Israel having difficulties and suffering losses both on land and sea

It seems increasingly clear that the conflict in Palestine is not an easy task for Israel. In addition to the difficulties of advancing on the battlefield and the heavy losses that the IDF has suffered during clashes with Palestinian troops, defeats at sea are beginning to occur. Yemeni forces, who previously declared full support for Palestine, captured an important Israeli merchant ship, taking new hostages and improving the Palestinians’ bargaining power in the prisoner exchange negotiation process.

Undoubtedly, Israel is stronger than its adversaries in the current Palestinian war. Tel Aviv is a state with a complex and organized structure, having a regular national army and sufficient strength to defeat armed militias such as Hamas and many other Palestinian armed groups. The problem is that the fighting is not happening symmetrically, and, despite territorial advances, Israel is clearly suffering significant damages, which could generate great difficulties in the near future.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, frequently announce the neutralization of Israeli soldiers and tanks. Several videos have been published on social media showing Hamas fighters using rockets and grenades against Israeli tanks and instantly disabling them. Confirming what had been predicted by analysts, Israel is having difficulty using its combat vehicles in an urban area full of debris. IDF’s bombings destroyed civilian buildings, making the ground in Gaza difficult terrain for tanks, which end up becoming an easy target for Hamas.

In the same sense, it is important to remember that Israel has not yet managed to enter the Hamas’ tunnels. The IDF claimed that the Palestinian Resistance was using Al Shifa Hospital and other civilian facilities as a human shield. With these excuses, several bombings were carried out against hospitals, but no bunkers were found. In practice, the IDF is unable to find the correct way to reach the enemy’s underground system. So, the bombings against civilians have really no strategic value.

However, the situation is complicated not only on the land battlefield. At sea, things are getting worse for the Zionist state, which is starting to suffer not only military but also commercial losses. On November 19, Yemen’s Houthi armed forces captured a major Israeli merchant ship in the Red Sea. The ship belongs to an Israeli businessman and was being operated by employees of German and Japanese companies on a voyage from Turkey to India.

Commenting on the topic on social media, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said that the seizure was a response to the “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank”, adding that “if the international community is concerned about regional security and stability, rather than expanding the conflict, it should put an end to Israel’s aggression against Gaza”.

A number of 25 people were reported taken prisoner by the Houthis. None of the crew are believed to be Israeli citizens, which makes the case even more complicated. By capturing an Israeli vessel with foreign crew, the Houthis create a situation of diplomatic instability for Tel Aviv. Countries whose citizens have been captured will demand a quick and safe rescue operation, but this is almost impossible to be achieved by military means. Therefore, the bargaining power of the Palestinians is increased. To avoid a diplomatic crisis with the possible death of foreigners in a naval operation, Israel will have to agree to release Palestinian prisoners, withdraw militarily or meet any other request from the Yemenis.

All these factors lead Israel to diplomatically and militarily difficult circumstances. The IDF has to face long military attrition, heavy losses and, in parallel, Tel Aviv has great diplomatic and political instability. The Netanyahu government is the most harmed by this crisis as any of its actions turn against it. If Netanyahu increases attacks, he is criticized for human rights violations and fomenting war. If he reduces the intensity of the fighting, opponents call him a weak leader and incapable of achieving Israel’s objectives.

In parallel to all this, the chances of the conflict reaching an international level raise day by day. Recently, Hezbollah published a video on its social media with the message “We are coming”. This has generated expectations that the Lebanese militia’s troops will begin a full-scale attack soon. The group has been a de facto participant in the conflict since the beginning, using artillery and drones to destroy Israeli military and intelligence infrastructure on the border with Lebanon. Considering the massive military power of Hezbollah – apparently the largest non-state armed group in the world – the beginning of a land incursion would greatly harm Israeli plans.

By yasmin

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