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An operational view of Hamas’ asymmetric war against Israel

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An operational view of Hamas’ asymmetric war against Israel

An asymmetric war was suddenly sparked by Hamas against the Israelis. IDF will focus on the war effort, what are the Objectives and Possible Scenarios?

An asymmetric war was suddenly sparked by Hamas against the Israelis. IDF will focus on the war effort, what are the Objectives and Possible Scenarios?

Since mid-September, the Hamas organization has orchestrated demonstrations and low-intensity incidents in various locations along the Gaza Strip border fence in order to monitor Israeli reactions and find possible gaps in the security system. At the same time, while preparing infrastructure for the start of riots, it made sure to mislead the Israelis so as not to lose control of events and surprise them on a festive day when all families gathered in a festive mood. At the same time, throughout this four-week period, there were recorded events and riots in the form of escalations regarding the use of firearms (mainly shooting at IDF soldiers) and scattered detonations of explosive charges.

The working hypothesis for Hamas has been the exploitation as Israel preferred to contain provocations in order to avoid deterioration in the security sector and beyond, in part because of internal malaise and the government’s limited room for manoeuvre. Thus, with its activity along the fence, Hamas had been able to realize a number of its important and essential goals in the foreground. Such as shifting internal criticism and pressure towards Israel, putting pressure on Israel to increase the number of work permits, and mitigating criticism of the terrorist system in the West Bank.

To these provocations by Hamas, despite the serious potential for escalation, there had been a restrained response from Israel, which had continued to erode its deterrence against other actors in the region. Moreover, these actions fueled or encouraged the Palestinian terrorist system in the territories and created a comfortable space for Hamas to continue its provocations. Israel thus faced an uncontrolled escalation in the Gaza Strip, and perhaps at an opportune moment a further escalation of terrorism in the West Bank, while Hamas continues to undermine the Palestinian Authority and weaken it in a way that does not serve Israeli interests. It is not excluded that Hamas acted with the help and encouragement of Tehran and Ankara.

Hamas’ asymmetric war is not only a surprise and the result of a failure of the Mossad intelligence system as it did not work as it should and expected, but also operational failures, which will remain in the national consciousness for many years to come. Hamas’ attack is the price of a mixture of delusional self-confidence and naïve sentimentality, an addiction to calm.

We all know that there is cooperation and coordination between Hamas and Hezbollah acting as Iran’s proxies, while both refer to themselves as «axis of resistance». In the latest asymmetric attack by Hamas terrorists, it is assessed that their four motives were:

1.to bring the Palestinian issue into the spotlight of international discussions;
2.to obtain the release of its imprisoned troops through a prisoner exchange;
3.to stop the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which was done in an orderly manner and would change the balance in the Middle East (This approach made the Tel Aviv-Riyadh duo a strong pole in the Middle East while annoying both Iran and Turkey);
4.to prevent the restrictive measures imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip.

So far it seems that we have a Palestinian performance without military objectives and without Hezbollah involvement focusing only on political objectives, shifting international attention to Gaza. Taking in account that the IDF is ready for war along its borders, it is estimated that Hezbollah will avoid fighting at the moment. From Israel’s point of view, three scenarios can be taking place:
First, IDF will mobilize in the South to respond with strong retaliation against terrorists by showing restraint and solidarity with the Palestinian people, without opening a totalitarian front. The second scenario develops a step further, which would involve aerial bombardment and military attack for a few days. And the third scenario is a prolonged military campaign in all directions.

Israel declared a state of war after fifty years, and this is of great importance operationally, since it will determine the strategic purpose and objectives of the military campaign. The strategic goal is believed to be to pursue a fundamental change in the status of Hamas and its influence on the Palestinians. Hamas’ center of gravity is its military capabilities, and therefore a strong attack on Hamas’ military capabilities and leadership is expected, with the aim of weakening Hamas’ influence on the terrorist system in the West Bank, and Iran’s influence in the Palestinian arena, as well as enhancing the image of Israeli power and deterring enemies. who may see Hamas’ attack as confirmation that the time is ripe to attack Israel from many fronts in order to annihilate it.

Personally, I believe that everyone is trying to avoid the third scenario, which I will also call a scenario of chaos, as it will trigger uncontrollable situations by widening the war.

Besides, this is clear with the sending of a strong US aero-naval presence in the region. Also, Hezbollah does not want to get involved in war at this time because of the situation in Lebanon (economic and political crisis, presence of 2 million Syrian immigrants and negative criticism). We expect low tense movement of Hezbollah troops to the border with Israel and some acts of solidarity with Hamas. Israel will react to send the message that it is strong and will confront its enemies with determination but within the framework of proportionality. For there to be a generalized war, Iran must be involved. If Iran is not attacked, it will remain in the background.

In conclusion, I do not believe that we will have a totalitarian war. However, the longer the war lasts, due to the frictions of war, the closer we will be to the scenario of chaos, so great caution and restraint are required. This is the conclusion I am led to as it would not be in the interest of the US (especially at this time) such a conflict, which sets the stabilization it seeks to have in the Middle East and the Levant in particular at risk, starting with the Abraham Accords, which will be tested if Israel reacts with full destructive force in the Gaza Strip for Hamas, as well as convergence with Saudi Arabia could blow up. If he reacts unchecked, the convergence effort will be over for many years.

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