Israeli leaders are discussing a long, costly and brutal war in an effort to prepare nervous and frustrated public opinion in Israel for possible surprises in the Gaza war. They have set a high ceiling for this war, but in the absence of a clear military or political plan, it will be an elusive goal.
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said, “We are fighting a war against a ruthless enemy, and we are paying a painful and heavy price for this war,” while Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stressed The difficulties of ground combat – he noted, “These images from ground combat are painful, and every time we see our soldiers fall, our tears will flow uncontrollably.”
When the Israeli leadership launched the Gaza war, the Israeli public had only 27% confidence in the government, and only nearly 51% of this group of people trusted the Israeli military. Added to this is the burden of 250,000 asylum seekers from the Gaza Strip and the north, as well as the more than 240 hostages held by the resistance in Gaza.
Therefore, for Israel, this war did not develop like previous wars. It is suffering huge losses every day in this war, suffering a daily erosion of its resources, including its soldiers, equipment, time, money and legitimacy (support from within and without), and as the war If extended or expanded, the cost will continue to rise.
Israel’s Maarif Daily commented on the status of the ground war taking place on the outskirts of Gaza, stating that “the resistance’s fighting forces are far from being dismantled, and despite liquidations and assassinations, Hamas remains in most cases It has successfully maintained organized resistance, and its combat methods are mainly based on tunnel warfare, exiting from hiding places, and launching anti-missile and anti-armor weapons.”
The effect of a blow
There are two main reasons why Israel launched a fierce war in Gaza. One is the “Aqsa Flood” operation launched by the Palestinian resistance organization on October 7, which caused a disastrous military defeat to Israel as well as a disastrous security and intelligence defeat. The second is the dilemma caused by Palestinian factions such as the Qassam Brigades holding a large number of hostages. Therefore, Israel’s military operations are launched around these two goals.
Israeli leaders have set out the main objectives of their military campaign, which has called up 360,000 reservists in addition to 170,000 active-duty soldiers, with the aim of destroying the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and undermining its control of Gaza, Secondary goals include the release of hostages.
Under the psychological impact of the “Black Saturday” incident, the Israelis moved directly towards the ultimate goal of any war, which is to “annihilate the enemy.” That’s a high ceiling, and they may have learned this from their past experience fighting Hamas, as it was a goal that was never achieved except at a cost they couldn’t afford.
In this context, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said, “There is no place for Hamas in Gaza. At the end of our battle, there will be no more Hamas.” According to the past Given the facts and what actually happened on the battlefield, this just seems like an unrealistic goal.
Looking back at the previous wars that took place in 2008 and 2014, we will find that the goal of “destroying Hamas” was the basic goal that Israel failed to achieve in most of its wars against Gaza, and we have no reason to think that it It can be achieved this time. Over time, the Hamas movement in particular has become stronger, more entrenched, and more deeply embedded in the Gaza Strip, and its military defenses and arsenal have been strengthened in a way that makes it difficult to penetrate, and it cannot, after all, not as a state or a regular army to declare surrender, but as a broad popular resistance movement on the path of the Palestinian struggle.
The war Israel doesn’t want
If war is a combat operation that requires the mobilization of a nation’s resources and capabilities to exert a specific combat effort and achieve military and political objectives, its scope includes moving fronts to achieve tactical objectives, as well as imposing certain conditions or conducting decisive battles to defeat” “the will of the enemy”, then this requires a leadership with a certain degree of consensus, as well as a well-trained, well-equipped, and high-morale military system with minimum combat effectiveness, appropriate confrontation plans and combat capabilities, as well as a unified and A cohesive internal, political and social front.
In addition, it requires an economic effort to understand the conditions that arise in a war and the surprises that occur in its course, as well as an international or regional front that understands or supports its war. If one or all of these foundations are lacking, victory will be difficult to achieve, especially if a protracted war requires sustained mobilization. In addition, the outcome of the war is also related to the “enemy’s” reaction, strength and tactics.So, is Israel prepared enough?
From the perspective of military capabilities, Israel always seems to be prepared for war on multiple fronts, but military technical capabilities and weapons alone cannot solve wars, especially in the absence of the effects of Israel’s preferred blitzkrieg, and In fact, Israel appears to be deficient in all of the above elements for winning a war.
- At a leadership level:Israel does not have a unified leadership with consensus or the necessary leadership, and current Prime Minister Netanyahu’s popularity is estimated to be at its lowest level.
A recent Israeli opinion poll conducted by the Israeli daily Maarif showed that only 27% of Israelis still support his remaining in office, while his political and military decisions have not been accepted and have been widely criticized. Furthermore, the course of the war demonstrated his indecision and lack of a clear and convincing plan of military or political action.
Netanyahu also refused to take responsibility for the security failure that occurred on October 7, which also exposed him to severe internal criticism. For example, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid believed that he had “crossed the line.” “red lines” and warned that attempts to evade responsibility and blame the security services for their actions would weaken the Israeli military.
- on the internal front: Israel’s internal fronts also appear to be fractured and deeply divided at partisan, popular and political levels, particularly over how to deal with the hostage problem created by the resistance, as well as the potential dangers of a ground war and its heavy losses.
Netanyahu and extremist members of his government have been accused of dividing Israeli society, with opposition Labor Party leader Merav Micheli accusing Prime Minister Netanyahu of “turning against the Israeli military and people.” In addition, the hostages held by the resistance have further escalated the situation in Israel, especially after Israeli Heritage Minister Amihay Eliyahu called for the nuclear bombing of Gaza – he said, “What does it mean to be kidnapped? In war, there is a price to pay. Why is the life of the abductee more precious than the life of the soldier?” The public believes that this shows that “the government will abandon its commitment to bring back the abductee.”
- Military Front:Operation Al-Aqsa Flood—especially the first six hours of October 7—demonstrated serious shortcomings in the Israeli military and its many security services, in addition to the daily losses that the Israeli military is sustaining in its current ground operations. , which also makes it constantly questioned by Israeli society, which needs to rely on this army to achieve its security and stability.
- Economic Situation:Israel’s economic situation is at its worst, with major sectors such as tourism stagnating, people traveling less, and the agricultural sector suffering. With the conscription of nearly 360,000 soldiers, the majority of whom were laborers, and the evacuation of nearly 250,000 settlers, severe labor shortages emerged in all areas of the country’s economy. In addition, Israel announced that the war has cost its budget nearly $7 billion in the past three weeks, and that does not take into account direct and indirect losses – which may reach the level of $3 billion per month. According to preliminary estimates from Israel, the Gaza war will cost Israel’s budget 200 billion shekels (approximately US$51 billion), accounting for about 10% of Israel’s gross domestic product. And as the war continues for a long time, the Israeli economy may Will be paralyzed.
- Diplomatic front:After October 7 this year, Western countries that have historically been biased towards Israel stepped in to support it. However, as the crimes committed by Israel and its ability to resolve the war were questioned, this line of support also began to be questioned. erosion, in addition to the fact that many countries have condemned Israel or severed diplomatic relations with it (such as Colombia and Bolivia), while others have recalled their ambassadors to Israel (such as Chile, Jordan, Bahrain, Turkey, and Honduras), There is also increasing pressure from the global public to implement boycott measures and actions on their host governments, leaving Israel in a situation of worsening isolation.
The United States has also changed from the direct support position it took at the beginning. On the contrary, the Biden administration has begun to re-examine its absolute support for Netanyahu and is worried that things will evolve into a widespread regional war. The United States also began to fear that Netanyahu would create some crazy scenes and worry that he would try to save its own future at the expense of the United States.
After about a month, Americans began to realize that the only constant in Israel’s plan was to use massive and destructive force against civilians and infrastructure in Gaza and wait for someone to emerge to save it from Gaza’s predicament. solution and fantasize about seeing the surrender of the resistance, but this will never happen. As a result, they began to question Israel’s management of the war and its outcome.
According to CNN, U.S. President Joe Biden and senior U.S. government officials warned Israel that as the human suffering caused by Israel’s crimes in Gaza continues to increase, global anger against it is also rising, and Israel Support gradually eroded as a result.
What happened on the battlefield?
In the course of the nearly month-long war, Israel did not appear to have made significant progress at the field level at the beginning of its ground operations. The conflicting statements illustrate confusion about how Israel will manage the war and set its ultimate goals in the face of fierce resistance. The shock and psychological trauma caused by the October 7 war to the entire Israeli military establishment still surrounds the entire process of the war.
This psychological atmosphere also enveloped Israeli soldiers, who realized that returning from the Gaza desert would be a miracle. They will recall the painful experiences of their comrades in the 2014 war and see their elite military brigades drowned in the Gaza sands in a battle that is still in its infancy.
According to reports, in actual operations, the Israeli army advanced a few meters into the open area in the northern Gaza Strip, but lost 30 soldiers. This means that if the Israeli army wanted to advance a few kilometers, then it Hundreds of soldiers could be lost. What they need to face is the local complex tunnel network, various defense methods, minefields, snipers, close-range street fighting, explosive devices, and the unlimited fighting will of the resistance forces.
Israel has no clear battle plan, but it has tended to make slow, calculated advances in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, it may take a long time and incur unaffordable heavy losses to achieve its much-questioned ultimate goal. At the same time, any significant military or political shift could lead to a situation in which the entire plan is undermined.
According to the current course of operations, Israel is losing up to five soldiers a day in the suburbs of Gaza without achieving a clear and effective military advance. Nahum Baniya, a reporter for Israel’s “New News” pointed out, “A war of attrition in the suburbs of Gaza is the last thing Israelis want to experience.”
Israeli military officials have realized that it is impossible to free the hostages through military means, but they have persisted in doing so despite internal pressure, despite the desire of the hostage families and the countries whose nationals are among the hostages to reach a prisoner exchange agreement. In this regard, Netanyahu believes that reaching such an agreement means the final recognition of failure and the victory of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movement.
The Cohesion of the Resistance and the Unplannedness of Israel
Public opinion in Israel fears that the war will fail on two or more fronts due to the failure to rescue or release the hostages. So far, 60 hostages have been killed in Israeli attacks, and this will not weaken the capabilities of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movement. In addition, a large number of soldiers will die – possibly thousands.
Unlike the painful military strike against Israel on October 7, Hamas and the resistance’s plan seems clear: to stop the war and conduct a full prisoner exchange, as well as lift the Israeli siege. Currently, they are conducting a war of attrition against the Israeli army, causing its losses to rise day by day. They seem to be ready for a long-term war, and Israel’s strength elements will be eroded in such a war.
If time is not on Israel’s side, it will lose more financial resources, manpower and legitimacy, its internal crisis will further worsen, the pressure and doubts around it will further increase, and regional tensions may erupt, And this is in the interest of the Palestinian resistance movement, which believes that all this military and political pressure from inside and outside will make Israel eventually succumb to its terms.
In this case, the war will end not only with Netanyahu’s defeat, but also with the defeat of his far-right government and its racist choices, as Israeli society has increasingly rejected various elements of this government level, and this war has also proved that despite the large number of tragedies caused by Israeli crimes in Gaza, Israel is still unable to impose the choice of surrender on the Palestinian people. In addition, the impact of these crimes has also made the international community more Be wary of and increasingly reject the Israeli narrative.
The international community has begun to realize that Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza amount to nothing more than a series of horrific daily massacres of civilians without any major military breakthroughs, and that they will come under intense internal and external pressure. Forced to fail, against the backdrop of Israel’s fear of massacres, the international community has begun to take serious action to stop this war.
The author Nadav Eyal pointed out in an article published in Israel’s “New News” that the Israeli army cannot be satisfied with the “victory image” in the Gaza War and the “mowing” policy (referring to reducing the threat to an acceptable level) ) era is over, he also pointed out that Israel needs a “real victory”, which also makes Prime Minister Netanyahu extremely embarrassed.
The main dilemma related to Netanyahu himself is that he does not want to get down from the tree he has climbed to the top since October 7, because he has realized that he is finished politically and is still In some ways linking his resurgence to the results he achieved in Gaza.
Netanyahu and his war cabinet acted impulsively under the shock of the October 7 attack without formulating a clear military plan for the war, relying mostly on the response of the Gaza resistance and its preparedness. Moreover, they There was no clear plan to release or exchange the hostages, or to respond to the escalating international protests. Netanyahu even began to quote the language of the “Old Testament” in his speeches to the Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza. And told them to “remember what Amalek did to you” (Amalek represents the most evil people in Jewish tradition) – words that Netanyahu has used more than once. Encourage the Israeli army to launch a war against Gaza.
Netanyahu’s losses are piling up on all fronts, as he attempts to erase his “Black Saturday” defeats, ignores his unpopular leadership, and faces a fragmented government. The military, an eroding economy, a tarnished international reputation, a divided domestic front, mounting military losses, and a growing United Nations disapproval of its crimes.