The situation in Israel regarding its war on Gaza and the group Hamas has seen some notable developments and challenges. In early January, Israel declared the withdrawal of some forces from northern Gaza after claiming to have dismantled Hamas’s military activities in the region. However, subsequent events have brought into question the effectiveness of this strategy and caused Israel to reassess its objectives.
Eliminating the tunnels?
Israel has made strong commitments to destroy Hamas’s extensive tunnel network under Gaza
. Despite these efforts, the movement of Hamas fighters underground has not been significantly impeded. The persistence of attacks from the northern Gaza strip
indicates that the tunnel system continues to be operational. The tunnels, which are hundreds of kilometres long, have historically been used for smuggling civilian supplies and weapons from Egypt.
Hiding the captives
Hamas has utilized the tunnels for various purposes, including ambushing Israeli troops in Gaza and concealing captives captured on October 7. While many captives were released during a temporary ceasefire in November, it is believed that approximately 100 captives remain inside the tunnels. The Israeli military has attempted to destroy some tunnels and flood others with water from the Mediterranean, a strategy that has raised concerns about the safety of the remaining captives.
The Israeli military’s actions have taken a significant toll on Palestinian civilians, with women and children accounting for approximately 70% of the more than 25,000 Palestinians
killed in the enclave. While Israel claims to have killed 9,000 Hamas fighters, doubts have been raised about the accuracy of this figure. Even if accurate, it would still leave the majority of Hamas personnel alive and prepared for further conflict.
The Unyielding Nature of Hamas
Although the consensus among analysts is that Hamas cannot be completely eradicated, there is acknowledgment that the group’s military capabilities have been diminished and are at risk of further reduction. However, it is emphasized that Israel’s war tactics have the potential to strengthen, rather than weaken, Hamas. The collective punishment inflicted on Gaza’s civilian population can fuel the roots of resistance, contributing to the perpetuation and potential resurgence of Hamas’s capacity.
In conclusion, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, particularly concerning Hamas, remains complex and deeply entrenched. The changing dynamics and the challenges faced by both parties underscore the intricacy of the situation and the necessity for a comprehensive and sustainable resolution.