Has Israel Achieved Its War Aims in Gaza?

(Financial Times-UK) James Shotter - Even after six weeks of fighting in which it has occupied northern Gaza and wrought unprecedented destruction there, Israel is a long way from achieving its military objectives. "It's fair to assume that the firepower and infrastructures of Hamas have been significantly degraded, much more than in any previous [Israeli] campaign," said Jean-Loup Samaan, senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore. "But because the objective was the total destruction of the [Hamas] movement, including its leadership, the campaign is far from achieving it." Since sending troops into Gaza on Oct. 27, a senior Israeli military official said the assault had "significantly hurt" 10 of Hamas' 24 battalions, which before the war each had about 1,000 soldiers. Including the 1,000 killed in Israel after Hamas launched the Oct. 7 attack, Israeli officials estimate that 5,000 of Hamas' 25,000 fighters have now been killed. "It's not 10,000, but it's not 1,000," the Israeli official said. The invasion has also had a big impact on Hamas' ability to fire rockets at Israel. The fire has become more sporadic and less precise. "The center of gravity for [Hamas' rocket-launching capabilities] was the Gaza City metropolitan area," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Zvika Haimovich, former commander of the Israel Air Defense Forces. "Today we are talking about a salvo of four or five rockets every three days. In the first two weeks, it was a salvo every four or five hours. It's a huge difference." Former officials say the Israeli advance has brought better intelligence on Hamas' tunnel network and paths for advancing deeper into the area that are less laden with explosive devices and booby traps. "To defend against a force that is coming from new routes that were not the ones expected is going to be hard for Hamas," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, former deputy commander of the Gaza Division.

2023-11-24 00:00:00

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