Hamas, as a devout Muslim organization, is basing its concepts and operational planning on the traditions and the history of Islam, even in the military arena. In this manner Hamas planned the current campaign, which it calls the Eaten Chaff Campaign (Al-'Asf al-Ma'kul, a term from the Quran [Surat al-Fil, Verse 5]) and aimed it to occur in the month of Ramadan, as this month is considered by Muslims and in their history as the month of conquests and victories, and Gaza, in their view, is where it will all happen this time.
This belief is based on the tradition, which counts, since the days Prophet Muhammad, the military successes and victories achieved by Muslims during this month. In the month of Ramadan 624 CE (2 AH in the Islamic calendar), the Prophet defeated his opponents in the Battle of Badr, which was the first battle between Muslims and their opponents, and is still considered to this day in the Muslim tradition as a symbol of bravery.
This was the case in the Battle of (the Horns of) Hattin on July 4, 1187, between the Muslims led by Salah al-Din al-Ayoubi, and the forces of the Crusaders, in which Salah al-Din won a decisive victory over his enemies, and became a symbol of the Arab and Muslim history. The same was in the Battle of Ain Jalut held on Friday, September 3, 1260, which falls on the 25th of Ramadan 658, in which forces of the Mamluks halted Mongol forces.
The Egyptians planned the Yom Kippur War ("Operation Badr") in October 1973 partly because of the reliance on faith and historical heritage that this month is blessed, in which God blesses the believers with victory over their enemies (who are usually infidels - Jews, Christians, Mongolians, Iranians etc.). Following the same belief, the Iraqis, led by Saddam Hussein, acted in choosing to launch the operation for the release of al-Faw at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, in April 1988, which was a very successful operation, and has revolutionized the long war with Iran, and brought an overwhelming Iraqi victory in this battle, and the entire war.
Following this belief, apparently the Hamas leadership also decided to start a war in the holy month of Ramadan, with the belief that they will achieve victory. This belief is what pushes them to continue the war, since their victory is guaranteed. This war also has an additional purpose, just as it was during the October 1973 war for the Arabs – returning of their lost dignity.
As we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of that war of Ramadan, Hamas has prepared a new Ramadan War, using rockets and tunnels, and maybe more surprises that are yet to come. Hamas believes that this campaign will eventually write the pages of victory, the great occupation (taking over Israel), and will bring, with the capabilities of the rockets and the rest of jihad fighters, to the disintegration of the Zionist entity. Hamas sees this war as a continuation of the first and second intifadas, and of its fighting against the military during operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense, and believes that the Palestinian people are a symbol of sacrifice, as they were in every war since 1948.
Therefore we should not expect the near end of this operation, as Hamas is inconsiderate of the number of Palestinians – fighters and civilians – who are killed in this war. For Hamas, they are all martyrs who have fallen for a sacred cause. Until it will achieve its objectives, and in particular the lost dignity, it would not end the war, and as the Egyptians regained their dignity during the Ramadan War in 1973, Hamas wants to do so during the War of Ramadan in 2014.
We constantly feared the possibility of an outbreak of a third intifada, but instead we got something much more serious – the Ramadan War of Hamas. Who said surprises in our region are long gone?