(CTN NEWS) – U.S. officials are warning against a ground assault in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, expressing concerns that such a move could lead to a two-front war.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have promised Israeli troops victory in the current hostilities.
Following Joe Biden’s recent one-day visit to Israel, there are growing concerns among US officials about the potential consequences of a ground assault in Gaza.
The expectation of a substantial Israeli military invasion, aimed at dismantling Hamas entirely, has raised the specter of a two-front war.
This heightened military determination became apparent as both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a visit to the troops stationed along the Gaza border, where they delivered promises of victory and reassurance of their unwavering commitment to the mission.
As President Biden was on his flight back to Washington after a day of discussions in Israel, he was questioned about the likelihood of a large-scale ground assault by the 300,000-strong Israeli military forces amassed along the border.
While the President acknowledged that discussions had taken place regarding potential alternatives to a full-scale invasion, he refrained from divulging specific details.
Biden’s remarks come in the wake of a statement by Lt Col Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, who, for the first time, cast some doubt on the inevitability of a ground invasion.
Lt Col Hecht emphasized the IDF’s preparations for the next phases of the conflict but refrained from confirming that a ground offensive was the sole course of action, leaving room for the possibility of alternative approaches.
Following a breach of the border wire around Gaza by Hamas insurgents, a tragic incident occurred, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,400 lives, predominantly civilians.
Furthermore, over 200 individuals were taken hostage during this ordeal.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly vowed to “eliminate Hamas,” and there was a notable deployment of military assets, including tanks, in southern Israel, signaling a potential military action.
However, the anticipated assault was temporarily postponed as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on a regional tour, and Israeli officials received a series of diplomatic visitors from Washington, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Michael Kurilla of the Central Command, and eventually President Biden himself.
Their collective message was clear: to avoid repeating the hasty military responses made by the U.S. in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, prioritizing a strategic approach over immediate reaction.
A former high-ranking American commander in the Middle East expressed concerns about the significant challenges involved in a major urban operation to dismantle both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Equally pressing is the absence of a well-defined post-conflict plan.
The issue of Hezbollah’s potential involvement also looms large, with U.S. officials cautioning against a full-scale ground assault due to the risk of reprisals from Hezbollah in the north and the possibility of a two-front war.
Escalating tensions on the Lebanese border have already led to daily skirmishes. Moreover, it’s feared that such an assault could result in a humanitarian crisis for which Israel would bear responsibility, with no guaranteed success in eradicating Hamas, potentially fueling a new generation of Palestinian recruits in Gaza and the West Bank.
Nonetheless, the status quo, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza, remains an untenable option, especially after an attack that resulted in the largest loss of Jewish lives since the Holocaust.
A senior Israeli security official revealed that their American counterparts had been engaging in discussions about the lessons learned from the U.S. military’s experiences, particularly the mistakes made in Iraq.
However, this Israeli official emphasized the unique nature of their situation, contrasting it with the cities like Fallujah, Baghdad, or Basra.
They pointed out that their homes were mere kilometers away from Khan Younis and Gaza City, with Israeli villages situated remarkably close to the Palestinians who invaded them the previous Saturday.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Israel had already been involved in three significant conflicts with the group before the recent Hamas attack.
Each campaign aimed to contain the militant group, following a military strategy known as “mowing the grass,” acknowledging that the threat would persist.
Israel regards the threat from Hezbollah on the Lebanese border similarly.
The senior Israeli security official conveyed a sense of necessity, stating, “We gave it a chance but we cannot allow it.
You can’t live under the threat of a sword all the time from both fronts. We will have to take care in the northern arena one day.
We can’t live like that. But first, let’s eliminate this,” referring to the Gaza threat.
Israeli military leaders hold themselves accountable for the failure to protect Israelis from a tragedy like the one inflicted by Hamas on October 7.
The security establishment believes it must regain the trust of the nation.
“There is no other choice. We won’t be able to show ourselves on the streets as the military without providing security for our people,” the security official stated.
“The basic agreement between the Israeli government and the Israeli people was broken. Because there is a commitment.”
Here are some additional points and insights related to the content:
Unique Security Challenges In Israel:
The Israeli security official highlights the distinctive nature of Israel’s security challenges, emphasizing the proximity of Israeli communities to Palestinian areas. This proximity magnifies the security concerns, making it essential for Israel to address threats swiftly and decisively.
“Mowing the Grass” Strategy:
The mention of “mowing the grass” is a reference to a military strategy employed by Israel. It involves periodic military operations to suppress and degrade the capabilities of groups like Hamas. The name reflects the understanding that while the threat may temporarily diminish, it is likely to resurface over time.
Comparison with Hezbollah:
The text draws a parallel between the threat posed by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Israeli leadership sees both of these as significant security concerns and expresses the need to address the Gaza situation before tackling potential challenges in the northern arena, where Hezbollah operates.
Accountability and National Trust:
The Israeli military leadership acknowledges its responsibility in protecting the nation’s citizens and expresses a desire to regain the trust of the Israeli people. The failure to prevent a tragic event caused by Hamas has highlighted the importance of security and protection for the country’s population.
Commitment to National Security In Israel:
The official emphasizes the government’s commitment to providing security for its citizens. This commitment is a fundamental agreement between the Israeli government and the people, signifying the importance placed on the safety and well-being of the nation.
Overall, this paragraph sheds light on the intricate security challenges faced by Israel and the underlying commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of its citizens in a region marked by complex geopolitical dynamics and longstanding conflicts.
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