Israel and Hamas Need Each Other

And a New Round of Conflict Won’t Change That

An Israeli soldier walks by a battery of cannons near Gaza, March 2019 Amir Cohen / Reuters

War, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows. Israel is currently preparing for a potentially dramatic faceoff with Hamas. Over the past week, the group has launched rockets into Israel, and it has called for a million man march this weekend  along the Israeli-Gaza border to mark the anniversary of last year’s March of Return. The protests may either fizzle or spark an intensified round of conflict. Whatever happens though, it will not undermine the curious, co-dependent relationship that has evolved between Hamas and the Israeli government, especially under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These two key Middle East actors despise yet depend on one another.

Israel and Hamas are unlikely partners. They call for each other’s destruction and have been through three major military confrontations, most recently in 2014. Nevertheless, these two sworn enemies have long cooperated out of practical necessity. On certain issues—including managing their conflict through

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