The Tunnel Conundrum: The Gaza War and Israel's Strategic Failures

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The Tunnel Conundrum: The Gaza War and Israel's Strategic Failures
The Tunnel Conundrum: The Gaza War and Israel's Strategic Failures
It has been almost three months since the beginning of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, and the internal criticisms and challenges faced by the Israeli regime continue to mount. Of particular concern is the increasing criticism regarding the Israeli army's strategic approach to the conflict in Gaza.

By: H. Zaïm-Bashi



Numerous Israeli generals, some of whom have held senior positions within the army, have voiced their discontent with the strategic level of the war. Their collective sentiment can be distilled into a singular conclusion: the war's objectives remain unattained, and under the current circumstances, it is evident that these goals shall remain elusive.



The unprecedented successful attacks launched by Hamas on October 7 still reverberate as a seismic shock throughout Israeli society, catching the defense, intelligence, and security organizations totally off guard. As a matter of fact, the courage with which Hamas orchestrated the assault left the very foundations of the Zionist regime humiliated.



Among the critics casting a discerning eye on the Zionist army's defeat in Gaza is Major General (Res.) Yitzhak Brik, a distinguished figure within the Israeli military establishment. Having directly participated in the wars of 1967 and 1973, Brik's pedigree as a high-ranking military and strategic expert renders his analysis and commentary in Israeli media and publications invaluable.



In a recent op-ed published in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, General Brik lamented the current state of affairs within the army and its handling of the Gaza war. He emphatically stated, "As time elapses, we find ourselves increasingly distanced from the attainment of our war objectives – the eradication of Hamas and the liberation of Israeli captives. Instead, we find ourselves sinking deeper into the quagmire of Gaza. In times of war, circumstances often necessitate a reassessment of the chosen course of action. Regrettably, this is precisely the situation we face today. It has become abundantly clear that the army will not achieve its desired objectives – namely, the overthrow of the Hamas government and the decimation of its fighting capabilities. At present, there is no intention to occupy Rafah due to the operational complexities involved. Consequently, the Hamas tunnels reaching to Egypt, as well as its connection with Khan Yunis and beyond, will persist, unabated. Thus, there will be no severing of Hamas' access to weaponry. The military achievements secured by Israel thus far hold little strategic value and do not amount to triumph in this war."



General Brik further elaborated, stating, "The failure to dismantle the Hamas government in Rafah and to gain control over the tunnels beneath it signifies a profound failure on our part. Even if we were to destroy over a thousand tunnel openings, the fact remains that Hamas possesses several thousand more."



Yossi Cohen, the former head of Mossad, Israel’s notorious spy agency, joined the chorus of criticism, declaring, "The recent assassination in the den of Hezbollah in southern Beirut was Netanyahu's desperate bid, and it certainly will not be his last. He is drowning, and he is dragging us towards destruction alongside him."



The Israeli officials maintain that they are close to achieving their stated goal, despite their failure to vanquish Hamas. However, the evidence at hand suggests that the Zionist forces have exhibited significant weaknesses in various military aspects of their ongoing barbaric campaign.



By closely examining the situation in Gaza, it becomes evident that Hamas' losses are grossly exaggerated by the Israeli regime. A conservative estimate suggests that the number of Hamas fighters killed to date stands at 3,500, which amounts to a mere 20 percent of their frontline personnel. This translates to a ratio of 20 Hamas fighters killed for every Israeli soldier. In traditional warfare, any commander would eagerly embrace such a ratio as an unequivocal victory. However, this is not an ordinary war. Hamas fighters are propelled by an ideological fervor that imbues death with heavenly triumph. The fallen are revered as martyrs, whose memory perpetually fuels the spirit of resistance. On the other hand, Israelis witness the tangible consequences of the loss of their sons, husbands, and brothers, perceiving death as synonymous with nothing but defeat.



Another pressing issue lies in Israel's failure to decisively neutralize the Hamas tunnel network, despite the Zionist army’s claim of possessing decisive military superiority.



Beyond the annihilation of Hamas, Israel's incursion into Gaza also aimed to secure the release of remaining prisoners. However, not only did this objective remain elusive, but the Israeli regime also inadvertently caused the deaths of three of its captives.



Nevertheless, Israel's most glaring failure has been its attempt to convince the international community of its commitment to minimizing civilian casualties and adhering to international law. Statements that dehumanize Palestinians, such as referring to them as "human animals" by figures like Israeli Major General Ghassan Alian, have only engendered disgust rather than solidarity. It is worth noting that Alian belongs to the Arab Druze community that has historically faced discrimination within Israel.



However, the most egregious failure of Israel's military campaign pertains to its deliberate, disproportionate, and brutal tactics, resulting in the deaths of over 20,000 civilians. Such casualties are unequivocally unacceptable in the court of global public opinion. In essence, the killing of civilians sheds light on several issues that indicate shortcomings in the operational performance of the Zionist army. These include a lack of adequate training to differentiate between combatants and non-combatants, a flagrant disregard for the lives of those on the verge of surrender, and the extreme psychological strain experienced by war-weary soldiers without sufficient access to psychological support. Other potential factors contributing to these failures involve an inadequate understanding of the conditions on the battlefield among high-ranking military commanders, as well as instances where commanders may have been appointed based on unsuitable personality traits, rendering them ill-equipped to follow orders and make sound decisions.



In sum, it is evident that, aside from the formidable challenge posed by Hamas, the Israeli army grapples with serious internal issues that demand immediate attention. Simultaneously, there are indications that many senior officers harbor distrust towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, preferring a leader who prioritizes the military's interests over personal political agendas.
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