Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Israel and Palestine are engaged in a renewed conflagration, adding another layer of danger and instability to an already tumultuous world. This recent attack is being described as Israel’s 9/11 moment, which will have profound implications for Israel’s security strategies and the recalibration of regional stakeholders. This attack represents a significant intelligence failure for a nation that has prided itself on its security apparatus. It also shatters the illusion of security that Israelis once had, as they now realize that their adversaries can breach it.

The surprise assault by Palestinian fighters, under the cover of a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza, has shaken the confidence of a people who have learned to live in a volatile neighborhood. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared this a “long and difficult war” that was forced upon Israel by Hamas’ murderous attack.

As Hamas fighters entered Israeli territory, killing civilians, seizing vehicles, and taking hostages, the audacity of this globally proscribed terror group became evident. Israeli retaliation has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, both in Israel and the Gaza Strip. But this is just the beginning, as the region braces for further escalation.

At the local level, this attack will necessitate a reassessment of Israel’s military strategy. Hamas is well aware of what to expect from Israel, as they meticulously planned this attack. Hamas has called on Palestinians and other Arabs to join the action, further raising concerns of multiple fronts opening up. However, any ground operation in Gaza would be challenging due to the urban terrain and the ability of Hamas fighters to hide among the civilian population.

This conflict extends beyond a local level, as it is embedded in wider regional faultlines. With the backing of Iran and support from Hezbollah, Hamas aims to establish itself as a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The recent attack also aims to derail emerging strategies in the Middle East, particularly the potential rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

This attack serves as a lesson for nations like India, facing terrorism threats. Non-state actors, supported by states like Iran and Pakistan, pose a significant threat that cannot be disregarded in the midst of great power contestation. Security apparatuses must remain ahead of adversaries by avoiding biases and thinking outside the box.

Although Israel possesses a strong military and intelligence capabilities, this attack reveals the vulnerabilities of a nation constantly operating in a state of war. Israel must not only rebuild its war machinery and reestablish deterrence but also reconsider the political goals it aims to achieve through the use of force.

Harsh V. Pant is a Professor of International Relations at King’s College London. He is Vice President – Studies and Foreign Policy at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. He is also the Director (Honorary) of the Delhi School of Transnational Affairs at Delhi University.

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

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