Seif Al-Quds taught "Israel" a hard lesson on deterrence equations
A lesson they'll never forget.
Deep in the conscience of the colonizer lies lines; borders they project onto the colonized peoples to keep them entrapped in a cycle of dormancy, dependency, fear and pain. That psychological barrier, that has been materialized over the years with hawkish policies and apartheid, was, even symbolically, broken in the battle of Seif Al-Quds which took place in occupied Palestine, in May 2021.
The Israelis thought they could level Gaza to the ground with their aggression as a response to the Palestinian Resistance, but even with their top-tier intelligence, spyware, mass surveillance, the Israeli echelon, from top commandos down to the last reservist, were in shock at the capabilities of the Palestinians.
In the intricate case of a war against one of history’s most aggressive colonizer, what constitutes a victory? We all realize that the endgame for Palestinians around the world is the complete and total expulsion of the Israelis from their land, but what happened in May 2021 changed the deterrence equation for good, as it revealed the fragility of military intelligence and futility of military might, which both, combined, were unable to force their conditions in the ceasefire. However, the Palestinian Resistance exhibited that it was going to take more than technological advancements to win that war - however heartbreaking, victory was written in blood and sacrifice.
No ground invasion
Hamas’ military strategy has changed over the years – a think tank report which assessed the conflict in May 2021 drew parallels, which, for instance, saw that the relative weaknesses of Hamas in 2012 and the technologically advanced Iron Dome at the time allowed for a ground invasion, even when there was heavy rocket fire from Gaza. The Israeli occupation forces did that again during 2014 heavy aggression on Gaza. The case in May 2021 differed completely, as the Israelis knew too well that a ground invasion will result in heavy losses they weren't prepared for.
Eran Etzion, the Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council, said it himself: “It’s good that no one has been contemplating a real ground operation in Gaza, which would lead to heavy losses. "Israel" has no goals that would justify such an operation like that, and this time there aren’t calls to “go in” and invade Gaza, even from the far right of the political map. In any case, the fear is that the land forces aren’t aren’t capable of entering the fray and are unprepared for combat.”
A geographical axis, united
The Israelis, furthermore, were also appalled by the close coordination between different geographic regions which they have, for long, thought they secured through separation. One of the greatest examples of this is when the inhabitants of the ’48 Palestine lands called on, in protest of the situation, the biggest general strike since 1936 – and, the strike was endorsed by Palestinians living in the West Bank. Gaza, the West Bank, and the '48 lands coordinated closely to pressure the establishment into the ceasefire, among other concessions.
This constituted a non-geographically concentrated axis that united under common umbrellas, such as the right to self-determination and the Right of Return. Not only did this stir up chaos, but it also overwhelmed the security apparatus, which was chewing more than it could swallow. Hamas and allies employed a barrage strategy which saw the firing of multiple rockets, shot at one target, from multiple fronts. The rockets fired from Gaza came at an unprecedented range and pace, overwhelming the flimsy Iron Dome, threatening Askalan and other towns with continued fire.
Read more: Iron Dome; "Israel's" crushed pride
They started it.
During the battle, a new equation began when the Palestinians started it. Instead of going by the ‘Reaction Doctrine,’ the Palestinian Resistance took matters into their own hands and shot the first bullet at a time when Israeli military police and forces were crushing any form of civil resistance in Sheikh Jarrah as they tried to kick civilians out of their homes. What the Israelis saw from Gaza distracted them from Sheikh Jarrah’s forced evictions.
But, what messed with their heads even more was the ’48 lands, whose inhabitants they thought were under their control. Much of the inhabitants living in the ’48 lands are Palestinian natives whom were given the Israeli citizenship as a part of a bigger plan of the Israeli occupation to divide Palestinians into different groups. Those Palestinians are an entirely different subculture project from the Israeli side to water down the prominence of the Palestinian identity. However, that backlashed. In one interview by the Middle East Eye, a '48-er divulged, "I see a new generation stepping up. They are younger than me. They take orders from no-one and they are rising. I am f*****g happy not to consider myself an 'Israeli Arab'. I am Palestinian, and for the first time in my life I can see light at the end of our long tunnel."
Israeli strategy on dealing with this overwhelming situation was excessive bombardment of Gaza. In other words, Gaza was leveled to the ground; they raided Al-Aqsa mosque, repressed peaceful protests, and threatened to send border police units to the ’48 lands. Going into their airstrike campaign in all arrogance, the Israelis found a switch in goal during the just-over11-days conflict. At that point, instead of attempting to crush the military might of the resistance, all they wanted to do was maintain the status quo – to go back to “normal.”
During the battle, Security Minister Benny Gantz said it himself, that the “goal of the current offensive is to achieve long-term quiet.” This could have many implications, including the complete and total genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
However, Israeli ego prohibited the military from withdrawing. The occupation would not pull out without attempting to crush the spirit of the little strip. The Israelis were in denial that they could simply become the losing end, but what was true was that they’d been postponing an internationally-supported ceasefire because they needed time “to carry out as many airstrikes as possible"- in other words, carry out the 'Dahye Doctrine', which is to create the greatest amount of destruction in the fastest amount of time.
A large part of Israeli military might is concentrated in intelligence and aviation – and both means failed to achieve the end, which was Palestinian submission. But those aren’t the entire army. Recently, according to Hebrew sources, what the Israeli army is realizing is that reservists and the army itself are weak and incapable of serious combat. There is no will to fight, and no will to lose, no will to die. Any war fought with no will to sacrifice is ultimately a losing one. There was no appetite to conquer Gaza.
Weaker than a spider's web
The battle of Seif Al-Quds, to Israeli commanders, constituted a security failure on so many levels, including causing internal instability, fear and even immigration, which comes to show that the establishment is weaker than a spider’s web. Israeli commanders themselves have expressed anxiety of a wider scope of confrontation, particularly that with Iran and Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah. During the conflict, missiles were launched from southern Lebanon into the occupied lands – Hezbollah denied launching anything, but if the organization were to authorize or maybe turn a blind eye on such a move, it would still be a strong message to the Israelis. Against this backdrop, Israeli strategists have made it clear that the brazenly aggressive military actions against Gaza were a message to Iran and Hezbollah, even partially, to deter them from any future aggression.
The “by-threat”, as I’d like to call it, has a few “by-implications” that would keep the Israelis up at night if they were to truly materialize and crystallize. Yahya Sinwar, the Palestinian leader of Hamas in Gaza, after the Israelis sustained strategic losses, walked out in broad daylight.
The Israelis knew there was a a lot more up the Palestinians’ arsenal, but that wasn’t the only reason why they could not do anything. "Israel" sat and watched, hands tied - they knew too well that if they were to do anything absolutely insane - like exploiting the situation to attack Sinwar - what’s coming for them will be a lot worse than a mere "security crisis."