Peter Krause, an associate professor of Political Science at Boston College, spoke at Salem State University.

BC professor: Hamas attack on Israel was meant to rally Palestinians, not to thwart Israel-Saudi peace deal

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BC professor: Hamas attack on Israel was meant to rally Palestinians, not to thwart Israel-Saudi peace deal

Peter Krause, an associate professor of Political Science at Boston College, spoke at Salem State University.

In a wide-ranging lecture on the Israel-Hamas War last week at Salem State, Peter Krause, an associate professor of Political Science at Boston College, asserted that the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel was conducted to rally Palestinians and Muslims across the world toward the Palestinian cause – rather than to prevent an imminent peace treaty between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“It’s correct to say Hamas does not want the Saudis to normalize with Israel, but this was not their major motivation,” he said. Hamas’s strategy was provocation. “They were trying to attack the Israelis, hold territory for a while, and then provoke a response that would actually mobilize their broader quote-

unquote Axis of Resistance, which is what both Iran and Hamas use as a term to refer to not just Iran and the Palestinians in the form of Hamas, but also Hezbollah, also the Syrians under Assad, also the Houthis,” he said.

The Oct. 7 attack – during which Hamas and other Islamic terrorists from Gaza killed over 1,200 Israelis, wounded thousands, and kidnapped more than 250 (including around 100 believed to still be held captive in Gaza) – was designed to sideline the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, Krause said. The PA is the successor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or Fatah, which entered into the Oslo Accords peace agreements with Israel in 1993. Since then, Hamas and Fatah have been archrivals – with Hamas seizing control of Gaza from the PA in 2007 in a coup. Hamas has ruled Gaza since, and there have been no elections in either the West Bank or Gaza since 2005.

Looking forward, Krause believes that there is no clear solution to the conflict. He ruled out Israel annexing Gaza, or expelling Palestinians from the strip. “I don’t see Israelis physically pushing Gazans across the [Egyptian] border. I don’t think a majority of Israelis would support that,” he said.

As for Iran – which has financed Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and insurgents in Syria and Iraq – Krause believes Iran will let its proxies do the fighting against Israel. “The Iranians do not want a direct war with the Israelis. They don’t want the United States more involved in the region,” he said.

When asked about pro-Palestinian college students harassing and intimidating Jewish students on campus while also claiming that Israel is a “colonialist” country committing “genocide” against the Palestinians, Krause said social media plays a big role.

“We used to have a time where, it’s like, if you want a discussion, it would be like this, where we’d all be in person, right? Now we have a situation where, it’s like, you can be anonymous, and we have tons of research that shows when you’re anonymous, people act much worse and feel like they can say things they wouldn’t otherwise say,” he said.

As for allowing free speech while also protecting students at schools, Krause said colleges are still navigating that line. Said Krause, “I think, honestly, a lot of schools have been caught between this debate between free speech and kind of the safety or protection of their students – whether it’s, you know, verbal safety or physical safety. And so, some schools have not been as strident, I think, at protecting their students as they should on some of these issues, because they want to protect free speech.” Θ

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