IDF Answers Hamas “Victory” Narrative

YERUSHALAYIM -
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi in March, 2020. (Flash90)

In the days following the Gaza ceasefire, the IDF has been countering Hamas claims of victory with a recitation of Israel’s achievements during the 11-day conflict.

On Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said in a speech to graduates of the military’s war college that “the balance of accomplishments ended in a clear advantage for the IDF. And Hamas, which started a war as the alleged defender of Yerushalayim, finished it as the destroyer of Gaza.”

Kohavi’s term as chief of staff was recommended for extension for another year by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ and Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday, as well, a traditional form of recognition for successful service. Their recommendation will be submitted to the cabinet for approval.

Kohavi contrasted the IDF’s “many achievements” in the campaign versus the “limited” military achievements of Hamas, most of which he termed as “psychological.”

Portraying itself as a protector of Muslim sites in Yerushalaym, it fired over 4,000 rockets, mostly into southern Israel, and instigated violent clashes at Har Habayis between Arabs and police, as well as riots in mixed Arab-Jewish cities such as Lod and Akko.

Kohavi compared that to the high price Hamas paid: liquidation of a number of its top operatives, destruction of three dozen rocket production facilities, and elimination of over 60 miles of Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip, which Israel dubbed “the metro.” This rendered an estimated third of the group’s underground infrastructure, according to the IDF.

The attacks on the metro represented “years of work, outside-the-box thinking and the fusion of Military Intelligence’s power with officials in the field resulted in a breakthrough and a solution to the enigma of the underground,” said a military intelligence official quoted by The Times of Israel.

The IDF also noted that it intercepted every drone sent over the border by Hamas, as well as its autonomous submarines.

While military officials would not predict how long the current ceasefire will last, the head of IDF Operations, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, said the operation would be considered a success for Israel if it brought about five years of calm in Gaza.