Wed 08 Nov 2023 1:37 pm - Jerusalem Time

"Haaretz": The picture of the battles in Gaza is more complex than the one that Netanyahu is trying to export

The Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" reported that the picture of the battles in the Gaza Strip is more complex than the one that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to portray as achieving a "tremendous success," noting that the size of the tunnels and their complexities are greater than what the Israeli intelligence services knew.

The newspaper added, through an analytical article published by military analyst Amos Harel on Wednesday, based in part on information obtained from army leaders, that part of the successes that Israel is talking about may be the result of Hamas’ attempts to maintain its strength for the next stages of the war.

The writer explained that the intelligence information collected by Israel about Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza does not reflect their true size, extent of development, or complexity, and does not come close to the size of this project on the ground.

Harel believes that an essential part of achieving success depends on the issue of tunnels. “It has gradually become clear to the Israeli army that everything that Israeli intelligence knew about the defense tunnel system dug by Hamas does not come close to the size and complexity of this project, which is perhaps the largest of its kind in the world.” According to intelligence officials in the West and in Israel, the organization’s leadership and military wing have built capabilities that allow them to stay in the tunnels for several months.”

On the other hand, the writer referred to statements by Israeli Security Minister Yoav Gallant that “Israel has developed new technological capabilities in order to destroy tunnels.”

The picture of war is more complex

Harel quoted officers in the Israeli army, who are leading the battle in Gaza, and from other officials who are managing it in the General Staff, that the picture of the war is more complex than what is portrayed.

However, the writer points out that the leaders in the Israeli army are “satisfied, and even surprised, for the better by the professional level of the ground forces in the second week of the ground incursion into Gaza. They praise the determination and fighting spirit (among the occupation soldiers) and the cooperation between the air force and the intelligence agencies, but still There are questions about the extent of Hamas’ willingness to continue the war now.”

The newspaper recalled that the day before yesterday, Monday, witnessed “a few incidents, given that Israeli army forces are encircling Gaza City and are active on its southern and western outskirts, and yesterday the fighting was more intense.”

Haaretz added: “But there is still the impression that Hamas prefers in some places to keep its members in underground tunnels, and in the face of the large forces of the Israeli army, to send only small groups that focus on firing anti-tank missiles from close range and trying to place explosive devices on tanks.” "And armored personnel carriers. Hamas may want to preserve most of its power this way."

The writer believes that the fact that Hamas refuses at this stage any actual negotiations regarding the release of a large number of Israeli prisoners may also indicate that its leadership does not currently see the situation as critical.

Harel indicated that the past two days witnessed a certain decrease in the volume of rocket firing towards the Tel Aviv area, and this may be due to two reasons, in his opinion: “The difficulty of Hamas launching rockets from the northern Gaza Strip in light of the Israeli army attacks, and the desire to leave enough medium-sized rockets.” "The scope for the next stages of the fighting."

“An idea or ideology cannot be eliminated.”

The writer pointed out that the length of the war with this size of forces may not last long, and that the United States, which supports the Israeli operation to defeat Hamas, is in return pressing for longer humanitarian truces, sending signals that in the near future there will be a need to study changing the form of fighting.

Meanwhile, the Southern Command of the Israeli army wants several more months to complete the operation to strike Hamas, especially in the northern Gaza Strip, and to carefully comb these areas with the aim of striking the resistance and collecting weapons.

Regarding the reality that the Israeli army wants to depict for the day after the war, Harel said that the answers are “unclear” at this stage.

He stated that the prevailing thinking in the army is that it is possible to dismantle the military and organizational power of Hamas, but not eliminate it completely, because an idea or ideology cannot be eliminated.

However, the prevailing idea, according to the author, is that the continuation of intense attacks on Hamas will eventually lead to change, and that the increasing pressure on its formations in the northern Gaza Strip and the loss of its military capabilities, “will enhance a future settlement in which Arab and international powers participate, while removing Hamas from the game.” politics in the Palestinian arena.

The Israeli military analyst believes that the plan is somewhat ambiguous and full of gaps, especially regarding the later stages, “but it at least addresses these questions (about the aftermath of the war). While Netanyahu displeases the Americans, he refuses to talk to them about the desired final conditions.” .


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