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Monday, May 20, 2024

Hamas Attacks on Israel- the five burning questions

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The Palestinian extremist organization Hamas launched the most unprecedented attacks on Israel on 07th October 2023. Ever since the famous Yom Kippur War fought fifty years back, Israel never faced such massive human loss ever in the conflicts with Palestine. While among the several take aways of this attack, there are issues like total intelligence failure, preparation by Hamas and large-scale loss of human lives, there are few burning questions which may haunt the world till this conflict ends. Let’s discuss five of the key questions arising out of these attacks.

  1. Israel’s response and crisis in Gaza Strip – Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) who himself had been a special forces soldier from the elite Sayeret Matkal having participated in various commando raids over his service including the raids along Suez Canal on Egyptian forces and behind the enemy raids in Syria during the Yom Kippur war. He was also one of the leaders of commando team which freed the passengers of Sabena Flight no 571 where he got a gunshot wound in the shoulder too. Bibi categorically indicated in most harsh terms that the reaction of Israel against Hamas will be intense. Israel has already cut down all the supplies including medicines, food, water, and electricity to Gaza Strip and is likely to impose a maritime blockade too. All this is happening at a time when IDF fighter jets are bombarding Gaza strip day and night, and their soldiers are advancing towards Gaza at a rapid pace. All this may create a severe humanitarian crisis for about 2 million citizens of Gaza strip. In case this, escalation goes for long, situation may go out of hands and since Hamas being the aggressor, sympathy of the global powers shall remain with Israel, and no one is going to questions the actions of Tel Aviv.
  1. Long war for Israel – Hamas carried out its preparations over several months before launching the attack of such magnitude and has portrayed a big threat to the sovereignty of Israel now. Over last two decades, Hamas built large scale infrastructures and probably was preparing for this very day only. Over last few years, the financing from Islamic Countries has strengthened Hamas to a large extent. An example is of Qatar which gave more than a billion US dollars to Hamas in last few years which should have ideally been spent on building schools, hospitals, roads, universities, and other infrastructure within Gaza Strip, but Hamas used almost entire of this money into building fortifications, underground tunnels, bunkers, obstacles and buying or manufacturing large scale weapons. Not only this, but recent events also suggest that Hamas is now getting sophisticated weaponry including rockets, anti-tank missiles and other weapons from various sources. These sources include the battlefields of Ukraine, American left-over weapons from Afghanistan and Pakistani Inter-Services intelligence (ISI) network supplying arms all over the world. Their action on 07th Oct 2023 cannot be called a foolish attempt knowing the potential of IDF. It is highly possible that Hamas may be trying to lure IDF into their trap inside Gaza strip where they have been preparing for last several decades. In such circumstances of urban warfare, situation may turn ugly for Israel and may escalateinto not only a long war but a persistent nightmare for the world too.
  1. Threat of a multi-pronged attack- Hezbollah from Lebanon has already expressed its solidarity with Hamas by launching several rockets from their territory on to the Israeli positions in Golan heights. They are well equipped and getting direct support from Iranian Quds Force. At the same time, extremist elements from West bank & Syria are also gearing up to counter Israel. In case, the humanitarian situation within Gaza strip turns bad or Hamas is suffering major losses, involvement of major Islamic powers in the current war cannot be ruled out too. This will create a serious threat of a multi-pronged attack on Israel. Times in 1973 were different when Israel was able to counter the attacks from all its Islamic neighbors but in present situation, it will be difficult for IDF to counter such multi- pronged attacks. Things may turn further ugly in future if Islamic Countries get involved.
  2. Hostage crisis- One of the most serious threats is the current hostage crisis. As bought out in various threads of media that several hundreds of Israeli people including senior military officers, tourists, civil officials, and soldier are kidnapped by Hamas who took them to its strongholds in Gaza. Certainly, Hamas is doing it to trade them at the negotiation table. We recollect our memories from 2011 hostage crisis where the same Bibi was the prime minister and he traded 1027 Palestinian prisoners including 280 who were serving life sentence against one single Israeli soldier. Imagine the situation where several hundreds of Israelis including a Brigadier General of IDF are reportedly taken as hostage. Israel may have to bend down to Palestine and release every single Palestinian prisoner apart from accepting even most unjustified demands of Hamas. This will create a deadly precedence for other countries too.
  1. Israel -Saudi Arabia peace deal- United States was brokering a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel which was particularly concentrated towards handing over of certain areas of West Bank to the Palestinian authorities. This deal was almost nearing its maturity when the current crisis started. Ideally, this deal could have been a milestone towards building bridges between Israel and the Middle East but under current circumstances, the future of this deal is stuck in dark. It is near impossible that Western bank remained cut off from the fall out of the attack and in case of any Israeli retaliation, the deal may not see its future anymore. The failure of this deal will once again put the middle east on the same crossroads where it was standing in 1973.

While I write these lines, the Israeli retaliation in Gaza has further intensified. Civilians are being killed on both sides and there is an immediate need to de-escalate the situation while putting a stop on terrorist activities all over the world. Hamas also has to leave its radical attitude and come out for talks and resolve the pending issues. The countries who are supporting Hamas will also have to think that sooner or later, the same guns may turn against them too. Pakistan is a live example in front of us.

Hamas Attacks on Israel- the five burning questions - Attacks on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian extremist organization, Sayeret Matkal

Major Amit Bansal

(Major Amit Bansal is a veteran of the Armed Forces having fought in various war zones. He is a Defence Strategist with keen interests in international affairs, maritime security, terrorism and internal security.)

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