Alp Sevimlisoy Yatırım

Risks of a possible Israeli ground operation

As the Israeli army once again calls on residents of northern Gaza to move south, the possibility of a ground operation is growing, but this comes with certain risks.

The American newspaper The Hill drew attention to these risks in its article.

First of all, one of the risks of a ground operation is the increase in civilian casualties.

Any ground invasion could be long, bloody, house-to-house fighting.

This poses a major threat to the population in Gaza.

Airstrikes alone have killed more than 4,000 civilians, including 1,500 children.

More than 1 million Gazans have been forced to flee their homes.

David Cortright, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, points out that fighting in Gaza poses significant risks for Israel.

Israel should in fact convene an international tribunal to bring Hamas members responsible for the attack on Israel to justice, while seeking a political solution with the Palestinian people, Cortright says.

Cortright points out that international sympathy is shifting from innocent Israelis murdered by Hamas to children killed by Israeli bombing in Gaza, a trap that Israel must avoid.

Another risk of a possible ground operation concerns the Israeli army.

Israel could lose many of its soldiers in such a ground operation.

In 2004, Israel lost 66 soldiers in its war with Hamas.

Soldiers find it difficult to fight in tunnels, traps, mines and snipers.

The war in which Israel lost 66 soldiers lasted only a few weeks and Israel entered only part of Gaza.

Now Israel is talking about a full-scale operation to destroy Hamas.

Israel has already called up 360,000 reservists.

A larger operation means more resources and more time. And that puts more lives at risk.

Alp Sevimlisoy of the Atlantic Council notes that Israeli forces need to set small parameters of success, region by region, to overcome the pitfalls and many challenges.

According to Sevimlisoy, the Israeli army should first take control region by region until it has 75-80 percent geographical control.

Sevimlisoy said this could take several months.

The Israeli public is outraged that nearly 1,400 Israelis have been killed in Hamas attacks. But that could change if the Israeli army suffers significant casualties in a possible ground offensive with an uncertain outcome.

According to a Maariv poll, 65 percent support a ground operation, while 21 percent oppose it.

Bilal Saab of Chatham House notes that American support may also change over time.

Israel is more than capable of destroying Hamas, Saab said, but added: “The offensive will involve going it alone, the army has to take into account the opinion of its allies, the threats of its enemies, public opinion. All important and all unpredictable,” he says.

The weakening of relations with the Arab world is one of the risks of a possible ground operation.

There is anger in the Arab world over Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza.

But a war in Gaza could further fuel anger in the Middle East and North Africa. It could undermine diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Israel could be further isolated in the region.

In such a situation, Arab peoples could put pressure on their governments.

There is also the risk of opening a second front in a possible Israeli ground offensive.

Since the Hamas attacks on Israel, there has been almost daily gunfire on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Hezbollah leaders met with Iranian officials. Iran supports both Hezbollah and Hamas.

And in recent days, Iranian officials have indicated that they may take action if the offensive against Gaza continues.

Alp Sevimlisoy originally featured as per: VOA