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Let the IDF Win, or Rethink the Course

We highly recommend following Andrew Fox on X / Twitter (@Mr_Andrew_Fox), one of the most brilliant military commentators we know. Fox claims that despite the criticism of the IDF for being forced to return repeatedly to areas it has already cleared in the Gaza Strip, the IDF shows great innovation and has many successes. The IDF is facing a challenge that no army has ever faced—a fortification stretching hundreds of kilometers underground, backed by a military doctrine that does not allow for a quick military decision. Fox argues that the IDF has actually drawn correct conclusions from the failures of Western armies in Afghanistan and Iraq to deal with guerrilla warfare.

For example, as soon as the US military left Afghanistan, after occupying it for twenty years and trying to build a state there, the entire order it left behind collapsed. Furthermore, when holding the territory, the US military was static and vulnerable to guerrilla warfare. Holding territory in this way requires time, many soldiers, and resources.

The IDF operates differently. It focuses on intelligence-based operations at times and places of its choosing, and avoids holding territory for long periods. It is true that the IDF is occasionally forced to launch operations in areas it has already cleared (the "mowing the grass" tactic), but this is accounted for and prevents catastrophic damage to our forces. Under the existing conditions in Gaza, the IDF's activity is probably close to the optimal.

'Under laboratory conditions,' if the IDF can continue its activities with determination and patience, eventually the infrastructure of Hamas will be 'peeled away' and Israel will be able to win the war. This will not be an unequivocal Hollywood victory, not a victory like the Six-Day War, nor a victory over the idea of Hamas. But it will certainly be possible to dismantle the infrastructure and governmental capabilities of Hamas to the point that a return to the scenario of October 7th will become unrealistic for generations to come. However, this will only happen if Israel can wage a very long war.

The big question in this context is whether Israel can wage a long war. Another question is, if the IDF is so successful, why doesn't Hamas pursue a ceasefire? These questions are related because Hamas believes that the answer to the first question is negative: Israel will not be able to wage a long war due to internal and external pressure, and it will eventually submit to a settlement that will leave Hamas' rule intact.

Indeed, internally, the consensus surrounding the war has eroded. Even Gantz and Eisenkot declared that they supported a hostage deal in exchange for ending the war a second after they left the government. Public support for this idea stems from a feeling that the IDF is not up to the task and the understanding that a military operation will not be able to return most of the abductees. In light of this, there are new calls to depose the Chief of Staff and the chain of command, and there is much criticism of the IDF's lack of creativity in the war (Fox, as stated, presents a different opinion).

Moreover, externally, Israel has become almost a pariah state, with even its friends turning their backs on it. For example, the US is delaying armaments for the IDF, and France is banning Israelis from entering a large arms exhibition. The combination of the images coming out of Gaza and the extent of anti-Israeli activity in the West has not only increased criticism of Israel's policies but has also eroded the legitimacy of its existence and led to an unprecedented wave of antisemitism since World War II. 

It is hard to see how under these conditions it will be possible to win the war. If the IDF is doing its job well, as Fox claims, but the statesmen do not know how to support the war with international credit and a commitment to a national, not sectoral, perspective (such as the conscription law), then even if Israel dismantles Hamas' capabilities (a faint possibility), its 'victory' will become a Pyrrhic victory of an externally isolated and internally disintegrated country.

However, the difficulty of Israel winning the war does not necessarily mean that Hamas will inevitably win it. We have previously written that we think there is another way to win the war.

If the war ends with the establishment of a more effective and proactive regional axis against Iran under American auspices, if Israel will be able to shape the make-up of a revitalized Palestinian Authority in a way that addresses Israel's concerns and interests, if UNRWA is disbanded (and the 'right of return' is de facto abolished), and if an updated and effective security regime is established on the Egypt-Gaza border—future history books will write that Hamas is the one who lost the battle (see here an alternative way to win the war)


Jun 20
  1. Israel will win the war. There's no other option.

  2. Hamas will not be in power any more.

  3. The people of Israel is strong. We have great resiliency and determination. We understand we must win the war if we want to survive. And we will.

  4. This will happen even if the world will turn its back to us. It'll be much longer and more violent, but the outcome will be the same. Israel will defeat Hamas.

  5. No place for any illusions such as another form of a Palestinian Authority. Any Palestinian authority will be ruled by Hamas. The Hamas murdered the PA persons after Israel handed Gaza to the PA last time, it'll happen again.

  6. Moreover, the Palestinians, Hamas and the…

Eran Shayshon
Jun 20
Replying to

We agree with most your points, we surely hope that you are right, unfortunately, we do identify worrying trends that may undermine this. We believe that Israel should play its cards differently to ensure she wins

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