Just 10 days ago everything was clearer. What’s stopping the government from opening the gates of hell on Hamas? Weren’t we shouting this angrily across the country 24/7? I am often asked from abroad why we don’t finally invade the Gaza Strip and flatten it. Why is the government in Jerusalem hesitant to dismantle the terrorist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip once and for all? Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu afraid? It’s not just you who are wondering this, the Israeli people are also slowly becoming impatient, especially the 400,000 reservists who were called up, some of whom were immediately flown home from all corners of the world for the war. Nineteen days have passed since the black Sabbath in the land, and the people demand vengeance.
Netanyahu senses the frustration among the people, which is why he made a statement last night. “All Hamas terrorists will be dead, above and below ground, in the Gaza Strip and abroad,” Netanyahu began his speech. “Together with Defense Minister Yoav Galant, Minister Benny Gantz and the Chief of the General Staff, we are working around the clock to achieve the goals of the war, until victory, without political considerations. So far we have killed thousands of terrorists and this is just the beginning. We are preparing a ground offensive. I will not say how and to what extent, and what our considerations are, most of which are not at all known to the public.”
🔴 WATCH: Israeli PM Netanyahu delivers address amid war with Hamas
'We all will have to provide answers to what happened on Oct. 7, myself included – but only after the war' pic.twitter.com/qfjB5W3Udi
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) October 25, 2023
For the first time, Netanyahu spoke of his responsibility for the October 7 failure that led to war. “Citizens of Israel, we will thoroughly investigate what happened. The failure will be thoroughly analyzed. Everyone will have to give answers, including me. But that will be after the war. As Prime Minister, I am responsible for securing the future of the state.” Netanyahu announced that there would be national days of mourning for the victims of the Hamas massacre. “The soul of the nation is bleeding. The destruction of the lives of more than 1,400 murdered people is like a hail of arrows in our hearts. The government will introduce national days of mourning for this terrible tragedy.”
There has been a lot of discussion about this hesitation in the media in recent days. “The State of Israel had a rare opportunity to destroy Hamas in Gaza, but it is not doing so. Now they tell us about maneuvers, the readiness of the army, the secret services, international state visits and much more,” wrote the Walla news portal. Meanwhile, Netanyahu and Galant are filmed with the soldiers in the south and north and only issue threats. One threatens to destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon, the other threatens to wipe out Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But nothing happens. “It could be that Netanyahu has gotten cold feet,” says Walla. “To destroy Hamas and Hezbollah, you don’t even need a reserve soldier! Two sorties and two bombs of the type that foreign sources say is in our camp are enough.”
Is it really true that Washington is deterring Israel from a ground invasion? Or does Israel want to free more of the hostages first? Could it be that Israel is waiting until the terrorists run out of stolen fuel in the south of the Strip, because without electricity there is no light, no ventilation and no telecommunications in the underground tunnels. The underground tunnel system could become a trap. Does Israel first want to see whether Iran stays out of the war in Gaza? Could it be that the American and British warships in our region and other Western forces are planning an attack together with Israel? Or do Israeli troops still need to prepare and train? Maybe Israel really had to wait for a weapons shipment? Others say a new missile defense system must first be installed in the country, hence the delay. The speculations are endless. When you talk to soldiers and officers in the field, they all have no idea what is stopping the government. In the first days after the massacre, it was clear to everyone that Israel would attack Gaza the very next day, but then heads of state from all over the world flocked to Israel and everything came to a standstill. Then it rained in the country and the strong wind wasn’t good either.
It is not the General Staff but the government that is hesitating. The Israeli General Staff submitted operational attack plans to the War Cabinet, all of which Netanyahu rejected last week. Even though Netanyahu and Galant have repeatedly emphasized that there is no crisis of trust between the security apparatus and the prime minister, this is difficult to believe. Netanyahu blames the General Staff and the security apparatus for all failures in the south, say political and military sources. This is probably why Netanyahu is insecure and meets with generals outside the General Staff and the War Cabinet, like Yitzhak Brick, who predicted this scenario years ago when no one would listen. Neither did Netanyahu, but now he does. Netanyahu has also met with former Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who does not necessarily get along well with other former Chiefs of General Staff in the government like Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot. Both are part of the war cabinet, but Netanyahu also wants to hear other voices. Brick accuses Gantz and Eisenkot of harming the readiness of the Israeli army during their time in office. Netanyahu is angry with the General Staff and is having difficulty deciding on the next step. There is also the dilemma of the Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. Brick initially proposed a hostage exchange, 6,000 Palestinian prisoners for the 220 hostages. “We will then kill them all in the Gaza Strip,” said Brick.
The Americans are trying to slow down the government until the anger among the people subsides. US President Joe Biden told Bibi that he had to go to war with his head, not his stomach. Barack Obama advised Bibi not to make the same mistake America made when it invaded the Middle East in anger after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers on September 11th.
“The option not to invade the Gaza Strip does not exist. This is absolutely irrelevant, neither in the army nor in the cabinet,” former general Israel Siv told Globes. “We have the feeling at the moment that the time is favorable for us in several ways. This is a months-long war. If there is any way to solve the process of freeing the abductees beforehand, then it is worth giving it the necessary time, and that is what we are doing.” Siv and other generals do not believe that Washington wants to stop Israel from destroying Hamas, they only insist on humanitarian aid for the Palestinian civilian population. This is in the interests of the West and many Arab governments. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are working behind the scenes to dismantle the Hamas regime, because the radical Muslim Brotherhood on which Hamas relies is also a thorn in the side of these governments.
But the government must make a decision soon, otherwise it will miss the momentum and the morale of the people will suffer. I meet officers and soldiers and understand that this time they want to destroy Hamas with all their might. Everyone has the 1,400 deaths in mind, and there is not an Israeli among them who is not affected. The images of the massacre are national fuel for war.
Every time I drink an espresso at the coffee shop near our editorial offices, Eitan Mor’s picture is on the checkout counter. Eitan worked in the espresso bar until October 7th and is now a hostage in Gaza. Eitan worked as a security guard at the Nova music festival and has since disappeared.
Everyone knows that the invasion of Gaza is only a matter of time, because Israel has promised its enemies that it will send them to hell. That’s exactly what we heard from Bibi Netanyahu yesterday. If Israel hesitates now and does not invade – which I do not believe – then Israel has lost its entire deterrence strategy. Unless Israel achieves a victory without a ground invasion, which is what I would like most. Gaza is hell and a serious danger for our soldiers. But without victory – one way or another – Israel’s security in the Middle East is gone. Israel cannot afford this at any price, and every Israeli understands this danger. Without security, it makes no sense for many to live in this country. And yesterday, Netanyahu repeatedly promised the people that he is responsible for Israel’s security and existence. We do not face an easy future and fear is always in the air, but Israel has no choice. Concluding his announcement yesterday, Netanyahu quoted the prophet Isaiah: “And they will hear hamas (ancient Hebrew word for violence) no more in the land.”
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