Does Israel Have a Strategy for Gaza?

(Times of Israel) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - For lack of any other feasible alternative, Israel is ready to accept Hamas as the de-facto ruling party in Gaza. Hamas is a terror entity committed to Israel's annihilation, but Israel believes that Hamas and the terrorism that comes with it can be constrained and contained for long periods of time. To restrain and contain the terror from Gaza, Israel uses a combination of tools that are supposed to keep Hamas powerful enough to force its will over violent elements in Gaza and at the same time deterred from attacking Israel. Keeping this fragile equilibrium for a long time is tricky and from time to time, Israel has to exercise more tools to deal with deviations from this delicate balance. The toolkit includes a wide variety of military capabilities and operations, the security blockade, occasional economic pressure, and cooperation with Egypt and other Arab and international players. Israel sees more advantages than disadvantages in the lasting separation between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The government is opposed to the idea that Israel should bring Fatah back to Gaza. Israel believes internal Palestinian reconciliation is not going to happen because Hamas and Fatah will refuse to concede real power to the other in their respective areas of control. The writer, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2018-08-20 00:00:00

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