Can Israel Break the Will of Hamas?

A reader asks. The answer: I don't think so. Maybe momentarily. But Hamas will find ways to regain its "honor." Usually, this means exploding buses. The even deeper question: Can Israel force the overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza? I'm not sure why Israel would want to -- it won't be replaced by the Palestinian Authority, but instead by a situation similar to Somalia -- but I think this is impossible, for the moment. The ideal situation, of course, is that the people of Gaza, realizing that Hamas has delivered them hardship, overthrow their government. But Hamas also alleviates the hardship it creates. The group has thoroughly penetrated the social fabric of Gaza. Its schools, orphanages, hospitals and soup kitchens serve the entire population. Hamas is not al-Qaeda. It delivers services, and because it delivers services, the population of Gaza depends on Hamas. I don't see the removal of Hamas as a near-term possibility.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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