Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, launched by Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades from Gaza Strip (GS), has been an attack on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Gaza envelope. It is a strategic unprecedented hit to Israel since its founding, 75 years ago.
We are witnessing the largest Palestinian and Arab attack inside the 1948 Occupied Palestinian Territories since the establishment of Israel. Within a few hours, Hamas forces took over 20 settlements and outposts and 11 military sites, including the Gaza Division headquarters that led all major wars and battles outside the 1948 Occupied Territories.
Among all the wars that Israel has fought with the Palestinians since 1948, and even those fought with the Arab armies, Israel is now suffering the highest death toll. In the 1967 war, no more than 750 Israelis were killed; in the 3-month 1982 Lebanon invasion, no more than 650 Israelis were killed; in the July 2006 war, 104 were killed; and the only exception was the 16-day October 1973 war that the Egyptian and Syrian armies fought, and in which approximately 2,200–2,500 Israeli soldiers were killed. At the time of this writing, on the fifth day of the operation, the Israeli death toll has reached 1,300 dead, while 3,000 Israelis have been wounded.
We are witnessing the largest number of Israeli prisoners ever captured by the Palestinian Resistance, with more than 150 prisoners, several of whom are senior officers in the Israeli army.We are also witnessing the biggest strategic military surprise and the most colossal failure of the security apparatus in the history of Israel, accompanied by extreme confusion and utter humiliation for the Israeli government.
The first strategic implication of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood is the fall of “Israel’s national security doctrine” based on the principles of deterrence, early warning and quick military decision. A fourth principle was added in 2015, the defence principle. However, this time the four principles failed, and some of their bases have also failed, such as pushing the fighting into enemy territory, having defensible borders and establishing cordon sanitaire. As security is fundamental in the Israeli doctrine, one of the foundations of Israel’s structure is providing safe haven for the world Jewry, and making Israel able to crush and deter all powers and armies in the surrounding strategic environment; then this blow has come to empty the Zionist project of its content, shake Israel to the core, make the “Promised Land” lose its appeal and make Zionist Jews in Israel aspire to emigrate and return to their countries of origin. Therefore, the political and military leaders initiated massive mobilisation, forming a “national unity” government, trying to restore the state of deterrence and their shattered image through the brutal bombing of civilians and the total destruction of civilian facilities and services in the Gaza Strip.
The second strategic implication is the centrality of Al–Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem in the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim conscience. They are loved by all these peoples and are a source of great inspiration, thus unifying and bringing together the Ummah’s forces and setting their compass in the right direction. Therefore, the ongoing Israeli aggression against Jerusalem and the attempts to Judaise Al–Aqsa Mosque have, over the past decades, been factors of uprisings and explosion in the confrontations with the Zionist project …. They were a fundamental reason for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood that bore the Mosque’s name.
The third strategic implication is the practical proof of the resistance project, being the real effective tool to extract the rights of the Palestinian people and defeat the Occupation. This operation was the culmination of extensive meticulous preparations by Hamas and the Resistance forces to accumulate power. As a result, they achieved qualitative leaps militarily, security-wise and in terms of human elements, giving an amazing performance, culminating the four previous wars. This comes after rival Palestinian leaders accused the Resistance’s rockets of being frivolous and fireworks.
This operation was concurrent with the collapse of the peace process; the failure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to rely upon the Oslo Accords to establish an independent Palestinian State in the 1967 Occupied Territories; the successive Israeli governments ignoring the peace process; the expansion of Judaisation and settlement programs, and with Israel transforming the PA into a tool that serves it more than the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The fourth strategic implication is the failure of the Zionist project to subjugate the Palestinians. During thirty years of British occupation and seventy-five years since the establishment of Israel, the Intifadas and revolutions of the Palestinian people did not stop … they ebb and flow. All forms of oppression, displacement, destruction and suffering did not deter these people; each time the Israelis think they have subjugated the Palestinians, an Intifada would be launched, taking them back to square one, as was the case in the first Intifada 1987–1993, Al-Aqsa Intifada 2000–2005, the Gaza Strip wars, the Jerusalem Intifada and others. Therefore, it was not strange for Haaretz newspaper to say, “We are facing the most difficult people in history, and there is no solution but recognising them and ending the Occupation.” Here, once again, is the Palestinian “genie” of Resistance imposing its program on the world.
The fifth strategic implication is the failure of Israel to become the “policeman” of the region. For, after its impotence and failure in dealing with the Palestinian Resistance, the fall of the security doctrine and the failure of deterrence, Israel is no longer a force that the West can rely on to dominate the region, nor is it a reliable force for regional countries that want to resolve their disputes and conflicts with their enemies. Most probably, Israel will fail to repair its shattered image that appeared during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.
The sixth strategic implication is that the premise of closing the Palestinian dossier while normalising relations with Arab and Muslim countries, was false. It was thought that the Palestinians could be singled out and isolated from their Arab and Muslim environment, and the Zionist vision could be imposed,, while settling the Palestinian file. This is what Netanyahu bragged about in his speech at the United Nations in September.
Operation Al-Aqsa Flood has proven that the Palestinian people and their rights cannot be ignored; the Resistance is able to have its say and impose its conditions on “the game”. The operation has proven that the peace process and normalisations are destined to fail as long as the Occupation remains in Palestine. Moreover, the broad positive support of the Arab and Muslim peoples and the free people of the world for the Palestinian people and their resistance shows that the normalisation process is just on the official (and superficial) level, linked to the interests of some regimes. It will soon disappear with the disappearance of those interests or with the departure of advocates of normalisation from power.
Finally, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood has left a profound impact on the course of the Palestine issue. It will be considered as a landmark in the history of Resistance. It is likely that events after 7 October, 2023 will be different from those before.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.