Two captured terrorists interviewed by Maariv/NRG say that Hamas was not expecting Israel’s response to the escalation in missile attacks on Israeli targets that preceded Operation Cast Lead. One of them, a 52-year-old victim of a premature detonation who had already done time in an Israeli jail, said, “Hamas took a gamble. We thought, at worst Israel will come and do something from the air - something superficial. They’ll come in and go out. We never thought that we would reach the point where fear will swallow the heart and the feet will want to flee. You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in ‘48. What got into you all of a sudden?”
While this may be the rantings of two terrorists trained to give misinformation, I firmly believe that in fact Hamas was caught totally unprepared for the assault. If so, this should have serious repercussions to the strategy that Israel employs going forward.
If Hamas wasn't necessarily looking for the war they got, Hamas is apt to fall if Israel continues to apply pressure long enough. Israel has Hamas disoriented, frustrated and scared. In warfare, you simply can't ask for a better combination in your opponent. In such a case, I would think you apply even more pressure and put your enemy away. Yet, it appears that just as the enemy is ready to be put away once and for all, the Israeli cabinet is ready to capitulate to a cease fire.
The Israeli Security Cabinet will vote Saturday night on whether to accept an Egyptian proposal for a truce to end the fighting in Gaza, an official said.
The senior government official said a decision to approve the truce would begin a phased process in which Israel stops fighting and gauges the reaction from Hamas militants. The official says that under this process, Israel would resume its offensive if the militants continue to fire rockets at Israel.
Now, I could be wrong and this truce might be long lasting. Yet, I don't see anything different between this truce and any number of prior agreements. I have no doubt that Hamas would stop firing rockets for the time being, but does Israel really believe that if they let Hamas off the hook that at some point, the rockets won't reign over their country again.
So far, Israel's military operation has been a model of military might and effective implementation of systematic strategy. Significant portions of top Hamas leadership have been killed. Gaza has been split, communication disrupted, and so far Israel has moved further and further into more populated areas with relatively little resistence. Given how effective the operation has been so far, why would they cut it off now? I can't say for sure how long before Hamas is destroyed entirely but it is weeks if not months.
Sure, the groans from the "world community" will grow louder as the operation continues. There will be calls of genocide, condemnations and demands for an immediate end to the bloodshed. So what? Wouldn't withstanding the pressure of the rest of the weak kneed world for several more months be worth it to put away this enemy once and for all. Clearly, Hamas didn't know what they were getting themselves into. Clearly, they have no answer for the military operation they are facing. Furthermore, Hamas is not much of a fighting force to begin with. Sure, they can blow themselves up around innoncent civilians. Yet, match them up with trained military and calling it a "match up" is ridiculous.
Hamas wasn't expecting what they are getting. As such, I am of the opinion that now is the time to put even more military pressure on them until they break. Yet, the Israelis are ready for yet another cease fire. We've been here before and eventually it leads to more rockets landing in Israel.