After the end of the war on Gaza in 2014, Israeli estimates indicated that the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” lost hundreds of fighters, and two-thirds of its 10,000 rocket arsenal at the time, in addition to all its tunnels under the border. And because the capabilities of the military resistance exceeded expectations during those confrontations, Israel set five strategic goals that it seeks from fighting any next war with Hamas. And summarizes these goals , “Ron Ben – Yishai,” military correspondent of the Israeli newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” in a list of “cease completely rockets into Israel, targeting military factions leaders, and the elimination of rocket launchers a way that does not allow the production and launch long – range missiles, Reducing Hamas’s political power and influence in the Palestinian arena, and finally completing all these tasks without compromising Israel’s international legitimacy.
The rocket attacks of the Palestinian resistance caused the closure of the Ben Gurion airports in Tel Aviv and Ramon in Umm al-Rashrash (Eilat), tourism was completely disrupted, work was suspended in the Tamar natural gas field, and the oil pipelines between “Eilat” and Ashkelon were hit, Settlement residents were forced to enter the shelters to escape the rockets until further notice. Likewise, 30% of factories and workshops stopped working completely in the border settlements, and studies were disrupted in 70% of schools and universities, and the total economic damage in the first three days of the war amounted to about 540 million Israeli shekels (165 million dollars), which is equivalent to 55 million dollars. An American for every single day of the war.
Preliminary unofficial economic estimates indicate that the losses of the entire Israeli economy approached seven billion shekels ($ 2.14 billion), losses equivalent to about 0.5% of the Israeli gross domestic product, which Israel incurred within only two weeks, while its losses ceased at 0.3% of the GDP during the operation. “Protective Edge”, which lasted 51 days in 2014, according to what was published by the Israeli newspaper, ” Yediot Aharonot, ” citing a source in the Israeli Finance Ministry. https://www.youtube.com/embed/0Dn7OuoD54U?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
What is interesting is that the Israeli government will also pay compensation for the damages caused to civilians inside Israel, in addition to the salaries of the reservists it has recalled from their jobs. It has revealed official data announced by the IRS to provide 5,200 a lawsuit from Israeli civilians against the government, demanding compensation of up to a quarter of a billion shekels ($ 67 million). According to the Tax Authority’s statistics, the cost of damages to the settlers’ private properties amounted to 33 million dollars, while the cost of the military operation and fighting for the occupation army during the first four days amounted to 500 million dollars.
The price of the confrontation with Hamas seems very expensive given its negative results at the political and military level, and most importantly, time was not in Israel’s favor, given the state of the economy in crisis due to the internal debt crisis, in addition to the exhaustion of its budget due to the effects of the outbreak of the Corona virus, and its damage by the closure. During the Corona year, the Israeli public debt jumped by 20%, reaching 984 billion shekels ($302 billion), the highest number in its history since 1948, according to an official report issued by the Ministry of Finance. Apart from the economic losses due to Corona and the war together, there are still about half a million Israelis receiving unemployment benefits, and the government cannot compensate for the deficit through taxes due to its pledge not to impose any new taxes due to the repercussions of the epidemic that have already weakened the economy.
During the 2014 war, the homemade Israeli air defense system, known for short as “Iron Dome,” was able to change the rules of the game, placing Hamas and with it the Palestinian factions in a critical position. Although the resistance launched about five thousand missiles targeting the Israeli towns adjacent to the Gaza Strip and reaching Tel Aviv, the missiles did not have a tangible effect beyond the sound of warning sirens, and did not change the balance between the two sides. The data indicates that during one week of the war in 2014, the movement fired more than a thousand rockets without causing a single death due to the rigidity of the Iron Dome, and residents across the south were allowed to continue to live normally. The Israeli occupation army says that the success rate of the missile defense system during that war reached 90%.
Iron Dome was the most effective missile shield at that time, and quickly became one of the most sought-after defensive systems in the world. The company, “Rafael”, the manufacturer of the system, said that many countries exposed to the threat of short-range missiles have requested its purchase; Such as South Korea, and Central European countries. One of those who wanted to buy the system was, according to speculation and leaks published by Arab and Israeli newspapers alike, several Gulf countries seeking to protect their infrastructure from potential Iranian or Houthi attacks already in place.
Throughout that period, Israel mistakenly assumed that the performance of the resistance’s weak missiles would not witness significant leaps under the suffocating siege. This perception was supported by the continuous technological progress in the arsenal of the occupation army. However, the recent war proved that this is not accurate. Although most Hamas rockets do not have a complex guidance system, are fired from a simple metal frame, and cannot hunt their targets accurately, they were able to perform a task that exceeded their limited role in 2014, as well as all Israeli and Arab expectations Both. The first loophole that the resistance caught in the Iron Dome system was that it reaches the “saturation point” at some point, and then it can intercept a limited number of missiles simultaneously. If the resistance factions launch huge batches in one place, the Israeli missiles will not be able to prove their efficiency The usual, a point that reversed the course of the war and halted life inside Israel.
The other deficiency that marred the resistance’s strategy in the 2014 war was the bombing of one narrow area with an unlimited number of missiles. In order to make a hole in the Iron Dome system, the occupation army activated a two-missile launch system for each missile in order to ensure intercepting the largest possible number of missiles in that limited area. As for seven years later, and due to the development of the resistance’s long-range missile technology, the resistance has succeeded in expanding the circle of targeting Israel geographically to include all of central and southern Israel, and therefore it became difficult for the Iron Dome to protect the Israeli airspace over an extended geographical area.
The Gaza war comes months after Israel signed peace agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudanese transitional government, and opened up strongly to Saudi Arabia. All those regimes sought to mobilize their Arab peoples to accept these deals, given that hostility with Israel no longer has a place in the map of various regional conflicts now, and that there is no alternative to peace to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, the ignition of the fuse of events, starting with the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and the subsequent shocking Israeli attacks on the Arab and international levels, followed by the outbreak of war and the sweeping wave of sympathy with the resistance, in return for the frontline of hostility with Israel at the beginning of this new decade. He put those regimes in trouble before their people, and made them pass silently the state of solidarity with Palestine.
The criticism of these governments after the war proved that the issue still retains its deep roots in Arab society. More importantly, the Israeli aggression on Gaza in just two weeks destroyed the reputation of Israel, which has made unremitting efforts over the years to polish its image and then pass the normalization agreements with the popular blessing. For example, the Sudanese Military Council, which has been ruling the country temporarily since late 2019, faced tensions in the Sudanese street that rejected the normalization agreement signed last year. After pro-Palestinian demonstrations erupted, all these events prompted the Speaker of the Council, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, to defend himself, attacking the Israeli aggression, and hinting at the same time that the normalization agreement could be canceled.
The only exception from the countries that reviewed their position on normalization – even with propaganda statements – or took refuge in silence was the Emirates, which continued to seek to open the doors with Tel Aviv and encircle Gaza, which alone lost it alone a great moral balance, so its regime became the focus of ridicule and great popular anger. The Emirati-Israeli normalization train took off very quickly last year, and then it seemed difficult to stop it suddenly when the war broke out or to change its course to save face. Abu Dhabi will have to face, perhaps for years, the consequences of the decline in its Arab popularity due to its recent position, and its reluctance to even present The desired financial support compared to Egypt, which has the most difficult economic situation and the heaviest burden, which, despite its difficulties, allocated half a billion dollars.
The war also marginalized both Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, and may even have knocked the final nail in the coffin of the legitimacy of the traditional wing of Fatah, which has been declining and eroding over the past two decades. The Palestinian president had hoped that the Palestinian reconciliation between Gaza and the West Bank would lead to the re-imposition of his administrative control over the Strip, but it is a dream that now seems more difficult than ever at a moment when all Palestinians are aware of the importance of the resistance weapon in the equation against Israel. Abbas and the Israeli occupation were both surprised that the seeds of the intifada were still present and possible in the West Bank and the Israeli interior alike, and that the unity of the Palestinian file that was fragmented due to the diplomatic dismantling of the Palestinian issue over the past years quickly came to life again, drawing a common rhythm of resistance in Gaza and civil disobedience. Among the Arabs of 48 and the uprising against settlements in the West Bank; This is a rhythm with which the authority seemed more alien to the Palestinian street than ever before.
Prior to the 2014 war, Hamas suffered from political isolation imposed by Cairo and its Arab allies following the rise of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power, coinciding with Gulf pressure due to Hamas’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. Things were no better at home than outside; The financial bankruptcy that the movement suffered from was clear in its inability to pay monthly salaries to civil servants, which prompted it at the time to reconcile with Fatah, its arch-opponent, while highlighting several aspects of the movement’s method of politically managing the Gaza Strip, making it appear Just another face of the Palestinian Authority, which seeks its own interests at the expense of the Palestinian cause.
Although Hamas in 2014 was severely affected by the length of the war in which the infrastructure was destroyed, in which many tunnels were destroyed, as well as the depletion of the military arsenal of the factions, the ceasefire agreement with Israel was a victory in the eyes of its supporters, and relatively increased the popularity of the movement within the Gaza Strip. Compared to Fatah, especially since the blame for the poor conditions rests with Israel and its repeated aggression.
Days before the latest confrontation, the outgoing Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, had decided to postpone the Palestinian parliamentary elections, under the pretext of negotiating with Israel to allow Palestinians to vote in occupied East Jerusalem, an entitlement in which the movement was scheduled to participate for the first time since the last elections in 2006 One of the reasons for the postponement was Abbas’s fear of a certain defeat if the elections were held at a time when he faces challenges from many political opponents in a way that weakens the chances of success for Fatah under his leadership. In turn, Israel took advantage of the delay, in order to preserve the existing political situation and prevent the settlement process from being disrupted or the outbreak of a new war, but its policies in the West Bank soon led to what it was really afraid of. A new war took place with it losing an unprecedented balance since the second intifada.
Of course, the increase in Hamas’ balances after the war will not be in the interest of Abbas, Fatah and Israel, and therefore it is likely that the Palestinian Authority will postpone the file of holding elections any time soon, as long as indications on the ground indicate that it will lose them easily. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the Palestinian President himself did not put a clear end to the postponement when he announced it, and Israel expressly declares that it will not allow Hamas to obtain political influence in addition to its military arsenal by which it has imposed itself in any international equation for a political solution, which is pushing Hamas to pressure more and more. To hold elections as soon as possible, and to present itself as a representative of the Palestinians who is more faithful to the street than Fatah at the very least.
Despite Netanyahu’s refusal to reach a ceasefire with Hamas, the movement wagered on the international pressure exerted on the Israeli government, especially since the Egyptian mediation played a role in its favor this time. The announcement of the truce represented a tacit acknowledgment at the end from Tel Aviv that a political solution cannot be reached without Hamas at the head of the negotiating table. This may gradually lead to a stage that calls for removing its name from the lists of terrorist organizations that the United States and the European Union stigmatized in late 2019. However, such a transformation depends on the extent of the desire of the most prominent Arab mediators in the crisis now, led by Egypt, and their perceptions of the path of the Palestinian cause after that war. Short and articulated at the same time.
Recent events have increased Cairo’s political assets, in what appeared to be a restoration of the ancient Egyptian role in managing the Palestinian file, after events that nearly ended the role of Egypt’s historical mediator in the Palestinian issue. Riding on the normalization train by the Gulf states represented a shift that made Egypt lose the card it had enjoyed for decades in the public mediation between the Arab states and Israel.
Cairo also lost, during the past decade, its position as an exclusive mediator between the Palestinian factions, as a result of the entry of other regional countries on the mediation line. The Palestinian factions picked up the signal of the new political developments, and leaders of the Fatah and Hamas movements headed towards Turkey, which assumed an important position in the reconciliation file. Within a short period, Qatar also played its part in the security file through truce talks with the Israelis, while the Iranians retained the link to arm the resistance.
During the last war, Cairo turned the tables and went against expectations, employing its diplomacy and intelligence in pursuit of a ceasefire agreement without putting pressure on the Palestinian factions in Gaza, most notably Hamas. Only Cairo was also a pioneer on the ground with its security delegations and humanitarian aid, while others delayed or preferred support with only statements. While the Gulf engaged in normalization last year, and the waters returned to their course between Israel and Ankara, and it seemed that the Palestinian cause lost its usual momentum; Cairo benefited from the decline in most countries ’interest in Palestine, and the Egyptian regime won its image in front of the Palestinian people and the people of Gaza, and of course it won what it wanted through the phone call made by US President Joe Biden with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and it represented a public recognition of Cairo’s centrality in a file that remains. Important to the Americans, for Egypt to quickly restore several cards to its regional portfolio.
The Egyptian gains were also reflected in the decline in the momentum that normalization imposed negatively on the Egyptian role during Trump’s presidency. Normalization, which made Egypt lose its strategic role, proceeded at an accelerating pace and under several pretexts, such as peace and focus on the Iranian threat, and most importantly protecting the Palestinians and preventing the annexation of the rest of their lands under Arab pressure, which of course has not been achieved during the recent period. Neither Israel stopped the settlement operations, nor did the Gulf states exerted pressure to fulfill their promises, developments that stopped the train of normalization, even temporarily, and raised the state of condemnation directed against it in the Arab street during the recent war.
All these transformations were not only in the interest of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, but also played in the interest of the Egyptian regime. And if the Egyptian regime’s standing with the resistance on one side during this crisis has come as a surprise to many, the coming days will prove to what extent that bond between Cairo and Gaza will be strengthened despite the previous bad relations between the two parties, and at what point will the goals of the Egyptian regime and the resistance movement diverge, and most importantly How will the two parties benefit from the increased common space between them to obtain new papers that enhance their regional position. Against the background of the melodies of “Taslim Al-Ayadi”, the convoy of Abbas Kamel, the director of the Egyptian intelligence service and former director of Al-Sisi’s office, advanced in a special procession in Gaza yesterday, before Yahya Al-Sinwar gathered him with a warm hug, and a picture indicates that the point of separation has not yet come, and that there are more papers Which the two sides are preparing to acquire from that unprecedented political openness between them.