‘We could have taken Gaza in a week, but that wasn’t our mission,’

By YAAKOV LAPPIN, JPOST

08/04/2014 03:32

It would take a week to take Gaza, and up to two years to destroy terrorist infrastructure,” the source said.

TANKSHad the IDF been ordered to, it could have seized the whole of the Gaza Strip in a week, and spent up to two years taking apart Hamas’s guerrilla army, but this has not been the goal of the operation thus far, a senior military source said Sunday.

“Had we been ordered to defeat Hamas, we would have done it. We would have drafted four divisions, evacuated the Gazan population from battlegrounds, conquered the area and scanned it thoroughly.

It would take a week to take Gaza, and up to two years to destroy terrorist infrastructure,” the source said.

 

In such a scenario, “A guerrilla war would have started. This was not the mission given to the IDF, and rightfully so,” the source said. “The IDF divided up Gaza dozens of times, most recently in Operation Cast Lead [in 2009]. Every brigade can do it. The question is, what is the aim?” The goal of the offensive was not to topple Hamas, but to create a better security environment for Israel, the source continued.

At the same time, he warned, “The IDF has a range of plans. We are prepared for everything.”

“The Israeli interest is for there to be one address in Gaza,” the source said. “We want one element to control Gaza. That’s why toppling Hamas has not been set as a goal. Who would be responsible for Gaza on the day after? Hence, Israel hit very strongly, but not enough to topple Hamas.”

Nevertheless, if Hamas insists on continuing the conflict, the IDF is prepared to hit it “deep in its territory,” the source said.

Ground forces can be sent into Gaza to destroy a large portion of Hamas’s command and control sites, as well as weapons storage and production facilities.

The source added that Israel has replenished its deterrence against Hamas, but that an arrangement allowing Hamas to end the conflict has not yet been drawn up.

Hamas dearly wishes to see such an arrangement, he added.

“Hamas thought it would create fear and terror in the Israeli home front. It was not aware of Iron Dome’s capabilities. What it experienced in Pillar of Defense [in 2012] was a partial capability [of Iron Dome]. It was very surprised. This gave us the duration,” the source said.

Hamas is isolated in the international arena, and has only has Qatar and Turkey as backers. Neither can provide it with the guarantees that it needs, the source argued. Additionally, Hamas very much wanted to avoid an Egyptian- led mediation effort, but was forced into one anyway.

The central goals of the operation have been to harm Hamas’s offensive capabilities. Hamas has under a third of its rocket arsenal left, and the large majority of its attack tunnels had been destroyed. Hamas’s front-line defensive battalions have been severely eroded by IDF ground forces, the source said.

Additionally, he said, Gaza’s civilian population is in distress. Many are homeless, and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed in areas where the IDF and Hamas clashed. Rebuilding will take a very long time, the source said.

“Hamas wants to finish the war. It doesn’t yet have the mechanism to do so,” he added.

August 4, 2014 | 5 Comments »

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  1. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    Sarah Honig has written there are no facile solutions to Gaza and no easy path for getting there exists. She writes the Zionist Left wants to impose Abu Bluff as Israel’s Regent there – forgetting he lost it through his incompetence in the first place and shedding Jewish blood to restore the rule of a man himself in bed with Hamas is a complete non-starter. But she equally puts down calls from the Zionist Right to retake Gaza noting the cost in Israeli lives. And while doesn’t mention the burden of ruling two million Arabs, it certainly shouldn’t be Israel’s problem to manage them. Both options were rejected by the government. She writes of the current situation:

    Deployment flexibility leaves Israel with all operational options, while it enjoys incomparably greater staying power than Hamas, its bluster notwithstanding.

    It is tempting to demand radical facile solutions but reality doesn’t always dish these up. It’s easy to demand comprehensive once-and-for-all overhauls of chronically dangerous circumstances but such overhauls can be deceptive, if not altogether unattainable.

    It is a true test of leadership to keep a cool head when emotions rage all around. It isn’t easy and it isn’t popular.

    Such difficulties are further exacerbated by the unique Israeli psyche. We aren’t merely a democracy but a democracy comprised more than any other comparable society of opinionated second-guessers and vocal armchair generals.

    There are good points to be made here. Wearing down Hamas slowly but surely is a long term project like the Hundred Years War in Europe. It depends on Jewish stamina, resolve, courage and willingness to bear the costs of grinding down the enemy’s ability to overcome Israel’s inherent diversity and willingness to second guess itself. It was a given from the outset that Hamas wouldn’t wave a white flag. Israel basically told it to get lost. Now a war of attrition as it appears to be unfolding is a test of Israel’s character and that character will see Israel through to victory. It just won’t happen on the terms various Israeli partisans would prefer as their ideal outcome. And ideal outcomes of any kind are truly rare in human life, indeed.

    : http://sarahhonig.com/2014/08/04/no-mean-feat/

  2. Frankly I don’t see what’s changed. The entire situation is now a stalemate. The attitude of Hamas hasn’t been altered, and the fighters are around to fight again… and again… and again. And the “pro-palestinian” crowd are in full force with their lies and hypocrisy. And will continue in this mode forever if necessary.

    But then what do I really know?…

  3. Somebody has to spread the nus….
    At 12.13 or two hours and 13 minutes after the 7th cease fire started, rocket attacks re started.
    I said many times that we should consider being analyzed for congenital stupidity.
    A housefly would only hit itself three times against a glass panel before realizing it is not air. We did it seven times with the “cease fire” thing and still do not understand the results.
    You figure that one out.
    Wait!
    It must be part of the genial Livni and Peretz monumental “strategy”.

  4. Sure but at what cost? Instead Israel has opted to fight a war of attrition to wear Hamas down with punishing blows in the hope that it will force it to give up before Israel does. But when Hamas can choose when and where to strike, it negates Israel’s military superiority. If your army are sitting ducks, you can bet Israel will be forced to pull out if casualties too much for Israeli society to bear. And Israel’s elite is not convinced the public will be willing to pay the price required to uproot Hamas for good in a land invasion.

  5. Certainly the IDF could have taken Gaza in even less than a week and destruction would have been quite likely far less.
    Then why did the GoI caused so much damage and death?
    To what end? I know and you know. Self service Oslo treason. The renegade cadres will not spare Jewish lives including intentionally endangering us all, if that would propel along their criminal ends.