The terrorist organizations in Gaza have already launched more than 3,000 rockets at the civilian population in Israel. They tried to carry out dozens of anti-tank missile attacks on civilian and military targets in Israel near Gaza. In addition, the IDF successfully intercepted dozens of explosive device-carrying UAVs launched against its nearby towns and villages.
Although six Israeli civilians (by rockets) and one soldier were killed (by an anti-tank missile), it is clear that Hamas is experiencing a huge operational failure in the current military confrontation. It thought it would surprise Israel from the air, land, underground and the sea, and deter Israel from acting against it. Israel has thwarted most of Hamas’s attempts to achieve operational-strategic success.
Yet, during the current military conflict, Hamas achieved a series of achievements in which it can flaunt against its operators and the Gaza population. Among the rocket fire at the Jerusalem area, hundreds of rocket launched toward the center region only – including Tel-Aviv – in a short period of time, the temporary closure of Ben-Gurion Airport followed.
Through antisemitic incitement and anti-Israeli propaganda, Hamas managed to cause masses of Israeli Arabs to carry out riots and pogroms against Jews, destruction of private and public property, transportation and public buildings, burning synagogues, stone throwing, roadblocks and looting. In terms of Hamas, this is another war zone.
Even this is not an operational achievement in the military confrontation itself. The fact that Israel is busy in dealing with another arena, mainly internal, is for Hamas an operational advantage. For Hamas, this is a first-rate strategic achievement. It received what it wanted: to be perceive as the Muslim protector and the saver of Jerusalem in the eyes of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and even Israeli Arabs.
Israel should eliminate high officials from the military and “political” arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, destroying many more residential towers and governmental infrastructure (that constitute a symbol of Hamas and operational structures), continue the destruction of the “underground city” of Hamas (underground tunnels used by Hamas for command and control, storage of weapons and hiding terrorists), and demolish neighborhoods from which Hamas and the terrorist organizations operate.
The writer is a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.