The Failure of Israeli Strategy: Living at the Whim of Hamas

UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Sunday, September 28 2014:

**Violence continues to permeate Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. Hardly an hour goes by that does not see Molotov cocktails, “rocks”, and even gunfire directed at Israeli citzens.

Early this morning, the area around Beitar Illit was particularly hard hit with Israeli motorists being wounded and traumatized by the incessant attacks.

The scene at one of the attacks early this morning.

The scene at one of the attacks early this morning.

** The fallout from Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the United Nations continues with the U.S. terming it a “provocation” and “counterproductive”, and Israeli ministers by the score condemning Abbas for what he is, a terrorist.

Infamous U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki even went so far on Friday to say that Abbas’ comment about Israel waging a war of “genocide” on Gaza was “insulting.” She went on to say that “Abbas’ speech today included offensive characterisations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject.”

What Psaki’s boss, John Kerry, really rejects of course is Abbas’ “It is impossible to return to negotiations” comment which he repeated twice. 

Of course, neither Psaki’s comments nor Kerry’s hurt feelings will stop Kerry and the Obama Administration from continuing to treat Abbas as a “partner for peace.”

**Another “of course”: what Abbas is really ticked off about is that the huge current emphasis on DAAS/IS has diverted international attention from Gaza. 

Moreover, his attempt to compare Israel’s actions in Gaza with those of DAAS/IS has fallen completely flat, as even the most anti-Israel observers are hard-pressed to avoid the comparison between the Islamist DAAS/IS and the Islamist Hamas.

**One of the more pertinent comments of yesterday came from Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett who noted that “Abu Mazen always find a soft spot for murderers, rocket launchers, and generally our enemies.”

But more than this, Bennett added: “The idea of a Palestinian state went flying away with the missiles fired at Ben Gurion airport and the knowledge that some of those firing those missiles were members of Abu Mazen’s own PLO.”

(Please note that Mahmoud Abbas and Abu Mazen are the same person–Abu Mazen is merely how Abbas is referred to in Arabic denoting the fact that his oldest son is named Mazen, hence “father of Mazen”).


So the truth is finally out.

According to a report in the Israeli media this morning, it is now revealed that Israel’s strategy in the recent war was never to eliminate Hamas or to get rid of its missiles and tunnels.

Instead, in the Cabinet meeting on July 7th (the meeting that took place on the day Israel finally decided to respond to Hamas missiles), the Cabinet unanimously approved a document that stated the following strategy:

“To significantly hurt Hamas’ military abilities and achieve long-term quiet in the entire Palestinian arena including Judea and Samaria.” 

As encompassing as the phrase “military abilities” may be, your humble servant finds its remarkable that no reference was made to “missiles” or “tunnels”.  In fact, in the latter regard, there is every reason to believe that on July 7th, the government had no idea at all about the extent of the tunnel problem.

This strategy, by the way, did not emanate from the Cabinet itself; it was a product of the IDF Planning Branch–which was (and is) apparently terrified that should Hamas be completely defeated and eliminated, Gaza would descend into anarchy.

According to the same report, an IDF source commented:

“We realized that it’s better for the State of Israel at this time to have an effective sovereign state in Gaza. We need someone to serve as a recipient of the deterrence we are creating.”

In other words, “thank goodness we have Hamas because the situation could be much worse” (see a previous israelstreet blog about the good guys and the bad guys).

The bottom line is that, as usual, the IDF General Command was thrashing about for any excuse it could come up with to avoid taking out Hamas once and for all. And it found a more than receptive ear in Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision to commit Israeli ground forces to Gaza, even in an extremely limited way, die not take place until more than a week later when Naftali Bennett discovered how Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was covering up the tunnel threat.

So did Israel achieve its goal of “significantly hurting Hamas’ military abilities and achieving long-term quiet in the entire Palestinian arena including Judea and Samaria?”

Of course not.

Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem continue to explode in violence everyday; nine mortars and missiles have been fired into southern Israel since the latest ceasefire, and however much Hamas may have been hurt it is rapidly replenishing its weapons.

As a senior Hamas spokesman said yesterday: “We are the ones who determine security for the Israeli communities around Gaza, not Netanyahu.”

How unfortunately true that is. We all live at the whim of Hamas. 


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