The Link between the disengagement from Gaza Strip and the withdrawal from southern Lebanon security zone, and why this mistake must not repeat ever again

Hamas organization internalized that Hezbollah managed to create a state of mutual deterrence in the face of the IDF’s strength, despite obvious power gaps in comparison. In other words, Hezbollah serves as a “role model” in creating an asymmetrical equation for Hamas

 

The Disengagement Plan was implemented in 2005 by the former Prime Minister Arik Sharon. Its main goal was to be on the initiating side and help Israel reduce the friction with the Palestinians by leaving the Gaza strip. In other words, Israel was no longer responsible to the entity called Gaza strip.

 

The rocket threat

As a result of Israel no longer controlling the territory, Hamas initiated an accelerated military intensification process. As a result the range of the organization’s rocket has increased dozens of times, and so has the size of their battle head. For example, on March 25, 2019, the State of Israel woke up to a reality in which the organization’s rocket hit a house in the Sharon (Moshav Mishmeret) about 75 miles from the Gaza Strip (it was launched from the southern Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt) and fortunately left only a few wounded.

 

The threat of the tunnels

As mentioned above, the organization’s ability to intensify militarily has remarkably improved not only in the rocket aspect, but also through a branched tunnel system that has become a strategic weapon and a significant threat to Israel.

Under the auspices of IDF’s Disengagement, Hamas managed to dig a 700-yard-long offensive tunnel (out of which 270 were in Israeli territory, in the Kerem Shalom area) and carried out the first abduction attack in which soldier Gilad Shalit was taken captive. Additional offensive tunnels that penetrated into the territory of the State of Israel and in fact violated its sovereignty were later uncovered by the Israeli security forces.

 

The “Nature reserve” thereat 

During the Second Lebanon War, the IDF had to deal with Hezbollah’s “nature reserves“. These were in fact underground outposts set up by the organization, which served as munitions depots, rocket launch stations, command pits between the combat areas and even as an escape route when needed.

 

According to a report by the State Comptroller published after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas effectively adopted the Hezbollah model and systematically and thoroughly built underground combat and clearance complexes in urban areas, which became central to the organization’s combat concept.

 

It can be said that there are clear similarities between the Unilateral Withdrawal from the security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000, and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. One consequence of the withdrawals led to the intensification of terrorist organizations in both north and south. After the IDF withdrew from the security zone in Lebanon, Hezbollah captured the area and began building up its rocket capabilities, with the organization currently holding 150,000 missiles against Israel, and establishing underground tunnels system it built before the Second Lebanon War.

 

Hamas organization internalized that Hezbollah managed to create a state of mutual deterrence in the face of the IDF’s strength, despite obvious power gaps in comparison. In other words, Hezbollah serves as a “role model” in creating an asymmetrical equation for Hamas. In fact, the organization managed to leverage the rockets and the array of tunnels into a strategic threat, and even as a weapon that breaks equality with the State of Israel.

 

Despite the fact that the State of Israel has not achieved any of the Disengagement Plan goals, and may have lost in the areas reviewed above, there is still a feeling that the people of Israel “internalized” that the call out of the national camp before the evacuation was real: evacuating the Gaza Strip will bring terrorism closer to us and not the other way around.

 

In addition, the Disengagement which former Prime Minister Ehud Barak carried out 5 years earlier, from the security zone in southern Lebanon, inevitably brought a “balance of terror” against the State of Israel against Hezbollah and even against Hamas. Only, unlike then, today the general public understands: no more unilateral withdrawals and no more handing over territories and deporting Jews from their homes.

 

 

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