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July 24, 2014 10:53 pm

Military Analyst: Israel Not Reading Hamas Correctly, for Terror Group This is a ‘War of Independence’

avatar by Deborah Danan

A Hamas terror tunnel discovered by the IDF in Gaza. Photo: IDF.

The IDF and Israel’s political echelon are misreading the picture coming out of the current fighting in Gaza, a senior military commentator on Israel’s Channel 10 said Wednesday evening.

While Israel is acting as if this is another incursion into the Gaza Strip, Hamas is fighting its “war of independence,” warned Alon Ben David. “16 days into Operation Protective Edge and it seems like Israel is being maneuvered into a corner by fighting a ‘war of necessity’.”

Ben David said in his opinion both the government and the generals in Israel are fighting with a view to managing the conflict rather than fighting for a victory.

“I think the story is bigger than the tunnels, we don’t read the other side correctly,” he said. “We talk to ourselves and a few friends about the ceasefire, but I listen to Khaled Meshaal… It sounds like Gaza’s war of independence to remove the blockade,” he said.

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“They prepared for this war. I remember listening to the assessments in Israel, when people said [Hamas] is not interested in fighting, and they will probably agree to a ceasefire because they are already beaten, and I ask myself: Do we really understand the other side? It looks that the other side wants a lengthy war with Israel, they are making – from their perspective – significant achievements,” Ben David explained. “They managed to cut Israel from air travel, to disrupt it badly. They managed to disrupt day-to-day life throughout the country and in the communities around Gaza they did this completely. People are not living like they used to.”

Ben David further added that, “[Israel] views it as just a small, limited operation about the tunnels. But this event is of much higher significance than we understand, and – by the way – not just for Israel and Gaza – but regionally.”

Speaking of Mohammed Deif, the nominal leader of Hamas’s military wing and a survivor of four Israeli assassination attempts (after four attempts on his life, Deif is reportedly blind in one eye, his hands and legs were severed and he is confined to a wheel chair. He also reportedly has trouble speaking), Ben David said he is fighting a war that is not meant as a tactical victory but as a battle that will be etched in the collective Palestinian consciousness as one of constitutive importance.

“I wonder: Are we reading Mohammed Deif correctly? His behavior indicates that he is fighting the battle of his life now, this is it. And he prepared for it very well. He prepared the strategic infrastructure with tunnels entering Israeli territory, with tunnels inside Gaza where Hamas has an advantage because IDF soldiers are not trained in fighting trench wars. He’s trying to pull us to his own ballgame and it seems that so far he is succeeding,” Ben David said.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, echoing the sentiment of Ben David, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog spoke of the “unimaginable” mega-terror attack Hamas is believed to have been planning — sending hundreds of terrorists swarming through those tunnels to massacre Israelis in the Gaza-envelope kibbutzim and moshavim, The Times of Israel reported.

Netanyahu said Sunday that the intended Hamas attacks on kibbutz kindergartens, homes and dining halls would have been “catastrophic.”

Additionally, the IDF spokesperson has published several photos in recent days of significant amounts of fake IDF uniforms and other Hamas equipment, including guns and rifles of the same type used in the Israeli army.

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