Analysis Of Third Phase Of Israeli Army Operation In Gaza Strip

 ISWNews Analysis Group
Author: ISWNews Analysis Group
Wednesday 27 December 2023 - 16:45

According to what the Israeli regime’s media outlets have reported so far, the third phase of the Israeli army operation in the Gaza Strip includes withdrawing from their positions in the northern areas of the Gaza Strip, continuing ground and air attacks, and creating a security buffer zone throughout the besieged region. However, Israeli military sources have discussed a phase of intelligence-security operations that raises many questions about the dimensions of the third phase.

Retreat and the start of intelligence and security operations:
The Israeli regime appears to be trying to reduce its targeted aerial and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent or counter greater threats from the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Lebanese resistance front. Instead of destroying the remaining areas of the Gaza Strip, Israel aims to focus on its main objective of assassinating or capturing the leaders of Hamas. Additionally, there has been significant financial pressure on the Israeli regime’s cabinet, and the army must maintain its weapon reserves to confront larger threats. Therefore, in this stage of the war, the activities of Israeli intelligence and security organizations will become more prominent, and intelligence and security operations will increase. This trend has been highlighted by the assassination of martyr Seyyed Razi Mousavi, indicating that the Israeli army has prepared itself to act against all resistance groups.

Moreover, the ground clashes in the Gaza Strip have reached a serious deadlock, and the frontlines have not seen significant changes for about ten days. The heavy blows inflicted by Palestinian groups upon Israeli military forces, as witnessed in numerous videos, have caused considerable casualties and damage to Israel, prompting Israeli military officials to expedite the end of the second phase of ground operations. International pressure on the Western states has also increased, and the tendency of the administration of US President Joe Biden to support and cover up the Israeli regime’s crimes in the Gaza Strip has diminished.

Security Buffer Zone:
The exact details of the security buffer zone are not precisely known. According to information from Israeli and Western media, the buffer zone will be approximately one kilometer wide (or alternatively, two to four kilometers) and will cover the entire Gaza Strip.

Ceasefire Negotiations:
Perhaps, one of the reasons that led to the start of the third phase of Israeli operations in this period of time was the resistance of the Palestinians to agree to a temporary ceasefire for the second time. The main goal of the Israeli regime in conducting ground operations in the Gaza Strip was to free Israeli captives, which not only did not succeed but also resulted in multiple failed attempts by Israeli Special Forces to infiltrate the captives’ location, leading to heavy losses for the Israeli regime’s army.

Overall, Israel still enjoys the support of American and European Zionist lobbies and is willing to continue the war in the Gaza Strip. The timeframe for the implementation of the third phase of operations has been stated from nine months to two years; so, there is no urgency seen for negotiations and a cessation of the war. However, the issue of Israeli captives has put significant pressure and domestic consequences on the Israeli regime; although, these pressures have not yet resulted in any changes in the regime’s decisions regarding negotiations. The captives remain the most significant bargaining instrument in the hands of Palestinian resistance movement during any negotiations, and media coverage of the captive issue will have a significant impact on the shaping of the Israeli regime’s protest rallies and demands.

In general, the previous plan of the Israeli army to force the Palestinian resistance groups to surrender doomed to failure and despite the Israeli advance on the ground in the Gaza Strip, their main objectives, including freeing all captives, destroying Hamas, and eliminating the leaders of the resistance groups, have not been achieved. Undoubtedly, if the Palestinian resistance continues and external strikes on Israeli positions and interests increase, the third phase will come to an end much sooner than the announced deadline. However, this conclusion will not be through the destruction of the Palestinian resistance, but rather through victory and hope for the liberation of all of Palestine.

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