27 August 2014
Israeli destruction of Gazan infrastructure has turned the strip into a modern day Dresden. But returning Gaza to the Stone Age has not stopped Hamas, the Islamist militia in control of the territory, from inflicting significant political and psychological damage on Israel. Israeli military and intelligence sources fear that fundamental Israeli intelligence failures have put Hamas in a position to increase Israel’s political cost and determine when Israel’s longest war against the Palestinians will end.
Already, Israel’s almost two-month old war against Hamas has shifted from a sledgehammer approach intended to shock the Islamist militia into accepting Israeli demands for demilitarization into the one thing Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had wanted to avoid: a war of attrition that would strengthen his right-wing critics at home and risk Israel losing control of ceasefire negotiations in which Egypt did Israel’s bidding.
Hamas’ refusal to bow to Israeli military superiority as well as its uncompromising insistence on a lifting of the eight-year old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip and the right to furnish it with an airport and sea port caught Israel by surprise. Hamas’ steadfastness leaves Israel with few good options: continuation of a war of attrition that works in Hamas’ favour; unilaterally declaring an end to the war that would be rendered meaningless by the continued launching of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza; and/or accepting in the face of failure of Egypt’s biased mediation a shifting of efforts to end the fighting to the United Nations where Israel is likely to get a less sympathetic hearing.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 29/08/2014