Gaza and Israel ready for the third phase of the war: new strategy against Hamas

Three months after the start of the conflict with Hamas, Israel enters a new phase of war. This is the analysis published today on the CNN website that interviewed a series of experts and recalled the ‘promise’ made at the beginning of the war by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: the IDF will use all its forces to destroy Hamas’ capabilities. Now, the Israel Defense Forces are entering a new phase of their war against Hamas in Gaza and there are signs that their objectives are also changing. “The situation is not very conducive to military campaigns that seek to eradicate deeply rooted political-military movements,” said Bilal Y. Saab, associate fellow for the Middle East and North Africa at Chatham House. “The IDF leadership understands very well that the most it can do is seriously degrade Hamas’ military capabilities,” Saab stressed.

And in this sense, the IDF’s successes have been many: thousands of Hamas fighters have been killed and part of the group’s vast network of tunnels under the enclave has been dismantled. But the war still seems too long and there is still no end in sight. The objective now could be to weaken the Islamic organization and its power in the Strip.

According to experts, the other element that would suggest a change of course would be internal discomfort in relation to Netanyahu, “a tormented prime minister eager to aim for tangible victories”. “There is a race against time,” Saab said, describing the main issues facing the Israeli leadership. “At what cost will this tactical success come and how long will the Israelis have to achieve this tactical success without suffering more significant international outrage?” Analysts therefore believe that the “destruction of Hamas”, the objective announced by Netanyahu on October 7, was ambitious, illusory and, in a sense, impossible. “This type of mission cannot be completed – we have seen it fail many times over the years.” “It will be a less intense phase, but it will take longer,” Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute and former Knesset member for the Kadima party, told CNN. “The definition of success will not be capturing or killing all Hamas operatives, but ensuring that Hamas can no longer effectively govern the Gaza Strip,” the analysis said.

Source: IL Tempo