Saturday, January 3, 2009

Israeli forces enter Gaza - the mind game starts

The Israelis have entered Gaza. The important thing to understand now is that the outcome of this ground assault will be decided by how Hamas will react to it. Simply put, this assault is first and foremost a mindgame designed to crush the will of the Palestinian resistance. For the next 36-48 hours we will hear many reports of Israeli "successes" including seized Qassam rocket factories, destroyed headquarters, killed commanders,and many Hamas prisoners. This "information" will be 50% outright lies and 50% disinformation with no basis in any reality. Next to that, I predict that the Israelis will really succeed in cutting the Gaza Strip into several districts. That in itself will be presented as a major "victory". Again, let me repeat this one more time:


First, neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians, not anyone else will be able to really know what effect this ground operation will really have on the ground. It will take a least 48 hours to get a sense of what really happened on the ground in military terms.

Second, the outcome will be result of *perceptions*. If Hamas fights Israel from day one until the exit of the Israelis then this operation will be deemed as a failure by most people. If Hamas "folds" and accepts some kind of "deal" then it will be an Israeli "victory".

Thirdly, time is on Hamas' side: following the first 48 hours, each passing day things will see things get worse for the Israelis. Therefore, my guess is that if Hamas succeeds in actively resisting for one week or so the Israelis will essentially be defeated. If Hamas "folds" it will be very soon, in the next couple of days.

For the first time in their history the Palestinians have the opportunity to inflict a painful defeat upon the Israelis. Hopefully, they will seize it.