Achieving the Aims of the War in Gaza

(Institute for National Security Studies) Prof. Azar Gat - The aims of the war in Gaza as defined by the Israeli Cabinet are the destruction of Hamas' military and governing infrastructure and the release of the hostages. The aims relating to Hamas are both necessary and achievable. Since the start of the ground offensive in Gaza, it has become clear that both the IDF's regular and reserve forces function at an exceptional level. The close cooperation between the ground forces, air force, fire power, and intelligence is unlikely found in any other military today. Their fighting spirit and determination are admirable, and naturally so, given the crucial nature of their mission in their eyes. The tunnel system in Gaza is far more complex, advanced, and vast than previously estimated, and Hamas had enormous quantities of weapons and ammunition. Nevertheless, the IDF took control of Gaza City and are close to a similar achievement in the Khan Yunis area. This cost over 200 Israeli soldiers' lives so far, a heart-breaking price, but far lower than the assessments and fears prior to the operation. Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas' command, military units, and infrastructure. After their destruction, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. Yet the IDF is unlikely to eliminate Hamas as a guerrilla force. Its popularity is strong, necessitating "mowing the grass" operations similar to those in the West Bank for any foreseeable future. The writer holds the Ezer Weizmann Chair of National Security in the School of Political Science, Government and International Relations at Tel Aviv University.

2024-02-27 00:00:00

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