Recent polling shows that Palestinians are long done with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and are now ready for Hamas leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, while Israelis are certain of the need to eliminate the Hamas terrorist organisation once and for all — militarily and politically.


The military goal is clear and measurable - the destruction of Hamas can be tracked by how many Hamas combatants are killed or captured and how many Hamas' resources are identified and destroyed. The political goal to eradicate Hamas however seems highly unlikely in the face of this evidence (of the strangely rising popularity of Hamas) - so it would appear that Israel may not be able to destroy Hamas' political ideology.

And then, in my opinion, even if they do "get rid" of the current Hamas but let a "new Hamas" take power through the democratic process it would mean that Israel failed in its objective to eliminate Hamas.

So how does Israel plan to politically destroy Hamas'? Given that Hamas (or its ideology) has a high appeal and can still win elections, in a democratic environment, have Israeli policymakers publicly outlined anything on how they plan to prevent Hamas (or those newly inspired by its ideology) from taking power after the war?

  • 2
    Of course it would be better if Gazans blamed Hamas. We don't know what the governance will look like post-war however so this question is too speculative in nature. Israel - if it's left to its own devices - may occupy Gaza militarily. There may be a multinational peace force. There may be a revived peace process - yeah, not holding my breath. All of these face different challenges from Hamas. Which... additionally hasn't even been booted out of Gaza yet, so chicken are being counted in advance. Too early to ask. Dec 16, 2023 at 6:13
  • 3
    Which 'post-war plan for Gaza by Israel' are you referring to? I've seen various discussions in the news that any option is difficult and that there is no plan but from Israel itself I've only read that they want to get rid of Hamas without any indication of what should happen afterwards.
    – quarague
    Dec 16, 2023 at 7:25
  • Also asking "is it a problem" is not very instructive. You don't learn much from knowing that Hamas is a problem. Dec 16, 2023 at 7:31
  • Voting to reopen - While this question may not be immediately answerable, it is clear that Israel will have to deal with this at some point, and are likely debating about it, both domestically and internationally. And so the political views on these is bound to be pubic in the future and can provide a factual answer.
    – sfxedit
    Dec 17, 2023 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


There's certain amount of rallying around the flag. But it is also important that Hamas is not simply a military gang - they are running charities, schools, children camps, etc. They have been also a rather efficient government since their coup d'etat in Gaza. (In fact, Hamas was born as a Palestinian branch of Muslim Brotherhood, but was forced to be an independent organization, since the brotherhood didn't want to be associated with terrorism):

With its takeover of Gaza after the 1967 war with Egypt, Israel hunted down secular Palestinian Liberation Organization factions, but dropped the previous Egyptian rulers' harsh restrictions against Islamic activists.[19] In fact, Israel for many years tolerated and at times encouraged Islamic activists and groups as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the PLO and its dominant faction, Fatah.[19][20]

Among the activists benefited was Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, who had also formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, a charity recognized by Israel in 1979. Israel allowed the organization to build mosques, clubs, schools, and a library in Gaza.

Yitzhak Segev, the acting governor of Gaza in 1979, said he had no illusions about Yassin's intentions, having watched an Islamist movement topple the Shah as Israel's military attache in Iran. However, according to Segev, Yassin and his charity were "100% peaceful" towards Israel during this time, and Segev and other Israeli officials feared being viewed as an enemy of Islam. Segev maintained regular contact with Yassin, met with him around a dozen times, and arranged for Yassin to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment.

Thus, Palestinians may be supporting Hamas as a charity, but not as a military organization that regularly brings hell to Gaza. (Of course, Hamas remains an Islamist regime, denying freedom to minorities, other religions, women, intellectuals, etc.)

From the realpolitik point of view, Israel will probably stop treating Palestinian as an equal peace partner, and adopt a page from the western playbook: setting a puppet "democratic" government, like those that were set in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. It would have however more chances to succeed, since, unlike the US, Israel cannot go away.

Indeed, in the press conference yesterday Netanyahu cited the same survey to support his position about jot allowing either Hamas or Fatah to rule Gaza :

He cites a survey last week that found 82% of Palestinians in the West Bank justify the October 7 slaughter, and notes that the PA has yet to condemn the onslaught. “They should control Gaza?” he asks, referring to the PA, and stresses that he won’t let that happen.

Rather, says, after Hamas is destroyed, “Gaza will be demilitarized” and pose no threat to Israel.


  • It is also worth noting that the poll cited in the OP is not necessarily indicative of the attitudes in Gaza:

The independent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) conducted a survey of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza from 6-9 September and again from 22 November through 2 December.

When asked in September “who was most deserving to represent and lead the Palestinian people,” just 27% said Hamas, 24% said Abbas’ party Fatah, and 44% said neither.

As of this month, a majority (54%) say Hamas, with 13% saying Fatah, and 26% saying neither.

While the polling conditions in Gaza have definitely changed between September and December, and it is not clear whether Gazans feel free to express their opinion.

Support for Hamas has more than tripled in the West Bank compared to three months ago. In the Gaza Strip, support for Hamas increased but not significantly. Despite the increase in its popularity, the majority in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not support Hamas. It is worth noting that support for Hamas usually rises temporarily during or immediately after a war and then returns to the previous level several months after the end of the war .

  • From the comments:

The US/NATO organised elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, and worked with the winners. That’s democratic. Israel will not do so in Gaza.

The winners among those who were admitted to participate in elections - in Afghanistan it excluded Taliban, in Iraq - Baathists. (In fact, de-Baathization prohibited to those associated with Saddam Hussein regime to take part in political life or occupy government positions.)


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