It appears that Israel is preparing a foot invasion of Gaza.
In the following twenty-four hours, 1.1 million inhabitants in the northern part of the strip are instructed to go south by its troops. Tens of thousands of soldiers, tanks, and artillery are being gathered on the boundary of the area in the meantime.
However, it is a risky operation to send ground soldiers into Gaza’s heavily populated metropolitan regions.
Furthermore, it’s unclear how big an attack on the ground could be and how long it would last.
When might that occur?
It’s time to begin the choreography required for a ground attack.
A veteran of both the IDF and earlier operations in Gaza, Major General Amos Gilead, said that Israel’s first goal ought to be establishing a unity government in order to garner public support for the country’s next move.
Israel has been able to garner global backing thanks to previous high-level foreign engagements by senior US as European leaders; nevertheless, if the conflict rages on and the toll of civilian casualties rises, this solidarity may start to erode.
Any military effort that results in significant Israeli military deaths will also test Israel’s resolve.
Israel has already gathered its forces close to the Gaza border in order to make military preparations. The activation of some 300,000 reservists has been accompanied by a standing force of above 160,000.
Getting ready for the attack
First and foremost, Israel had to protect its borders and eliminate Hamas fighters who had gone across, slaughtered over 1,300 civilians, and abducted at least 150 more.
Israel has already launched many airstrikes against the infrastructure and military leadership of Hamas. In the previous six days, its air force had dropped over 6,000 bombs on Gaza. During the Libyan crisis in 2011, NATO allies released 7,700 people.
The bombardment in Palestine has resulted in almost 1,500 people dead or injured.
Israelis were prepared for an attack for generations, even if the details of it remain under wraps. It has been instructing soldiers in an expensive urban warfare in the southern center, known as “mini-Gaza.”
The tunnels and urban combat zones
Former IDF commander and national security advisor Major General Yaakov Amidror admits that defeating Hamas will be difficult. He claims that at entry points and along small streets, Hamas will have placed booby traps and improvised explosive devices.
Israel estimates that Hamas possesses 30,000 fighters. They have rocket-propelled grenades, semiautomatic rifles, & anti-tank missiles (like Kornets and Fagots) in their arsenal.
Furthermore, Hamas continues to hold large missile stockpile that it is currently firing into Israel. According to Yaakov Katz, Hamas has also been building its own miniature drones, some of which are suicide drones. According to him, Hamas might also possess a very small number of shoulder-launched, short-range surface-to-air missiles. In contrast to Israel, they lack artillery, tanks, and armored cars.
The hostages’ fate
What happens to the Israeli hostages hampers any ground attack.
Major General Gilead participated in the talks that ultimately resulted in Israeli soldier Samuel Shalit’s liberation after he was detained by Hamas for five years, from 2006 to 2011. In the end, he was traded for over a thousand Palestinian detainees.
Maj. Gen Gilead notes that “if we don’t do something concrete, we might find ourselves facing greater problems,” yet military personnel must consider their fate.
Maj Gen Amidror asserts that the hostages won’t stop anything from happening. “We will fight Hamas to the end, and we will have to find those hostages during the operation.”
What’s Israel’s objective?
Israel says that their objective is to eliminate Hamas.
Maj Gen Gilead, who served in the IDF for 30 years, believes it goes beyond previous Israeli operations inside Gaza, which were “mainly about containment”.
He states, “We need to do something far more dramatic” this time. Decisive military action will also discourage Israel’s other rivals in the region – especially Hezbollah and Iran.
According to Ms. Katz, for example, Israel’s goals will be more practical: making sure Gaza is never again allowed to threaten Israel militarily.He states that the nation of Israel “don’t intend to re-occupy Hamas and has the duty of taking care of a million people who are hostile to Israel.”.
However, historical evidence suggests that invasions rarely go as expected.
Even the greatest Modern armies can easily become stale; just consider what transpired with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more recently, Russia in Ukraine.
Although a military campaign within Gaza is not on that scale—it is only 25 miles (40 km) long—the outcome is far from certain, according to Lieutenant General Sir Tom Beckett of the Institute of Strategic Studies.
“The truth is that there aren’t any viable choices for an Israeli ground campaign in Gaza. The people will continue to support the resistance movement and Hamas’s political imperative, regardless of the operation’s success in dismantling the organization.
“Israel either reoccupies Gaza to control it or, by withdrawing after an offensive, cedes ground to people for whom the resistance exists.”