Who can oust Rafa? And till where? Military experts answer

130 days after the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, military and humanitarian developments in Gaza are still accelerating, and with threats by Israeli occupation forces to invade Rafah (south of the Gaza Strip) a major explosion stage can be reached.

Yesterday, Monday, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas) announced the killing of 10 Israeli soldiers from zero distance, and the al-Quds Brigades (the military counterpart of the Islamic Jihad movement) said That it had ambushed the Israeli army, killing and injuring its members.

For its part, the occupation army confirmed – yesterday, Monday – that 9 soldiers were wounded in fighting in the Gaza Strip during the last 24 hours, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will “keep up military pressure until victory is achieved” Insists on keeping.” and the release of those detained by Hamas.

Al Jazeera Net consulted a number of analysts and experts to clarify the military and political goals that the occupation forces seek to achieve by attacking the city of Rafah, and what is the extent of its realistic success in achieving these goals.

Reasons for the attack on Rafah

Brigadier General Elias Hanna, a military and strategic expert, said, “The Rafah area has a different reality because of the geographical location in the first place, the human composition in the second place and the Israeli mind in the third place.”

He said Netanyahu linked the attack on Rafah to the success of the military campaign in general. “If he is allowed to do so, he may succeed, and here he will have achieved his primary goal. If he is not allowed, he will blame those who were not allowed to go, Rafah.”

Meanwhile, Hatem al-Falahi, a military and strategic expert at the al-Rafidin Center for Strategic Studies (Rasam), said that the Netanyahu government is trying to move to Rafah for several reasons:

  • Complete control of the Rafah crossing and the Salah al-Din corridor, a vital area whose control would completely strangle Hamas.
  • Israel wants to completely close the door to what it calls “providing Hamas with weapons that it is now using in the resistance.” This is a direct accusation against Egypt for allowing the smuggling of weapons to the movement.
  • The completion of the process of displacing the population of the Gaza Strip abroad, and this was a fundamental reason for the military operation launched by the occupation forces in the Strip since last October.
  • Only the Rafah region remains to achieve the two goals announced by the Netanyahu government: releasing prisoners held by Hamas and eliminating the movement's leaders.

As for author and political analyst Majid Ibrahim, he believes that the reasons that prompted the occupation forces to enter the city of Rafah are due to the fact that “Zionist aggression in the north and center of Gaza Wants to complete what was started.” Strip, and now wants to complete it in the south in the city of Rafah, “which he says has 4 Hamas brigades and wants to eliminate it.”

Ibrahim also explained that in addition to the growing demands of the prisoners' families, Netanyahu wants to achieve a military feat to confront his political opponents, who are lurking around him, and his assurances to them that military force will pave the way. Does. For the release of prisoners and not for anything else, and also in light of the thirst for revenge on the street since the events of the Al-Aqsa flood.

But Brigadier General Hanna returns and imposes a set of obstacles that restrict the Israeli army's ability to invade Rafah, including:

  • The civilian population density in this area is estimated at about 1.5 million people.
  • Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to develop a military plan to evacuate the displaced.

Here, Hanna raises several questions that cannot be received realistically, as he says:

  1. Who will evacuate this population density? Is this the same army? Their response is that the Israeli army is the enemy of a population that is not loyal to it and therefore cannot expel such large numbers.
  2. Would the “Fatah regime” ruling Gaza do this? His answer is that this is not possible because its employees will also be Israel's target.
  3. Is there any international organization that will do this? His answer is: It is not clear yet, because this matter takes time and is surrounded by many complexities.
  4. Is there any area with the infrastructure now ready to receive this population density? This is also not available at present.

swap deal

Al-Falahi explained that the announcement of the operation targeting the Rafah region is similar to the exchange deal that is currently being prepared. If the objectives of this invasion are achieved, Netanyahu will not be forced to conclude the deal, and will not have to negotiate in the first place. However, if it fails to achieve these objectives, it will be forced to reach a compromise with Hamas.

He said that the occupation forces are carrying out direct aerial bombardment of the Rafah area to prepare the theater for military operations in the region, and this shows that Netanyahu is not serious about reaching any agreement with Hamas during this period. Are.

He said, “I think the indicators of what is happening now with respect to the details of the prisoner exchange deal indicate that Western countries do not want to give anything to the Hamas leadership. They do not want a complete ceasefire, but only Want.” A temporary ceasefire.” Therefore, they do not work according to the principle of “all for all”, but rather “they want the deal to be in accordance with what happened in the previous period, that is, for every prisoner released by Hamas in exchange for “There will be approximately 30 Palestinian prisoners held in occupied prisons.”

The Rassam Center researcher believes that “this deal is not enough for the resistance groups that have endured this great destruction and such huge losses, and for this reason it is clear that they are in favor of concluding a real agreement with Hamas.” are not serious about.”

But Ibrahim believes the actions in Rafah are an effort to improve Netanyahu's negotiating position “in light of the prisoner exchange and ceasefire talks that reached the Paris Agreement stage.” , and also in light of this document and Hamas' response to it, demands related to relief, assistance and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

He also pointed out that Netanyahu would eventually be forced to concede after failing in his mission in Rafah, and “he will be forced to seriously negotiate a ceasefire agreement because of the increasing US pressure on him and internal and international pressure.” This will have to be done, especially since their continued targeting “will increase the world's citizens' dissatisfaction with it.”

As for Hanna, he says, “I believe that what is happening now is a pressure operation to force the resistance to change its position on intimidation and negotiations,” and so the current The bombing and targeting “is considered a special operation which Israel has considered to be the release of the two hostages, and it remains a simple special operation in preparation and within a complex and larger issue.” “For, I do not believe that this was preparation for some major operation that Netanyahu talked about.”

American situation

Regarding the US position on the Israeli offensive against the city of Rafah, Ibrahim said that Washington wants Netanyahu to “complete this final step before the month of Ramadan”, and although it objects to what the occupation forces are doing. “It remains ineffective” and does not go beyond the media and is aimed at internal consumption as a result of the president's calculations. “American Joe Biden of the Interior Ministry”, while he himself gave Netanyahu the green light to invade the entire region.

Regarding the Egyptian position, Ibrahim said that he “still adheres to his rejection of disengagement, but at the same time, unfortunately, he does not succeed in putting real pressure on the Zionist entity not to invade Rafah , and what it represents – as some say – a threat to Egypt's national security.”

Not far from this, al-Falahi said, “The United States gave the green light for this military operation, provided that there are guarantees with respect to civilians.” There is no doubt that Netanyahu will give these guarantees to the US President, “because Washington is the main supporter of the Israeli government and has been preventing the Security Council from issuing any ceasefire decisions in the past period.

Al-Falahi concluded, “So, it is satisfied with the military operation, and whatever is happening in the region is happening with very large American support and Western support, including France, Germany, Italy and Britain.”

But Brigadier General Hanna has another perception, as he says that “at the geopolitical level, Netanyahu needs approval from the sponsor, i.e. the United States,” and hence his position “from time to time during the past Things began to change somewhat in “two days,” and contacts took place between the president and Netanyahu. I don't think Biden has given them the green light. Rather, he warned them about the consequences of entering Rafah, and so if they attacked, it would damage relations with the US.

He also pointed out that Israel needs Egypt's position in observing normal borders, including the entry and exit movement of combat aircraft, weapons or even relief aid. There is also the Camp David Agreement between Cairo and Tel Aviv, which is very important to Israel and must be preserved.

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