New Shin Bet chief wrote: IDF could've destroyed Hamas in Gaza
In article published during his time as research fellow in Washington, Yoram Cohen Israel didn't take full advantage of military edge during war in Strip, says cooperation between IDF, Shin Bet was 'key factor' in success of Operation Cast Lead's 'intelligence component'
WASHINGTON – Yoram Cohen, who was named next director of the Shin Bet security service on Monday, wrote that Israel did not take advantage of its military superiority to destroyed Hamas' military capabilities during Operation Cast Lead.
During his time as a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Cohen published a paper in which he contended that during the war in Gaza the IDF "undoubtedly could have destroyed Hamas' capabilities" had it employed all of its military force.
In the article, published in October 2009, the new Shin Bet chief wrote that the war was Hamas' most serious military challenge, "certainly since it seized power in Gaza in 2007," and that the terror group and its military wing – the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades – "accomplished little militarily, and their only real success was the continuation of rocket fire into Israel – which declined after three weeks of combat."
IDF tanks during Gaza war
According to Cohen, the Israeli forces "enjoyed impressive advantages" in the war, "not the least in intelligence – collections, analysis and support for air-targeting and ground-combat operations," adding that the cooperation between the IDF and the Shin Bet was a "key factor in the success of (Operation) Cast Lead's intelligence component."
He wrote that even after the fighting began, Israel continued to "develop new intelligence that commanders could use in real time to strike Hamas leaders, rocket operations and ground forces."
Cohen co-authored the paper with Jeffrey White, a veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The two claimed that the Israeli offensive did not catch Hamas by surprise.
"Having planned carefully for a major Israeli invasion, Hamas expected to mount an impressive defense using civilians and civilian facilities as a cover for its military activity," according to the paper published by Cohen. "In addition, Hamas hoped to achieve an 'image of victory' by carrying out attacks with more than military significance, such as kidnapping IDF soldiers, destroying tanks, or downing airplanes and helicopters."
Cohen further wrote that in the period leading up to the war, top Hamas leaders in Gaza and Damascus "made the key decisions," but once the fighting commenced on December 27, 2008, "the Gaza leaders went into hiding and were able to exercise only limited influence on the military situation.
"More importantly for Hamas, being pounded in battle, with little to show for the effort, has a way of instilling caution with regard to future military engagement," the new Shin Bet chief wrote.
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