Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.
Analysts are debunking Israel’s narrative about neutralizing Hamas without generating civilian casualties. In a densely populated region and with the Resistance’s forces knowing the terrain much better than the Israelis, the IDF will certainly have serious problems to achieve its objectives – at least in an ethical, legal and humanitarian way.
According to retired US Army general Robert Abrams, it is highly “unlikely” that the IDF will be able to defeat Hamas without creating a bloodbath in Gaza. He says the fighting will be hard and intense in the midst of a highly populated area, making Gaza a scenario unlike anything the IDF or American troops have seen in recent decades.
“I think it’s going to be what I would consider nearly impossible, to destroy Hamas, to eliminate their capability to do harm to Israel and Israeli people, while simultaneously protecting what some people have estimated as to be a million Palestinians who are in harm’s way and they can’t get out of harm’s way (…) This is going to be a very difficult task for the Israeli Defense Forces, that the defense that Hamas will put up in that very dense urban terrain, unlike anything that we’ve seen in recent years, is going to require some very siege fighting, and simultaneously trying to ensure that the Israelis do not target unwittingly the locations of the hostages (…) This is going to prove to be a very difficult task and we’ll just have to see how their plan plays out here over the coming days”, he said.
These difficulties were previously predicted by other analysts and currently appear to be the main concern of the American armed forces. The US wants to prevent its ally in the Middle East from promoting a massacre that would make it even more difficult to circumvent international political and diplomatic pressure against Tel Aviv. Therefore, despite supporting Israel militarily, including sending special troops, the US repeatedly insisted that the ground invasion plan should not go ahead.
In addition to the massacre of Palestinian civilians, which has become commonplace in Gaza, there are risks for Israeli citizens held as prisoners by Hamas fighters. Both in its incursions on the ground and in its incessant bombings, Israel puts the lives of prisoners at risk, with dozens of them having reportedly died as a side effect of these attacks. The result of this is that Israeli society itself tends to criticize the government for its actions and demand an end to the attacks on Gaza, since, instead of “destroying Hamas”, Israel is only killing Palestinian and Jewish civilians.
The main problem, however, is that Netanyahu has promised real revenge and is in a politically uncomfortable situation. All paths seem to result in unfavorable scenarios for his government. Military actions, if carried out, will lead to the death of civilians and damage the international image of the Zionist regime. On the other hand, a military retreat will make Netanyahu look like a weak leader incapable of defeating his enemies – which could lead to an unprecedented political crisis in Tel Aviv.
The most rational attitude on the part of Tel Aviv would be to obey the requests for a total ceasefire and begin to change its policy towards Palestine, stopping apartheid, ethnic cleansing and expansionism so that there is no longer a military reaction against Israel. But irrationality and anti-strategic revanchism seem to be more prominent in Tel Aviv than political realism.
It is also necessary to emphasize that even Israeli experts are already warning the Netanyahu government about the catastrophic consequences of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and demanding a change in the strategy against Hamas, asking that, instead of military measures, political actions be implemented to facilitate a dialogue with Palestine.
For example, IDF veteran and political activist Benzion Sanders recently wrote:
“For years, many of us on the left in Israel have been warned that we will never have peace and security until we find a political agreement in which Palestinians achieve freedom and independence (…) It isn’t just human rights activists taking this position: Even Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, has argued for years that Palestinian terror can be defeated only by creating Palestinian hope.”
Regardless of his government’s delicate situation, Netanyahu should pay attention to the experts’ analysis and prioritize a humanitarian solution. It remains to be seen how Netanyahu will react to critical opinions, although evidence indicates that he will ignore them.
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