Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mindless in Gaza

Do the leaders of Hamas truly believe that they can terrorize Israelis and score a victory against the State of Israel by firing hundreds of missiles at us?  I think the answer to that question is "yes!"  From our perspective it cannot work and it can never do any real damage, not only do we have the Iron Dome anti-missile system that is intercepting 90% of rockets fired at populated areas, but the Israeli public is very resilient.  We have been through a lot worse, and we know that we can and must stick it out.  So far no Israeli has been killed by the hundreds of rockets that have been fired into Israel (approx 800 in the past week) and one person was badly injured today when a rocket struck a gas station in Ashdod.  Even though Israel is a very densely populated country (apart from the Negev) nevertheless without targeting, just firing dumbly into space, they can never hope to score a major success. 
By contrast, the IAF response is targeted and uses specific intelligence, a much more intelligent and effective way of destroying an enemy.  If you destroy 25% of any organization it will cease to be able to function effectively, that is what we must aim to do in relation to Hamas, render it unable to function.  They have put billions of dollars worth of money, most of it contributed by the EU and the US as well as UNRWA for humanitarian purposes, in buying and manufacturing rockets and missiles.  They have dug launching silos below ground and constructed a network of inter-connecting tunnels and command centers below ground.  Although much of this can be destroyed by IAF bombs, it needs men on the ground to actually go in and root it out.  If the Netanyahu Coalition does not have the guts to follow up the softening process of air attacks with a ground offensive, then in another few years the same will happen again, as it has before, and another Israeli government will in the future face the same dilemma.
Many reasons have been proposed for the current timing of the massive barrage of rockets from Gaza, including the rounding up of the Hamas organization in the West Bank by Israel following the murder of the three Israeli boys.  But, I think this is an excuse, a fortunate opportunity that Hamas has been waiting for.  Their main reason for this onslaught is that they have for years been accumulating the rockets and building the infrastructure, and they were looking for an opportune moment to carry out their plan. I think they also wanted to grab some headlines in competition with the success of the Islamic forces in Iraq.  As I said, I think they truly believe that this onslaught would deal a death blow to Israel.  They think we are weak and stupid, and they can't help thinking otherwise, because that is what their religion and culture tell them.  Jews were for so long defenceless, inferior Dhimmis, how could they stand up against the forces of Allah.
There have been many cases where a military leader has underestimated his foe due to cultural bias or racism, for example Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer ignored sage advice and rode out against a superior force of Sioux in 1876, and you know what happened.  In WWI, the British in the Middle East underestimated the Turks at Galipolli and at Gaza, at the cost of many thousands of Allied soldiers lives (for further examples see "Military blunders," June 11, 2014).  The leaders of Hamas are said to be surprised by the ferocity and strength of the Israeli retaliation, much as Hizbollah was last time they tested the IDF.  But, because the IDF has never been allowed to finish the job, Israel's deterrent capability has been blunted.  To change their cultural bias that Jews are weak and easy prey they must unfortunately be taught a lesson much as Egypt, Syria and Jordan were in 1967 and 1973.  


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