After the last Israeli ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2014, retired General Klaus Naumann, former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, gained deep insights into the thoughts and actions of Israel’s armed forces. Now he predicts an “incredibly difficult” mission.
Mr. Naumann, why is the announced ground operation by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza taking so long?
The General Staff in particular will always ask themselves: What is the relationship between effort and benefit? How achievable are the goals? And how acceptable are the risks and losses that we have to expect? Hamas has 229 hostages in its control, from Israel and related states. This is one of the main reasons for the hesitation to go in massively on the ground. Hamas is making unrestrained use of the concept of human shields here, as we already saw in Israel’s 2014 operation. Still, I suspect this ground operation will come.
Despite all the warnings of a conflagration in the region – for example from Christoph Heusgen, the head of the Munich Security Conference?
I advise people with marginal military experience not to give advice to the world’s most combat-experienced army about foregoing a ground offensive that is characterized more by fear for their own safety than by sober consideration.
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I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.