Gaza War Winds Down…For Now. Initial Take Aways

It is a a couple of days  the rocketing stopped and of course the gurus will begin  presenting their opinions on who won.  I have no idea because in this kind of war “winning” is not a clear cut term. There are some fairly clear preliminaries;

Hamas won the propaganda war– as is always the case in any Arab vs. Israeli war since 1973.  The Woke generation, in which anti-semitism has once again become fashionable, generated   protests and mob vandalism,  an activity to fill empty days made available by the streams of western  government money flowing into the pockets of idle youth: A youth poorly educated but arrogant in their abysmal ignorance.


As I have written before Israel and the Jewish community, in general, failed to counter this onslaught of informational zeitgeist.  They were still riding on a belief that the notion of a small state surrounded by implacable enemies would continue to evoke  international sympathy. It no long does. Moreover a number of Western Jews in their quest to be on the leading edge of every leftish movement, however destructive to their own people, joined in. In an older day they were called self-hating Jews- a term many of them hate, but not sure what else to call them. Other younger Jews seem to have retreated into the “Tikkun Olam” -repairing the world- a utopian religious world  view that crashes against  the harsh realities of the world we live in. It was not that Palestinian  and Arab propaganda was that effective…they simply hitched on a current  emotional current of the amygdala function of the brain …an imprinted instinctive anti-semitic feeling devoid of reason.

British Historian Paul Johnson on anti semitism: It is so peculiar that it deserves to be in a quite a different category. I would call it an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and deatructive


Israeli technical intelligence was, as usual, top notch, and giving some allowance for hyperbole, the Israelis knew where the arms were stored, the breadth  and extensiveness of “Underground Metro,” characteristics of their rockets, leadership, etc.But what they failed to assess correctly was then “cultural or sensing intelligence.”  The ability of the Hamas to carry on the war, their inroads into the Israeli Arab population, methods of attacking the all-important Gaza will to continue the fight. We made the same mistake in Vietnam assuming we could bomb North Vietnam into submission. Nor could we close down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Going back even further The British “terror ” bombing in WWII did not break the will of the German population to carry on the war. In summation air power alone has not and will not win wars. Its was somewhat surprising that Hamas did not offer any air defense whatsoever….that is somewhat of a mystery. Did they allow undefended air attacks as a propaganda weapon? they are capable off that in that the leadership is imperious to the suffering of their people, beyond  that of their families and clans, presumably well protected from air attacks.

A Palestinian man runs for cover during an Israeli air strike near the site of a tower building which was destroyed in earlier strikes, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 13,

It is a reaffirmation of the problems of a civilized society warring against an undeveloped-in some ways -primitive society.The intricate infrastructsure of advanced society  in which the people are accustomed to efficient and consistently available public services at war against a society or culture in which families or clans are expected to fare pretty much for themselves. Expectations of the public  for public services are low at best. Therefore attacks on the infrastructure  of the Gaza Strip have much less effect, psychologically than the rocket attacks on Israel. If you have little you have less to lose in a war of attrition.


It is obvious also that the Israeli leadership had not psychologically conditioned  the people to then duration and intensity of the Hamas rockets attacks. In some areas there were no shelters available, and fear, despite the ” Iron Dome,” permeated within the Israeli society….. which is an entirely urban population. The  Gaza population is more likely to voice  boastful shouts  of victory, but  the real feeling of the Gaza people are not readily apparent, because it is a closed society in which the people have as much to fear from the authorities as the Israeli attacks. The carefully managed media reports form Gaza cannot be seen as reliable or honest in depicting the feelings of the people; another advantage of the authoritarian rule of that of a liberal democratic one.

Israeli bomb shelter

In summation, the HAMAS held most of the cards and played them well. However their future is likely be bleak as they must depend on outside support for almost everything, and as I wrote previously, Arab support was nil and being isolated, their life lines to Iran and Turkey are dependent on many factors none of which they control.






About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
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