The so-called Operation “Pillar of Clouds”, initiated on November 14 with the targeted assassination of the commander of Hamas military wing Ahmad Jaabari, has been a resounding failure for Israel. Not only hasn´t it achieved its military and political goals, but it has also strengthened Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian resistance organizations. In this sense, Israeli goals turned out to be an illusion, as they also turned out during the Israeli operation against Lebanon in 2006.
As in the previous wars against Gaza and Lebanon, Israel has committed all kind of coward and awful massacres as an angry reaction to its military failure. In this war, Israelis demolished government and particular buildings and killed 161 Palestinians, including 14 members (and five children) of a same family. All these crimes need to be punished for through International courts.
From the political point of view, more and more people in the world agree that Palestinians have the right to resist Israeli attacks in response to the actual decades-long Israeli genocidal occupation and blockade, which is bringing about the actual physical demise of Gaza´s population.
From the military point of view and unlike the 2008 war, Hamas did not stop bombing Israeli settlements during the whole conflict. Palestinian rockets continued to fall on Israeli settlements and they were able to hit both Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities and “settlements” that had never, since the establishment of the Zionist state, been within the reach of Palestinian fighters.
Furthermore, Palestinians in Gaza were able to prevent an Israeli ground invasion due to the Iran-supplied long-range missiles. The resistance also has anti-tank Russian-made Kornet missiles with double heads, one that penetrates the tank and the other detonates it.
Israeli warplanes and warships were targeted. According to some experts, the Palestinian resistance also possesses shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, which would explain the lack of Apache helicopters over Gaza skies. Combat helicopters would be needed for any close support of foot soldiers should a ground attack be launched.
Palestinian rockets also dealt a blow to the Israeli economy. According to the business information company BDI the costs of the war for the Israeli economy were at about NIS 1.1 billion a week. Meanwhile, 80 percent of all retail and services were shuttered in the south, costing the economy NIS 100 million a day, according to the Federation of Chambers of Commerce. None of these estimates count the still unknown costs of damage to property.
Facing a disaster in all the fronts, Israel wanted to quickly end the onslaught. According to several sources, Israeli President Shimon Peres phoned US President Barack Obama and asked him to pressure Egypt to force Hamas to accept a truce on the basis of any Egyptian conditions.
In the agreement document, the leaders of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza managed to insert a clause in the ceasefire agreement establishing at least a partial lifting of the blockade Israel imposed on the Palestinian area after Hamas came to power in 2006. Border crossings into the Gaza Strip will also be opened soon. The goal is to make it easier for both goods and people to cross into the Strip following years of Israeli blockade.
Due to this siege, people in Gaza lack proper food and water, medicines, electricity, functioning sewage plants and construction materials. The unemployment level in Gaza is at 50 percent and the psychological and physical effects on the children living in the Strip have been documented extensively. In a document acquired by the Israeli human rights group Gisha, the Zionist government referred to the blockade as “economic warfare.”
The most important victory for the Palestinian resistance is that Israel´s deterrence has been destroyed, and the Palestinian resistance groups are now in a position to respond to Israeli missile attacks. Hamas and Islamic Jihad´s military power surprised the Israelis, as it also did their upgraded rocket capability.
Israeli television’s Channel 10 aired a video report of frightened Knesset members dropping to the ground and taking cover, including Labour MP and former Defence Minister Amir Pertez, who was hiding by a wall out of fear of being hit. Another video showed Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan running alongside a wall in Beir Sabae out of fear to be hit by a Palestinian rocket. Military censorship of the Israeli army’s intelligence agency AMAN has banned the publication of any information about Israeli soldiers being targeted.
As a result of their victory, Hamas and other Palestinian factions have been able to position themselves as a negotiating partner, guaranteeing them a role as an actor in the Middle East. Simon Shiffer, a columnist for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, wrote that Hamas has now become the most influential Palestinian power because it forced Netanyahu to undertake negotiations with it while ignoring the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinians held jubilant victory rallies across the Gaza Strip the day after the cease-fire with Israel took effect. Each of the Strips resistance factions hailed their military achievements and what they consider as a new era for Palestinian unity.
Changing Muslim World
Gaza´s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, has attributed the Palestinian resistance´s victory, in part, to a changing region, where the Zionist entity is becoming weaker and weaker. Israel “staged this war in a changing region. Egypt has changed, and the whole Muslim world has changed,” Haniyeh said.
The Iranian support to Palestinian fighters has also been decisive for their victory. In this sense, Hamas and Islamic Jihad thanked Iran for supplying them with weapons and technology. The statements of gratitude as well as reciprocal remarks from Tehran signal that the alliance between Iran and Palestine is alive and well.
The region´s new governments, particularly Egypt, have also provided Hamas with political backing in its challenge to Israel. The crisis has propelled Mursi, who negotiated the truce, into the role of an important regional statesman. Saad Al-Katatni, chairman of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), and other leading members of the Egyptian parliament visited Gaza during the war to show their solidarity with the population of the Strip. This new Egyptian attitude fully contrasts with the situation in the 2008-9 war, in which Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak adopted an openly pro-Israel stance.
The reality is that there is now a new political and military equation in the Middle East that clearly shows Israeli geostrategic vulnerabilities. Israeli political leaders appear to be unprepared for this grim new reality, whose main manifestation is the Palestinian resistance´s new capacity to strike deep inside the Zionist entity, an ability that is sure to increase much more in the coming years.