The Israeli military is once again dropping bombs on the besieged Gaza Strip. Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, after fighters from it and other groups carried out a massive assault in Israel that began Saturday morning. So far, at least 900 Israelis and more than 600 Palestinians have been killed; those numbers, particularly on the Palestinian side, are likely to climb significantly as the conflict continues.
The latest Israeli military operation in Gaza is the most recent in a long string of such incursions over the past two decades. Major attacks took place in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2021—virtually every two years. Israel has pursued a strategy of “mowing the lawn,” a phrase it uses to describe the periodic bombing of Palestinians in the territory to keep armed groups at bay. But each time Israel says it is going to degrade and destroy the capabilities of Gazan militants, fighters soon prove they have only expanded and increased their capabilities.
This weekend’s display of these capabilities—and the horrific violence it unleashed—was so extensive it left intelligence experts dumbfounded. Gaza is perhaps the most militarily surveilled spot on Earth. The territory has been under siege for a decade and a half, with an Israeli naval blockade and weaponized drones routinely flying overhead. High-tech Israeli missile interceptors, walls and fences, and underground tunnel detectors constantly patrol the strip. But Hamas was still able to launch its massive, multiphase air, land, and sea assault.
This paper was published by Foreign Policy on October 9, 2023. To read more click here
Featured image credit: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan