[News] Netanyahu is losing hope for a victorious end to his Gaza offensive

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 18 17:09:48 EDT 2021


middleeastmonitor.com
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210518-netanyahu-is-losing-hope-for-a-victorious-end-to-his-gaza-offensive/>
Netanyahu
is losing hope for a victorious end to his Gaza offensive
Motasem A Dalloul - May 18, 2021
------------------------------

The Israeli occupation army — the so-called Israel Defence Forces (IDF) —
has been bombarding the besieged Gaza Strip in an attempt to destroy the
infrastructure of the Palestinian resistance movements which responded to
the brutal Israeli aggression against the Palestinian worshippers in
Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque, and the proposed dispossession of Palestinian
families from Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The resistance
groups warned Israel about its violations in Jerusalem, but Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and his government ignored them. Instead, the right-wing
Israeli leader believed that he had found the opportunity to portray
himself yet again as the saviour of his country from the resistance
"terrorists" in Gaza, and thus boost his chance of staying on as prime
minister.

Netanyahu consulted his warmonger of a Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, who
as Chief of Staff of the army in 2014 bragged about returning Gaza "to the
Stone Age". The result of their discussion was another military offensive
against the largely civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Hence, as soon
as the Palestinian resistance fired seven rockets towards Jerusalem in an
effort to stop Israel's violence against Jerusalemites and Al Aqsa Mosque,
Netanyahu gave the go-ahead for the offensive on 10 May.

[image: Al-Aqsa will remain in the Palestinians' hearts - Cartoon
[Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]]

Al-Aqsa will remain in the Palestinians' hearts – Cartoon
[Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

"I said that we would strike Hamas and the other terrorist organisations
very hard, and we are doing just that," he said arrogantly. The operation,
he noted, targeted the tunnel network built by Hamas, referred to by Israel
as "the Metro". A day later, Netanyahu bragged about the achievements of
the Israeli army. "In the last 24 hours, we have attacked underground
targets," he said. "Hamas thought that it could hide there but it cannot
hide there."

He depended on the strategic plan prepared by the Israeli army to turn the
tunnels into death traps. Instead, the offensive started by killing a
number of children, to which Netanyahu paid no attention. When he was asked
by a journalist for a comment, he avoided a direct answer. Israel, he
insisted, will not tolerate having "terrorist" groups firing rockets at it.
"Israel has responded forcefully to these attacks and will continue to
respond forcefully."

Israeli journalist Amos Harel covers military and security issues for
*Haaretz*
<https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-israeli-army-deployed-a-secret-strategic-weapon-and-reaped-limited-benefits-1.9812033>.
"In recent years," he wrote, "the IDF has identified a trend – that Hamas
will move its activists into the many kilometres of tunnels under Gaza in
times of emergency – and has developed a plan for turning the tunnels into
a death trap for Hamas combatants in the event that another high-intensity
round of fighting broke out. It appears that military intelligence managed
to crack open Hamas's secret and systematically map the network of tunnels
and underground headquarters which were built at great cost."

The IDF even misguided the media intentionally regarding a ground operation
as part of the plan to destroy the tunnel network. The intention, according
to several Israeli military experts, was to tempt the Palestinian
resistance fighters to enter the tunnels, and then attack them. This is not
how it played out, though. Instead, a large number of civilian structures
and homes were destroyed, killing dozens of non-combatants, mainly women
and children.

Whenever he was asked about a ceasefire, Netanyahu said that time was still
needed to complete the mission. When asked how much time, he replied: "This
will take time. There's pressure [for a ceasefire] but we are getting
considerable support, first and foremost from the US."

The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, also bragged about
the "achievements
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/southern-communities-pounded-by-gaza-rockets-pm-fighting-will-take-more-time/>"
of the tunnel operation. "Hamas made a serious mistake and did not assess
us correctly," he claimed, pointing out the damage that the army has
inflicted on the movement's capabilities, particularly its underground
infrastructure. Kochavi said that his troops had "heavily damaged Hamas's
flagship project. Hamas's missile production capabilities have also been
badly hit."

In this respect, the chief of staff was lying. His army spokespersons are
doing the same: they're telling lies. Since Saturday night, the Israelis
have pounded a certain area in Gaza with an air, sea and ground barrage of
missiles destroying homes, damaging civilian infrastructure and killing
innocent people, while claiming that they were targeting "terrorists" and
rocket launchers.

[image: Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising...-
Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]]

Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising…- Cartoon
[Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Over the past three nights, dozens of Palestinian families have been
partially or completely slaughtered. Their names deserve to be remembered:
Al Tanani, Al Hadidi, Abu Hatab and Abul Ouf among others. Around 60
children, 30 women and two prominent doctors have been killed by the
Israeli bombardment. They were not terrorists by any stretch of the
imagination. The Israeli army could only produce a number of blurred
satellite images to "prove" the military nature of the targets which had
been destroyed. Moreover, the army has not been able to name any of the
"senior resistance figures" that it claims to have killed.

Several resistance leaders and members have been killed, and some of the
resistance infrastructures have been destroyed, but not to the extent
promised by Netanyahu. "Despite Israel's impressive destruction of Hamas
tunnels over the weekend, it refuses to specify how many Hamas activists
were killed," said Amos Harel. "The army was only able to reap limited
benefit."

According to Israeli journalist Shimrit Meir, "We are paying a high price
for what is happening in Gaza. Damage to the home front, economy, politics
and to Israel's image. These things need years to be repaired and some of
them are unrepairable at all."

*Al-Hodhod* also reported Israeli journalist and political advisor Eldad
Yaniv as saying: "Netanyahu is confused and he does not know how to end the
operation in order to save himself and save his position. So far, there has
not been any deterrence for the rockets which did not stop. The airport is
closed and the 'clever' Kochavi is telling us 'we still in the beginning'."

The *Times of Israel* reported that "some Israeli officials" admitted that
the rate of the rocket fire "was unexpected" and noted that, "In
closed-door meetings, the issue of flawed intelligence on Hamas's
long-range rockets was also raised."

Meir pointed out that the ongoing battle is "unusual" because of the
clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel, the potential uprising in the
occupied West Bank and possible provocations from Hezbollah in Lebanon,
Israel's northern neighbour.

One Israeli journalist proposed an escape route for Netanyahu, recalling
what the US Senator George Aiken advised the then-President Lyndon Johnson
to do when he did not know how to end the war in Vietnam: "Say we won and
get out."

I think this will work with Netanyahu better than any other options because
the Palestinian resistance groups insist that he must meet their demands,
especially those related to the provocative settler incursions at Al Aqsa
Mosque and the dispossession of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.
He is losing hope for a clear-cut victorious end to his Gaza offensive, so
he should learn from history and follow Aiken's advice.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.
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