The Ongoing Struggle: IDF Advances and Hamas’ Resilience

The conflict between the IDF and Hamas has witnessed significant achievements on the part of the Israeli military. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that Hamas still retains a substantial portion of its military power.

 One strategic consideration the IDF might reflect upon is the possibility of encircling the Gaza Strip comprehensively, creating a decisive military move that could have sent an unequivocal message to Hamas about the inevitability of its defeat.

According to sources close to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the recent prisoner exchange deal with Israel is viewed by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar as a success.

It not only halted the IDF’s advancement but also provided the military wing with valuable time to regroup for future engagements.

While Hamas sees this as a temporary victory, it is fully aware of the Israeli political stance, signaling a resumption of hostilities after the four-day ceasefire.

Consequently, Hamas is actively seeking avenues to prolong the cessation.

The negotiation with Qatar is considered by Hamas as recognition of its strength in the conflict, despite earlier declarations by Israeli leaders aiming to dismantle its rule in Gaza.

Hamas leverages the prisoner exchange as a symbol of breaking the Israeli embargo and anticipates further deals that could potentially lead to the acknowledgment of its sustained presence by Israel.

Highlighting what Hamas perceives as its achievements:

  1. Successful military attacks on October 7 led to the release of Palestinian prisoners.
  2. Holding Israeli hostages provides Hamas with additional bargaining leverage.
  3. The political leadership, operating from abroad, remains unharmed.
  4. Top military leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Def, and Marwan Issa, are secure, although Rouhi Moshtaha was killed.
  5. Two-thirds of its military strength in key areas remain intact.
  6. The tunnel system largely escaped damage, providing hiding places for Hamas fighters.

While Hamas remains secretive about its casualties, estimates suggest a significant number of fighters lost their lives during the conflict.

Israel, on the other hand, succeeded in eliminating key Hamas figures, impacting both morale and operational capabilities.

The IDF’s cautious approach to minimize casualties may have inadvertently slowed down the pace of military activities.

Opportunities to intensify pressure on Hamas and potentially improve the prisoner exchange deal might have been missed.

In hindsight, a more aggressive approach, such as severing the strip and capturing strategic areas, could have conveyed a stronger message to Hamas about the inevitability of its defeat.

As the IDF continues its operations, the dynamics of the conflict remain fluid, with both sides adapting their strategies for the ongoing struggle.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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