Israel is preparing an unprecedented ground operation in the Gaza Strip, promising to destroy Hamas. As Reuters writes, citing eight sources, Israel's short-term strategy is to destroy the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, pushing locals to the border with Egypt and eliminating Hamas' maze of underground tunnels. However, despite all the talk, Israel's military command and authorities have yet to launch a ground operation. Israeli military expert David Gendelman explained to The Insider that IDF troops are ready to engage, but there are political and humanitarian issues that must be addressed first.
This is a long and ambitious operation, so Israel had to make appropriate preparations and refine operational plans taking into account specific tasks. So far, the operation will cover the northern part of the Gaza Strip, if we are talking about ground maneuvers. According to the operational plans available, the area will take a few weeks to capture, and then another few weeks to mop up. And if that decision is made, there will have to be stabilizing activities of uncertain duration. All of this suggests the conflict would last for at least several months. Importantly, this only concerns Gaza, without expanding to other fronts, such as northward against Hezbollah.
A long campaign requires a lot of ammunition, which is why the U.S. has rushed in additional aid. Some of the already scheduled deliveries were made ahead of time, but we need more missiles and interceptors for missile defense systems, specific weapons, ammunition, spare parts, and so on.
Furthermore, Israel is winding up pre-combat exercises. War plans provided for the mobilization of reservists and their engagement in major maneuver operations, which required improving cohesion and eliminating certain shortcomings in logistics.
And then there are political considerations and coordination with the Americans on humanitarian matters. We need to displace as many civilians from the northern to the southern part of the Gaza Strip as possible. Hostages are an additional factor, which was also discussed with the United States.
The combination of these factors has a direct impact on the ground operation. In purely military terms, the preparation has already been completed. From now on, it's the government's call when to give the order.