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Assessing Hamas’ Failures

Assessing Hamas’ Failures Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and his sons in a luxury hotel (Annaharar, Arab press)

Israel has yet to accomplish all its goals in the Gaza Strip, but it is making substantial progress in achieving them.

The failure of the Hamas movement is evident. It has inflicted further suffering on the residents of the Gaza Strip and prolonged the resolution of the Palestinian issue for many more years. Hamas leaders have lost the trust of many Gazans and the Arab world.

Five months have elapsed since the outbreak of the Gaza war.

Israel has not fully achieved the two primary objectives set by its political leadership for the IDF but has made substantial strides. With effective management, it seems likely to reach these goals entirely in the coming months.

Securing Hostages’ Release and Disbanding Hamas

Israel succeeded in securing the release of over a hundred hostages, but 134 individuals, alive and dead, remain in Hamas captivity.

The IDF has disbanded 18 out of 24 battalions of Hamas’ military wing and is poised to complete this task in the central and Rafah areas. This conflict is expected to persist in

What was Hamas thinking on October 7? An IDF unit moved through a Gaza neighborhood at the end of October 2023. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The IDF will continue to combat Hamas terrorist cells, locate weapon caches, and destroy the extensive tunnel network that Hamas has been constructing for years.

Simultaneously, the IDF has divided the Gaza Strip by constructing a road that bisects it and is establishing a buffer zone along the border to safeguard Israeli communities from terrorist infiltration.

The Disintegration of Hamas

In contrast to Israel’s strategic advancements, the leadership of Hamas is in disarray.

The military leadership, led by Yahya Sinwar and Muhammad Deif, is evading capture in tunnels while the IDF intensifies its pursuit to neutralize them. Two of Hamas’ most senior officials, Marwan Issa and Saleh al-Arouri, have been eliminated by Israel.

Following Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7, 2023, targeting Israeli communities surrounding Gaza and launching thousands of rockets against Israeli cities, the IDF has seized more than 70 percent of the Strip.

Among the Palestinians, Hamas’ Health Ministry reported over 30,000 casualties, believed to include 13,000 Hamas terrorists, with an additional 60,000 wounded. The numbers have never been confirmed, particularly since the ministry refuses to differentiate between combatants and civilians.

Hamas’ objectives, including the aspiration for “Palestine from the river to the sea,” have been thwarted.

Israel has reaffirmed its presence in the Gaza Strip, which will remain under tight control, surrounded by barriers, watched by overhead surveillance, with the IDF maintaining operational readiness.

The Bigger Picture

Hamas sought to expel Israel from the Middle East and undermine normalization efforts with Arab nations.

However, these efforts have been unsuccessful, and there is potential for further normalization agreements, particularly with Saudi Arabia, a leading Sunni nation.

The rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip hinges on Israel’s cooperation, as it controls the territory’s security.

The dream of establishing an independent Palestinian state seems increasingly distant, especially with the Biden Administration unable to impose such an idea against the will of the majority of Israelis, as reflected in public opinion polls.

Hamas’ assault, dubbed the “al-Aqsa Flood,” initially targeted Israeli communities near Gaza but has since backfired and wreaked havoc across the entire Strip, resulting in heavy casualties.

Israel’s military success in Gaza will bolster its control over Judea and Samaria, where Hamas activities and hopes have been squelched.

The IDF is currently dismantling terrorist infrastructure in northern Samaria, a campaign set to escalate following Hamas’ defeat in Gaza. Hundreds of Hamas activists have been arrested. Terror cells in the West Bank’s cities have been crushed.

The Palestinians must come to terms with their loss in this conflict.

Israel’s permanence in the region is assured. At the same time, Hamas will be remembered in Palestinian history as the catalyst for a new Nakba (catastrophe) in October 2023, inflicted upon the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Iran, the most prominent supporter of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, stands to lose its significant influence in the Gaza Strip, having made insufficient efforts to preserve it.

Furthermore, the global Muslim Brotherhood movement suffered a setback, as the “Islamic Emirate” it fostered in Gaza since 2007 has ceased to exist.

The Palestinian predicament will endure without a resolution due to its leadership’s failings, mirroring the situation at the conflict’s outset over a century ago.

Despite the well-meaning efforts by Western nations to “revitalize,” Lazarus-like, Palestinian entity, the Palestinians, unfortunately, have yet to glean any constructive lessons from this protracted period of strife.

This article was originally written for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.


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