Israel’s Losing PR Victory

Netanyahu’s widely criticized cease-fire agreement after the “Pillars of Cloud” operation gave Israel an interesting PR victory. On the face of it, the agreement gave a few important concessions to Hamas in exchange for the ceasefire, demonstrating weakness on Israel’s part and a tactical victory for Hamas. Further consideration will show the opposite. Israel applied greater military strength than it had in the past, and achieved their victory while depriving Hamas of the benefit of being the helpless underdog.

Israel had little to gain from a ground invasion. Hamas’ rockets are mostly homemade, so their supply would regardless be replenished fairly quickly after Israel left, so any gains would be limited. Hamas will also fairly quickly replenish their supply of lost terrorists, so again there is limited benefit to a ground invasion. Israel already hit the Hamas quite hard from the air, and the added benefit of a ground invasion would be very limited. Many Israeli’s wanted to finish off the Hamas once and for all, but that was not a relevant option at all unless Israel wants to engage in a full restructure of the Gazan civil institutions, which no one wants at this point.

The goal for Israel was to hit Hamas as hard as they could from the air, without coming across as the neighborhood bully, as usually happens. In the past Israel has limited the extent of the their attacks hoping to look better, which never worked. This time Israel hit hard, and then gave Hamas a show victory. Mission accomplished. Hamas suffers, but Israel is seen as the weaker party.

Israel allowed Hamas to fire another 13 rockets after the ceasefire. This looks like a weakness, but is simply the maturity of letting a little kid get the last word in. The ceasefire began practically a few hours after the anounced cease-fire time, in exchange for which Hamas feels good about themselves for firing a few more rockets, and shows the world they cannot handle a simple agreement.

Hamas ended the battle with celebrations of victory. They ignored over 1300 targeted strikes and the sever depletion of the rocket stores. They forgot that they must be the perpetual victim, and grabbed at the opportunity to enjoy a false sense of victory. Israel, forgoing the pride of a well-fought battle, walked away from devastating the Gazan terror infrastructure without looking like the violent aggressor.

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