Der Spiegel, the German newsweekly, came up with the most telling headline on the war in Gaza, its interpretation of the voice of Hamas: "Hurray! We Lost!" This interpretation took a cue from the soccer coach who was fond of telling his team about to play a weak opponent, "They cannot win against us, but we can lose against them."
That's what Israel discovered for itself when its soldiers went into Gaza to answer the Hamas rockets. The Israelis killed 1,300 Palestinians, including a number of high-ranking Palestinian officials, wounded several thousand more and destroyed much of the Hamas military infrastructure, all in just three weeks. They were nevertheless told they had lost.
After Israel announced a cease-fire, Ismail Haniya, the "prime minister of Gaza," came out of hiding and declared victory. Such chutzpah, observes der Speigel, could only be compared to the Black Knight in a Monty Python movie: "After King Arthur cuts off both of the knight's arms and legs, he tells him, 'All right, we'll call it a draw.'"
What happened in Gaza is tragic, but the satirical comparison is not far-fetched. Hamas is winning world public opinion for a seat at the negotiating table as the hue and cry against Israel's "disproportionality" continues to dominate the international media. The moral balance weighs on behalf of Hamas despite its cowardly decision to place rocket launchers and armaments in mosques, schools and hospitals.
Talk about "eyeless in Gaza" (with apologies to Aldous Huxley). In the Middle East, it's the blind who think they see most clearly. The Europeans, terrified into paralysis by the Muslims in their midst, echo Arab claims. Protesting crowds in Paris, Berlin and London blame the Jews and elevate Hamas to heroic status merely for surviving Israel's onslaught in Gaza.
"Hamas has survived the war," observes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the German newspaper. "It exists, and it is here to stay. Therefore, it is essential that an easing of the Western boycott against the Islamists is considered."
By this logic, the Palestinians might deserve a seat on the United Nations Security Council as soon as they lose a few more wars. Humanitarian help for wounded civilians is the honorable thing to do, but anything more is perverse. The cease-fire was quickly broken by Hamas.