Since the beginning of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Gaza Strip, its siege and the cutting off of all basic supplies, such as water, electricity and fuel to operate hospital generators, it has been committing widespread and diverse war crimes on many levels, including barbaric and brutal bombing of homes and flats and their destruction over the heads of their residents, until the number of martyrs exceeded 7,500 and the injured 20,000. In addition to this, there are more than 2,000 missing persons between martyrs and wounded, and the threat to forcibly transfer residents from the north of Gaza to the south, which Israel said is safe. However, Israel then bombed the area it claimed was safe and killed hundreds who moved to the south of the Gaza Strip.
However, the Biden administration refuses, despite the high number of martyrs and destruction, a ceasefire and does not set red lines, as President Biden mentioned, for what Israel is doing, which commits war crimes on a daily basis. The US used its veto twice against a draft ceasefire resolution in the Security Council and, on Friday evening, it voted with Israel and a handful of marginal countries to oppose a Jordanian draft resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
Since Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood – and Israel responded with Operation Swords of Iron – and after the escalation in the rate of genocidal war crimes and crimes against humanity by bombing residential neighbourhoods and destroying homes over the heads of their residents, using white phosphorus, and the military leadership’s request for the forced transfer of the residents of the north of the Gaza Strip to its south in preparation for a ground invasion, all of which are documented war crimes, the question remains – since the beginning of the war on 7 October, whether the Occupation Forces will go against their conservative position by launching a ground invasion or, as they call it a “manoeuvre” on Gaza, to uproot and end Hamas’ rule in Gaza, or at the very least, to weaken and exhaust Hamas’s rule and role.
With unprecedented international support and sympathy for Israel, which succeeded in shifting the narrative from Occupation, oppression and systematic killing to aggression against Israel and its people – and the killing of 1,400 Israelis – Israel decided to launch a ground war. This is despite all the warnings to avoid the repercussions and costs of a ground war, which is what Israel has done in its previous wars over the last six years, even during the long 2014 war that cost Israel losses in the limited ground invasion it carried out. The Biden administration has asked Israel to postpone the ground war due to the hostage exchange deal negotiations and the incomplete positioning of American Forces.
With the start of the fourth week of Israel’s war on Gaza on Friday and, despite the warnings and the Biden administration’s request to postpone the ground war, which will be a gradual one, Gaza was subjected to the largest attack, non-stop air strikes, the most violent artillery and missile bombardment from battleships, all while communications and the Internet were cut off. Gaza was drowning in the dark, as the wounded and martyrs flocked to hospitals. Under this curtain of heavy bombing, ground Forces from the Occupation army advanced with a manoeuvre and a limited tank incursion into the north of the Gaza Strip, paving the way for a ground invasion. Amidst disagreements between the emergency government and the military leadership, the leader of one of the religious parties leaked information, a few days ago, that the army was not ready to wage a ground war.
With the start of the Occupation’s tank forces’ entering Gaza, the Occupation army did not announce the start of the war or the ground manoeuvre. Instead, it described it as “an expansion of the military operation”. A statement by Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades said, “We are confronting an Israeli incursion”, while officials in Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, unanimously warned of the danger, repercussions and the impact of an Israeli ground war on Gaza on the stability of the Middle East. The New York Times quoted Senator Richard Blumenthal, who was among 10 senators who met with Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials, and who hoped that Israel would avoid launching a ground war. They warned that the damage of Israel launching a ground war on Gaza would be extremely harmful, and its result would be disastrous for stability in the Middle East.
Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Al-Safadi, warned against Israel launching a ground war on the Gaza Strip, saying the result would be a humanitarian catastrophe. American writers and researchers also warned that the ground war would cost Israel a lot, as political science professor, Marc Lynch, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine, “An invasion of Gaza would be a disaster for Israel. America must prevail on its ally to step back from the brink” because it will drag the US into the furnace of the Middle East, and it will be a risky adventure.
There is disagreement and difference about the ultimate goals of the ground war. Should they be comprehensive or limited? Is the goal to weaken and exhaust Hamas, to eradicate and eliminate it, to destroy and occupy Gaza and to kill tens of thousands of civilians, or to hand it over to the Palestinian Authority that lost the 2006 legislative elections? This is what the Biden administration is demanding. What would the scenario be for the next day after gaining control of Gaza? Is it an impossible process?
According to military studies literature, Israel launched a ground war against Hamas and the resistance factions, known as an asymmetric war (between an army and armed organisations). No regular army has ever defeated armed organisations and factions. The US did not defeat the Taliban after 20 years of fighting the Taliban and occupying Afghanistan. Likewise, Al-Qaeda was not defeated, despite the assassination of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, nor was Daesh, despite the assassination of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. All of these factions and fighting movements were not defeated by a superpower dozens of times stronger than Israel. The Israeli Occupation Forces are no exception; they will not be the victor.
Netanyahu’s chaotic leading of a tyrannical adventure will push him to his death, the fall of his fascist government, and the end of his political career and his extremist government after his trial and conviction for his failure on the military, security and intelligence levels. Along with this, the theory of the invincible army will fall. It was defeated because Hamas was not defeated by Netanyahu’s losing army.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 29 October 2023
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.