IDF didn't succeed in deterring Hamas from new rocket strikes on Israel, US author says.
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
Israel did not violate the laws of war and made marked improvements in its fighting capability during the recent military operation against Hamas in Gaza, yet the gains from the conflict in the long term remain uncertain, a US study concludes.
The analysis of the 22-day conflict in Gaza by Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies finds "impressive improvements in the readiness and capability" of the Israeli Defense Forces since the war against Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, and unequivocally states that Israel did not violate the laws of war despite the large number of civilian casualties among the Palestinians.
"[Israel] did deliberately use decisive force to enhance regional deterrence and demonstrate that it had restored its military edge," the report states. "These, however, are legitimate military objectives in spite of their very real humanitarian costs."
Nearly 1,300 Palestinians were killed in the operation, including hundreds of civilians, according to Palestinian officials in Gaza.
The analysis finds that the IDF did not succeed in deterring Hamas from new rocket strikes on Israel or make "definitive changes in the political and military situation in Gaza," noting that the post-conflict situation looks strikingly like the situation before the fighting began.
Sporadic Palestinian rockets attacks against Israel have continued since the January 18 unilateral cease-fire declaration.
The report finds that while the success of the IDF military operation may have enhanced some aspects of Israel's military edge and ability to deter further attacks, it also did much to provoke reactions built on the anger caused by both the steadily deteriorating situation of the Palestinians and the impact of civilian casualties and collateral damage.
"The end result is that it is far from certain that Israel's tactical successes achieved significant strategic and grand strategic benefits," the report concludes.
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