The IDF can win the battle but the government is losing the war

Opinion: Netanyahu, too little too late, tasks security services with tapping armed groups in Gaza to take over power but without a strategy and in blocking any discussion on the day after the war, he is setting up the defeat of Hamas to fail

I don't know yet how the IDF will win the war in Gaza but this week, after talking with political sources and members of the security services, it is clear to me how the government can miss the chance to achieve victory. In simple terms, IDF can win the battle and the government can loos the war.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
The Hamas hold on Gaza cannot be eliminated without dealing with the smuggling along the border with Egypt on 14 kilometer (8.7 mile) the Philadelphi Corridor, or without dissolving the powerful Hamas battalions in the border city of Rafah.
4 View gallery
Children look on at destruction caused by IDF strike in Rafah
(Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
As long as the Egyptian border is compromised, Hamas can resupply its forces with weapons. Its leaders can also escape via that rout or worse, take hostages out of the Strip to anywhere in the world. But to deal with that challenge, which would be devastating for Hamas, Israel need Egypt's consent, while Cairo would first demand to know Israel's future plans for Gaza.
In fact, not only Egypt is waiting for Israel's plans. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and even the IDF are all waiting for the government to reveal what it intends to do. A military success must be followed by a new Gazan and regional order. This is an urgent practical matter.
For example: In northern Gaza today, there are some 200,000 residents living in areas controlled by the IDF. They would require food and the responsibility for them would lie on Israel. If Hamas takes control of aid supplies coming into the Strip, whether to be delivered to the southern areas or to the north, they would continue to maintain their power. Hamas continues to collect taxes from store owners and the desperate approximately two million Gazans, many of whom support it.
4 View gallery
 מחבלי חמאס על משאית חיטה של סיוע הומניטרי
 מחבלי חמאס על משאית חיטה של סיוע הומניטרי
Hamas forces take over humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza
(Photo: AP)
To bring down Hamas, it should have been clear even before the first tank began to move toward the Strip, Who Israel sees in control of Gaza, after the war.
The Hamas regime must be replaced by some other governing body: Israel, the Palestinian Authority, an International body or even a government made up of Gazan citizens. Hamas controls food and fuel delivered to Gaza and collects high taxes from store owners in the south of the Strip. It is also still able to smuggle goods from and communicate with, Egyptian Rafah across the border. Egypt's intelligence chief, as we have reported, traveled to Egyptian Rafah last week, where he was able to speak directly to Hamas Chief Yahya Sinwar, over a phone line.
At no time was the IDF ordered to conquer Gaza and establish a military rule. The government, perhaps in an effort to minimize casualties among the troops and avoid international pressure, opted for a more complicated approach. Israel is sacrificing its soldiers, so as to completely change the situation and remove the threat from Hamas but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still today, refuses to discuss how that is to happen and in fact was preventing any discussion on the matter from taking place.
4 View gallery
תיעוד פעילות צה"ל רצועת עזה
תיעוד פעילות צה"ל רצועת עזה
IDF troops fight Hamas terrorists in Gaza
(Photo: IDF)
His office said recently that Israel would have the security control over the Strip and the military would be able to carryout incursions to eliminate terror threats. That would be easier said than done and would also not solve the problem of governance there. A military security control would not deradicalize the population or demilitarize it, which were Netanyahu's declared aims in his Wall Street Jounal editorial earlier this week.
Netanyahu finally appears to have woken up to the problem and had instructed security services to examine whether there were local Gazan groups, large armed families for example, who could be used to deliver food and services in place of Hamas. As is his practice, this is too little, too late.
It appears that Netanyahu prefers a Palestinian Authority government in Gaza, with Hamas pulling the strings. Or at least that seems to be his preferred option, after he has failed to propose any other option. He had never formulized Israeli strategy for post-war Gaza. Biden has said the PA would be the acceptable next governing body and Egypt and Saudi Arabia agree. Even Netanyahu's National Security Advisor, Tzachi Hanegbi said as much in an editorial in the Saudi press.
Netanyahu has prevented any such strategy from being discussed or decided. His government failed even to define parameters for what a victory over Hamas would be, causing Israel to lose critical time. With the campaign on the cusp of its third phase, one that would see less intense fighting, why would Palestinians turn their backs on Hamas, that maintains its military capabilities and was far from defeat? Why would Hamas agree to negotiate a release of hostages? Sinwar believes he can survive the war and remain underground, even while the IDF is above it.
4 View gallery
בנימין נתניהו, יואב גלנט ובני גנץ
בנימין נתניהו, יואב גלנט ובני גנץ
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Noam Rivkin Panton)
Hamas must be defeated as a regime. That is imperative and achievable despite Netanyahu's complete incompetence.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.