The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas sees Israel gearing up for a decisive ground offensive. The Israeli military has been assembling significant force contingents along both the Gaza border and the northern frontier with Lebanon. The deployment comes amidst underlying apprehensions that the conflict may witness the involvement of Hezbollah, sharing Iranian support with Hamas.
U.S. Reinforces its Support
The international dynamics of the situation were underscored by the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel. Arriving at a time when Israel is rallying its troops for a potential ground incursion, Blinken’s visit is seen as a clear sign of U.S. backing for Israel.
Israel’s Shift in Strategy
In a move that indicates Israel’s intent to change the long-standing status quo, the army announced that it aims to dismantle Hamas in Gaza. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari of the Israel Defense Forces expressed that, unlike previous operations, Israel’s focus will be on “collapsing the governance and sovereignty of the Hamas organization.” In line with this, Israel has activated 360,000 reservists, and armored divisions are observed amassing near the Gaza border.
Forming a War-time Cabinet
Given the gravity of the situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior opposition figure Benny Gantz have forged a war-time cabinet. This move demonstrates the nation’s commitment to unified action, emphasizing that the country’s future is paramount.
Potential Challenges of the Invasion
The forthcoming ground offensive in Gaza is expected to surpass the 2014 invasion in terms of duration and intensity. One of the primary objectives will be to neutralize Hamas’s extensive underground tunnel network. In the past, Israeli forces primarily operated on the outskirts of urban areas. However, the military is now suggesting a readiness to penetrate even the most densely populated zones where hostages, taken by Hamas, are believed to be held.
Moreover, while Israel’s advanced weaponry is a strategic advantage, the challenges lie in navigating Gaza’s dense urban landscape and dealing with the sophisticated tunnel system that Hamas has been cultivating for years.
Israel’s Future Plans for Gaza
Insights from Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli military intelligence, reveal that Israel’s objective post the invasion would be to transfer Gaza to the Palestinian Authority or another Arab entity. Despite this, Israel would retain its right to counteract any militant buildup in the region.