airports – not only on the Gaza border but in the Zionist rear. This may require the resistance to employ means whose use was [previously] put off, and which can paralyze the enemy from within – and a word to the wise is sufficient."