I was talking to Noah Pollak of the Shalem Center in Jeruslaem earlier, who said:
What’s going on in Gaza is both good and bad. It’s good for Israel insofar as it lays bare for the world to see that there is no actual nationalist culture among the Arabs of Palestine. There is a tribal and sectarian culture that, left to its own devices, gives rise to militias that battle for supremacy in Gaza’s weak-state environment. There used to be two sources of (loose) control over Gaza: Yasser Arafat and the Israeli occupation. In less than a year they both disappeared. Now there is factional chaos, and this Hobbesian state of affairs benefits Israel in three major ways: in degrading international sympathy for the Palestinians; in galvanizing Israeli public opinion against making concessions to the non-entity that is the Palestinian Authority; and the manner in which the Palestinians are degrading their terrorist capabilities by fighting each other instead of against the IDF and Israeli civilians.
Those are the good things. The bad thing is that groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now firmly in the Iranian orbit — IJ is probably mostly funded by Iran, and the mullahs are Hamas’ largest donor. That money isn’t provided out of ideological solidarity — it is payment for terrorism and jihad. Iran is feverishly trying to build up a network of alliances and proxies to wage its battles for it and to make the Israeli and American presence in the Middle East as costly as possible. So it funds (and in some cases arms) Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the insurgency in Iraq, the Taliban remnants in Afghanistan, and helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. The boldness of Hamas and IJ isn’t just a story about Palestinian civil war — it’s a story of continued Iranian cooption of terrorist groups and their battles in the Middle East in a larger war against Israel and America.