On Monday, a veteran military journalist wrote that Hamas is racing toward a military conflict. The same day, defense officials told Maariv daily that they see no signs that Hamas is interested in clashing with Israel in Gaza.
As it turned out, the journalist had better insights than the IDF’s intelligence experts. That same evening, Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem, followed by heavy barrages targeting southern Israel.
In a piece published in Yediot Aharonot daily, Alex Fishman wrote that Hamas has decided to take a risk and instigate an armed conflict with Israel. The group believes that this is a historic window of opportunity to assert its leadership status, he said.
Hamas is gradually escalating tensions, Fishman noted, starting with arson balloons and protests on the border fence. An armed clash with Israel will enable the group to position itself as the leader of the Palestinians, he said.
Fishman correctly estimated that Hamas has all the reasons to trigger a fight at this time. Israel is in a period of political transition, and Hamas leaders believe that officials in Jerusalem are in no mood to declare a war on Gaza, he wrote.
Hit Hamas harder
Fishman’s wise observations were a reminder that seasoned journalists are sometimes more insightful than military officers. Another Yediot journalist, Yossi Yehoshua, wrote that the IDF’s inability to predict the Hamas rocket assault was a resounding intelligence failure. Other reporters said that assessments by the Shin Bet security service were more pessimistic and accurate.
And what does Fishman say now? In a piece published by Yediot on Thursday, he wrote that Israel is hitting Hamas hard but needs a clear objective for the next steps. So far, the IDF killed 100 terrorists, and Hamas used some 40% of its long-range missile arsenal, he said. However, to achieve a sense of victory, Israel must do more.
Other prominent journalists are voicing the same message: The IDF needs to hit Hamas harder and must not end the war too soon. So far, Israel’s leaders show no intention of stopping.