In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, retired Gen. David Petraeus offers his insights into the challenges faced by Israel as it combats Hamas in Gaza. The general, who has extensive experience leading military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, acknowledges the difficult task that Israel faces when operating in densely populated areas.
“This is going to be a very tough fight,” Gen. Petraeus tells CBS News. “I almost can’t imagine a more challenging contextual set of circumstances here than what they face.”
Clearing buildings, floors, rooms, basements, and tunnels is a tedious and dangerous task. Both civilian and Israeli losses are inevitable in this kind of a conflict. Petraeus, along with British historian Andrew Roberts, delves into the complexities of such conflicts in their recently published book “Conflict.”
As Petraeus describes the recent surprise attack by Hamas terrorists, he emphasizes that it was “far worse than 9/11.” The proportionate loss of life in Israel, compared to the much larger U.S. population, is astounding. “This is the equivalent of the U.S. having experienced over 40,000 losses, rather than the 3,000 terrible losses that we sustained in the attacks of 9/11,” Petraeus explains.
The sophistication of Hamas’ attack surprised Petraeus. The fact that there was a lack of awareness about the plans is also concerning. As a former director of the CIA, Petraeus finds it hard to understand how both Israeli and American intelligence agencies missed the preparations for the attack.
“Dramatic improvement in Hamas’ operational security,” Petraeus suggests, could be one of the reasons behind the intelligence failure. Hamas demonstrated creative use of munitions and capabilities to degrade Israeli surveillance, hindering their ability to see beyond the formidable iron fence that separates Gaza.
Israel’s underestimation of its enemy is another key factor mentioned by Petraeus. Martin, the CBS interviewer, questions what Hamas aimed to achieve with the attack. Petraeus responds, “What their leaders have said was to get the world’s attention.” However, the ultimate objective of Hamas, according to Petraeus, is to “destroy Israel.” While their attack resulted in the loss of innocent lives, Israel remains intact and determined to eradicate Hamas.
The question of how the conflict will end looms large. If the Israeli military’s mission is to destroy Hamas, Petraeus envisions a complicated situation. Reoccupying and administering Gaza after destroying Hamas would present significant challenges. Israel cannot simply walk away once their objectives are met as the power vacuum in Gaza would demand attention.
Throughout the conflict, it is the people of Gaza who suffer the most. Petraeus acknowledges that the actions taken by Israel will have consequences for the local population. President Biden has pledged full support to Israel, but it is essential to learn from past mistakes and exercise caution in reacting to a terrorist attack.
Gen. Petraeus believes that there is a growing awareness in Jerusalem about the complexities of such conflicts and the need for a nuanced approach. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, it is crucial to consider the long-lasting effects and find ways to address the root causes of the conflict.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the main objective of the conflict between Israel and Hamas?
The main objective of Hamas is to destroy Israel, although their recent attack killed innocent people, Israel remains resilient and determined to protect its sovereignty.
2. How did Hamas surprise Israel with its attack, and why was there a lack of awareness?
Hamas displayed a high level of operational security, which contributed to the surprise factor. Israeli and American intelligence agencies failed to detect the preparations due to this improved operational security.
3. What are the challenges faced by Israel in the conflict?
Israel faces the daunting task of navigating densely populated areas, clearing buildings, floors, rooms, basements, and tunnels to combat Hamas. This poses a significant challenge in terms of civilian and Israeli soldier casualties.
4. What happens if Hamas is destroyed?
If Hamas is destroyed, there will be a power vacuum in Gaza, presenting a complex situation for Israel. Reoccupying and administering Gaza is not a simple task, as it would require careful consideration of the aftermath and the well-being of the local population.
– CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gen-david-petraeus-hamas-attack-on-israel-was-far-worse-than-9-11/