A New Military Strategy for Israel in Gaza

(Jerusalem Post) Col. (res) Grisha Yakubovich - While Israel is perfectly capable of launching a major air campaign and a ground offensive to topple Hamas in response to the next rocket barrage, it is the last thing Israel should do. Every round of combat since 2008-9 has left Hamas emerging stronger than before. As a result, a new military strategy for Israel is critical. Signs of this new approach could be seen during the escalation in May with Israel's missile precision and ability to conduct pinpoint strikes on Hamas targets in order to reduce noncombatant casualties. On the diplomatic-political front, Israel must enable the gradual - albeit unofficial - integration of Gaza into Egypt, which is leading the reconstruction of Gaza today. This is a process that is already underway and would force Hamas to focus its energies on maneuvering in the Arab arena. War with Israel is what keeps Hamas relevant. Hamas needs casualties and headlines to dominate the Palestinian and Arab arenas. Israel's central objective should therefore be to force Hamas to deal with its economic needs and to encourage it to abandon war - because armed conflict is Hamas' bridge to increasing its power base in the West Bank. Should Hamas once again flood Israeli cities with rockets, Israel should take a deep breath, rely on Iron Dome to deal with the initial attacks, and then launch an open-ended campaign of strategic attrition and targeted strikes without any deadline. The writer, an expert at the Miryam Institute, concluded 30 years of IDF military service in 2016 as head of the civil department for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

2021-11-15 00:00:00

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