300 thousand reservists ready, Strip under siege for days: the order is awaited
Israel orders evacuation of more than 1 million civilians from Gaza City ahead of ‘final offensive’. The maneuvers of the armed forces, after the attack by Hamas on Saturday 7 October, have been going on for days and the moment of the ground operation is approaching, announced in recent days by the Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly consulted the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and in the last 24 hours he received the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Washington, which has already started sending additional military aid to Israel, has so far been briefed step by step on strategy and operations.
Israel, 300 thousand reservists recalled for the attack
After the Hamas attack, Israel recalled around 300,000 reservists, simultaneously starting the siege of the Gaza Strip: tanks and vehicles mobilised, daily raids for almost a week, with around 6000 bombs in 6 days on the territory where there is no water and electricity .
The deaths in the Strip are over 1500, the displaced exceed 400 thousand units according to data released in the last few hours by the Ocha (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs): the internally displaced are “over 423,000”, with “an increase of 25% in 24 hours”, and about two thirds found shelter in schools run by UNRWA, the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees. In recent days, the Rafah crossing – with Egypt – has not had an impact on the situation although, amid conflicting news, it has remained open. The hypothesis of creating humanitarian corridors towards the north never materialized.
The evacuation order from Gaza City is expected to reduce civilian casualties in the upcoming ground offensive. In Israel the military is “waiting” for the government’s green light. The Army is “waiting to see what the political leadership decides,” said a military spokesman, Richard Hecht. “We are preparing for a ground operation if there is a decision to that effect,” he added. “The soldiers are preparing for the next phases of the war.”
Minister Gallant’s words in recent days have been eloquent. “The reality will be changed” in the Gaza Strip, where we will see “the price that will be paid” for the crimes committed by Hamas against the Israeli population. ”Hamas wanted a change in Gaza, which will change 180 degrees from what it thought. Hamas will repent, Gaza will never return to what it was before. Whoever comes to behead, kill women, Holocaust survivors, we will eliminate with all our strength and without compromise,” Galant said.
What the attack will be like and how long it will last
The operation, according to the Israeli media, will not have the characteristics of a blitz in the slightest but will in all likelihood be a widespread campaign, which could last months and which should begin with the advance from the North. The declared objective is to eradicate Hamas from the Strip and to complete the mission it is necessary to deal with the logistical reality of Gaza, a labyrinth of buildings under which a network of tunnels, bunkers and branches develops. Hamas, on the other hand, would only be one of the enemies inside the Strip.
There are other formations, starting with the Islamic jihad, which do not have resources and weapons comparable to those of Hamas but can offer significant resistance. The Israeli raids damaged the equipment that facilitated internal communication and Hamas’ control of the territory would have become more problematic. It would become more difficult for the militiamen to manage actions in a perfectly coordinated manner. On the other hand, if the attack carried out last October 7 against Israel was planned for 2 years, it is obvious that the defensive operations to counter a foreseeable Israeli response were also meticulously planned.
The presence of the hostages that Hamas captured during the raids a week ago also complicates the picture. These are 130-150 people of different nationalities.