The Israelis waged war against Hizbullah in 2006 and suffered a shameful defeat. Now they have launched the most barbaric assault on Hamas of Gaza, who are besieged and isolated, yet are determined “to resist, endure and win”, as declared by their parliament, which embodies the will of the people. The name Gaza, itself means, “the unsurmountable”. The courage and determination of Hamas to fight against such odds is an achievement in itself. This is a war of survival for Israel.

As Noam Chomsky puts it, “Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, policies it is pursuing with blind determination today in its march toward moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.”

This self-destructive barbarity by Israel was aimed at defeating the coalition of the nations – Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. Israel first struck Hizbullah in 2006 and failed. Then decided to break the coalition through intrigue and conspiracies. Led by United States, sectarian hatred was fomented by demonizing Iran, which accentuated Shia and Sunni differences. Resultantly, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) intervened in Bahrain in 2009 to quell the Shia uprising. Shia and Sunni countries now are face to face in Syria, and the country itself stands devastated.

The enemy has placed Hamas in a very precarious situation. Their coalition partners stand divided and will not help them anymore. Secular Egypt will not help because of Ikhwan-Hamas politico-religious affinities. Saudi Arab and the GCC countries, want Hamas destroyed, much as Israel desires. Israelis have besieged Hamas but could not break their will to resist and endure the severest punishment at their hands. Hamas possesses indomitable will like the Afghans, whose “shadow armies led by committed believers, have defeated the mightiest of the mighty” as put by M.J. Akbar.

The Israel-Hamas conflict is an asymmetric war. The Israelis have one of the finest armed forces of the world and have mobilized a force of over six infantry divisions supported by their naval and air forces, yet have found themselves unable to match the Hamas soldiers. Thus having failed to achieve the war aim, they have resorted to the depraved and cowardly Dahiya Doctrine, which is the most inhuman act of punishing the innocent men, women and children, by destroying more than 110 mosques, 83 schools, 27 hospitals, 3300 residential buildings, several IDP camps, funeral processions and water and power supply networks. In fact, Dahiya Doctrine has created the conditions of a holocaust, yet it could not break the will of the Ghazans to fight.

Hamas is facing the brunt of Israeli military might with only Alaqsa and Alqasim brigades each with a strength of about 7000-8000 well trained and hardened soldiers, supported by another 10-12 thousand para military forces. They also have a Special Operation Force Group which has carried out several operations across the borders. They have no heavy weapons in support, no Air Force or Navy. But, they do have some shoulder-fired anti-air, anti-tank missiles and an array of short and medium range free flight, ground to ground rockets and have used them with effect. Hamas claims to have killed over 150 Israeili soldiers and wounded over 400.

Hamas have fired many free-flight-rockets into Israel territory, but only a few, out of these, have been intercepted by Israeli patriot missiles, which form the “Iron Dome” National Air Defense Shield for Israel. The Iron Dome Shield, thus has proved ineffective and vulnerable against Hamas rocket attacks, forcing the Israeli infantry to neutralize Hamas missile-firing-sites on ground, but failed, something similar to what had happened in 2006, when Hizbullah defeated the Israeli army, trying to neutralize their missile sites.

Hamas is determined to fight the war to its bitter end, because, a ceasefire would mean living under perpetual siege by Israel. Divine justice favours Hamas, while Israel is being condemned by the world at large. Uri Avnery, the noted Israeli scholar writes: “Let’s admit that our present enemy is fighting with great courage and inventiveness. That, almost miraculously, their civilian and military command structures are still functioning well. That the civilian population is supporting them, in spite of immense suffering. That after four weeks of fighting against one of the strongest armies of the world, they are still standing upright.” Hamas has won, because the ideology of the resistance movement cannot be defeated.

The people of Gaza are shattered but life must continue to flow. Paul Mason writes that there are only two economic routes for Gaza and the route from Israel will not be the main one. Egypt holds the key to Gaza’s economic integration to the rest of the global economy; if the Rafah crossing is opened and the need for the tunnels disappears.

Egypt has been a party to the crime. Providence has offered them the opportunity to redeem their honour. Missing the opportunity may prove to be a greater tragedy for Egypt itself, and we may witness emergence of another ISIS from the soil of Gaza.

Post Script: Lady Sayeeda Warsi, the British Cabinet Minister has resigned because: “Government approach and language, during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible. I can no longer support this policy, so that, I am able to live with myself.” Our complements Lady Sayeeda, for shaking the conscience of the Muslim World, in particular.

 The writer is a former chief of army staff.