Following the military operation initiated by Palestinian forces against Israel last Saturday, Israel continues its aerial bombardment of Gaza. The Rafah Border Crossing, the sole exit point for civilians in the region, was struck by Israel and Egypt was virtually threatened not to send aid to Gaza.
The US is deploying military ships, aircraft carriers and munitions to aid Israel.
Meanwhile, Egyptian mediators have conveyed to Israel that Hezbollah would intervene in the war if Israel launches a ground operation in Gaza.
I spoke with Egyptian diplomat Rakha Ahmed Hassan and Israeli expert Israel Shamir to discuss the increasingly complex and rapidly evolving developments.
“Israel has no strategic retreat option anymore”
Former Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Rakha Ahmed Hassan described the Palestinian forces’ ability to overcome Israel’s security apparatus with “primitive tools” as a “tremendous” success.
Hassan, after noting that “Israel’s security concept has crumbled,” summarized the outcomes of the military operations of Palestinian forces in two main points:
1. The failure of the Israeli army and intelligence, equipped with all sorts of military technology, against Palestinians.
2. The inability of Israelis trained to defend settlements in kibbutzim against attacks and the delayed response of the Israeli army.
Hassan pointed out that for the first time since 1948, the war has spread to territories controlled by Israel. He suggests that Israel is undergoing a psychological breakdown and that is why the US sending warships, planes, and munitions to the region: to halt this breakdown.
Hassan characterized Israel’s massacres of civilians in Gaza as “genocide” and shared that the Rafah Border Crossing, used for the passage of food, medicine, and the wounded, was hit by Israel twice in the past 24 hours.
Emphasizing that Israel’s attacks violate the agreement signed between Egypt and Israel in 2005, which regulates passage through the Rafah Border Crossing, Hassan stated that Egypt will persist in providing aid to Gaza.
Regarding the possibility of the war spreading to other regional countries, Hassan recalled that in the early hours, US Secretary of State Blinken announced that Iran was not involved in the operations of Palestinian forces.
Hassan also pointed out that missile launches from Syria and Lebanon towards Israel are now only a warning. The aim is to send a message that “We will intervene in the war if Israel’s attacks in Gaza continue.”
Hassan highlighted that Hezbollah’s military power is much greater than Hamas, but refrained from making a definitive assessment regarding the expansion of the war.
It is worth noting Hassan’s assessment that “with the war spreading to territories controlled by Israel, Israel no longer has a strategic retreat option.”
“Could be a move by the Israeli deep state”
Israeli expert and a close friend of Julian Assange, Israel Shamir, believes that Israel has fallen victim to its military hubris.
Shamir summarized the underlying reasons for Israel’s defeat with the statement, “Just like in 1973… back then, they arrogantly disregarded the possibility of Egyptian forces crossing the Suez Canal and Syria taking action. What is happening today is a consequence of the same mindset.”
Shamir stated that “the Israeli deep state’s project to remove Netanyahu from office” may be behind the paralyzation of the Israeli army and intelligence in the face of the Palestinian forces’ attacks. According to him, every such possibility is worth thinking on.
In response to the question “Could the Israeli deep state have undertaken such an operation at the cost of such damage to Israel”, Shamir said: “Netanyahu, the settlers and the deep state come from different ethnic backgrounds. Netanyahu is a Sephardic Jew. It was the Ashkenazi security apparatus and banks that organized the demonstrations against Netanyahu. They may have sacrificed the settlers in order not to lose the Constitutional Court.”
Israel has lost psychological superiority
The clear result from the developments so far is that Israel, unable to prevent the spread of the war to its controlled territories, has lost its psychological superiority.
If a second front is opened in southern Lebanon through Hezbollah, Israel is likely to face an even more challenging military situation.
How the US will respond to such a move, while already in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine, remains uncertain.
In undeclared war with undefined boundaries and rules, both sides are still testing each other’s strength and resolve.
We are facing a war that, if it escalates, could have a chain reaction engulfing the entire region, including Egypt and Iran.
A war where not only military power, but also willpower will be determinative.
Cover photo: Anadolu Agency