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By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.

“A State of Denial”:

Netanyahu and his ruling coalition are experiencing an unprecedented “state of denial” in their handling of the war on Gaza Strip (GS). The Israeli leaders are unaccustomed to the idea of defeat and failure, given their long history of “successes” and the imposition of regional and global hegemony. They believed they were close to closing the Palestinian dossier and ushering in an “Israeli-US” era for the region.

Netanyahu, who saw himself as the uncrowned “king” of Israel and lived in a state of arrogance and conceit, has not yet realized that his ambitions and those of his army and allies have been humbled by a “vulnerable” minority of resistance forces. He has not yet realized that he and his government are experiencing an increasing “gap” between their aspirations and their actual capabilities. As a result, their state of “denial” and detachment from reality leads to greater confusion and loss of direction, as well as escalating costs and losses, until he is ultimately forced to “come down from the tree.” This situation prompted the US president to intervene directly, pushing for a deal with Hamas in an attempt to “save Israel from itself,” as some analysts have noted!!

Failure to Achieve Goals:

Israel’s confusion is evident in several ways, most notably its failure to achieve any of the declared goals of the war, even 260 days after its declaration. There has been a complete failure to “crush Hamas,” to occupy GS, to free the “hostages,” to impose the Israeli vision for the GS future, and to displace the Palestinians, despite employing all forms of brutal and bloody violence. Meanwhile, the resistance has continued its strong performance. This failure has invalidated the three main hypotheses on which Israel based its expectations:

1. The hypothesis of crushing Hamas and the resistance.

2. The hypothesis of isolating and separating popular support, turning it into a hostile environment for the resistance.

3. The hypothesis of betting on time to exhaust the resistance.

For neither has the resistance weakened, nor has popular support abandoned it, with its efficiency and effectiveness on Day 260 unchanged from the first day. This leaves the Israel feeling helpless and frustrated, driven by arrogance and anger to persist, yet also confused and directionless.

Exhaustion of the “Target Bank”:

This failure was exacerbated by the depletion of the “target bank.” Every possible area has been infiltrated, with no military, security, civilian or infrastructure target spared. The Israeli forces have exhausted their reservoirs of intelligence, artificial intelligence, and global alliances in their aggressive pursuits. Furthermore, the futility of the attack on Rafah has become evident. Numerous Israeli and Western political and military leaders were “stunned” by reports indicating that the weapons and explosives deployed in the aggression were sufficient to devastate GS ten times over, comparable in destructive power to approximately seven nuclear bombs similar to those dropped on Hiroshima.

Hamas’ Capacity for Recovery and Regeneration:

Third, numerous pieces of evidence indicate that Hamas continues to effectively manage the “command and control” system within the resistance operations and among the people. Additionally, there is increasing evidence of Hamas reclaiming and stabilizing areas from which the Israeli army had withdrawn, despite months of massacres, destruction and occupation, and after it thought it had achieved its goals. This reversal came as a significant blow to Israeli leadership, leaving them frustrated after witnessing firsthand the situation in northern and central Gaza. Israeli reports estimated the number of resistance fighters in northern Gaza alone to exceed seven thousand, highlighting the apparent ineffectiveness of the Israeli military operation, a conclusion echoed by many politicians, military officials and experts.

Israel’s Internal Crisis:

Fourth, Israel’s internal crisis is escalating, exacerbated by the lack of vision and direction among decision-makers, both in the government and the opposition, regarding the best way to address GS. There is no practical, realistic plan for the day after the war. No strategy exists to prevent Hamas from regaining control, disarm it, or ensure security for the Gaza Envelope. Even Benny Gantz, the next prime ministerial candidate, and Yair Lapid, the current opposition leader, lack viable alternatives that can be presented to the Israeli community. This is largely because they avoid acknowledging the new reality imposed by the resistance and the high costs involved. Gantz’s six-point plan to address the situation was neither practical nor realistic, as it stemmed from the same arrogant mindset, although it was marginally better than Netanyahu’s position.

In this context, we understand the reasons behind the withdrawal of Gantz and Eisenkot from the Israeli government, both of whom had previously served as Chiefs of Staff. We also grasp the implications of Netanyahu’s need to dissolve the war cabinet. This confusion is further compounded by leaks suggesting a kind of chaos within the government administration, evidenced by media exchanges between the ruling Likud party and the military over the military’s performance in Rafah. Netanyahu stated (according to the Israeli Channel 14) that he does not know who made the decision to call a tactical pause in the southern GS, nor who decided to release ‘Aziz Dweik.

Economic Crisis:

Fifth, there seems to be no remedy for Israel’s worsening economic crisis and the costs resulting from the continued GS war. This exacerbates the ability to finance the war, while turning the Israeli environment into a repellent one. Details of this crisis are too extensive to cover here, but the war bill has exceeded $60 billion, leading to disruptions in tourism, a decline in economic activity, a drop in national income, and the flight of investments.

Exhaustion of the Israeli Army:

Sixth, the exhaustion of the Israeli army is a significant indicator of the turmoil and confusion plaguing the Israeli political and military establishment. This situation is compounded by the total failure of the army in its longest war in history, with no “achievement” to show for it other than the worst and ugliest bloody image that an army can create for itself after exhausting all its brutal means. The only action left is to continue “wall-busting.”

The Israeli army attempts to conceal its significant ongoing losses to prevent a negative impact on the Israeli public. It tightly controls sources of information; however, occasional leaks reveal increasing human and material losses. Statements highlight the difficulty in providing military units to continue the war on GS and a crisis in the reserve forces. The government’s efforts to extend the length of reserve service, the army and several political parties’ push to include Haredim in compulsory service, the formation of a new military division (Division 96) of volunteers who have passed the age of exemption from reserves, and the army’s inability to maintain control over the areas it occupies in GS all indicate this exhaustion. There appears to be no end in sight to this “quagmire.”

International Confusion:

Seventh, the Israeli leadership finds itself in an unprecedented state of international confusion as a result of its war on GS. Its long-standing confidence in its global influence and its sense of arrogance due to its status as a “state above the law” for 75 years have led it to commit severe massacres and widespread destruction, and to conduct a genocidal war of starvation against the people of Gaza in full view of the world. This has resulted in widespread global outrage, despite all the media, political and financial influence wielded by Israel and the Zionist lobby. Israel has become a global pariah, classified by the United Nations as a child killer, and has been taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The pretexts that Israel had long promoted to build its global image, such as “monopoly on victimhood,” “anti-Semitism,” “self-defense” and the “oasis of democracy” in the Middle East, have crumbled. Israel has become a burden on the US and the Western world. The GS war has turned into a trap and a dilemma. Continuing the war serves to erode and destroy Israel’s global standing, while stopping the war results in an unprecedented Israeli failure, allowing the resistance to impose its terms and declare victory.

Resistance Forces Abroad:

Eighth, the Israeli side is suffering from increased pressure due to the growing roles of Hizbullah in Lebanon and Ansar Allah (the Houthis) in Yemen, causing Israel to become exhausted, weakened and scattered. Despite Israeli anger, desire for revenge and repeated threats to open and expand the “northern front,” Israel is in a state of confusion and is incapable of enforcing its threats. This is due to its exhaustion and failures in GS, the lack of sufficient tactical, human and material capabilities to open a front in the north, as well as opposition from the US and Western allies to expanding the war to a regional level.


The state of “confusion” will continue to govern Israeli behavior as long as it persists in “denial.” Israeli actions will aim to preemptively gain time in order to enhance its military and negotiating leverage, aligning with Netanyahu’s ambition to prolong his tenure. The strategy will involve “managing confusion” to exploit perceived opportunities. However, despite the immense suffering of the people in GS, time seems to be favoring the resistance, which could find itself in a stronger position to impose its terms, provided its performance remains robust. The US, the West and even some Arab parties will likely attempt to support the Israeli position, aiming to undermine the achievements of the resistance and subject it once again to siege and blackmail. Therefore, the resistance must engage in its political struggle with the same efficiency it displays in its military efforts.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 1/7/2024

The opinions expressed in all the publications and studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of al-Zaytouna Centre.

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