The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an enduring issue that has resulted in countless losses of life, deep-rooted hatred, and political stalemates. Within this conflict, the Gaza Strip has emerged as a hotspot, with Hamas, an Islamist political and military organization, gaining significant control over the region. This conflict has been fueled by enemies of the United States, Israel, and our allies inside and outside the region. While the Israeli military has employed targeted and limited raids to counter Hamas, this essay argues that such strategies are fundamentally flawed and ineffective in achieving long-term peace and stability and destroying Hamas.

Limited Raids Lack a Comprehensive Approach

Unless we are doing hostage rescue, targeted and limited raids, by nature, are short-term military operations that aim to eliminate specific threats or individuals. However, dealing with Hamas requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying grievances and social conditions that fuel their influence. Focusing solely on short-term military objectives, these raids fail to address the root causes of support to Hamas and destroy Hamas within the Gaza Strip. The sweep, clear, and leave strategy did not work in Afghanistan and Iraq and will not work in the Gaza Strip against Hamas. If I had a dollar for every time we cleared an area only to give it back to the Taliban and al Qaeda, I could buy an island and retire.

Israel Conducts Limited Raids in Gaza

Hamas’ Resilience and Adaptability

Hamas has shown resilience and adaptability despite previous Israeli military operations. Despite numerous targeted attacks and limited raids, the organization has survived and continued to grow its influence. Hamas has effectively taken advantage of the civilian casualties and destruction caused by these raids, using them as a recruitment tool and garnering sympathy from Palestinians and the international community. Time and time again, we watched this play out in Afghanistan and Iraq. This strategy is ineffective in neutralizing and destroying an unconventional threat.

The Cycle of Violence

Targeted and limited raids often lead to a vicious cycle of violence, exacerbating the conflict rather than resolving it. These raids frequently result in civilian casualties, which only serve to radicalize and encourage Hamas supporters. The subsequent retaliatory attacks by Hamas, such as rocket launches into Israeli territories, further escalate tensions and perpetuate the cycle of violence. This tactic will lose popular support and give Hamas an advantage in the information domain. This is precisely what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in a loss of support and rules of engagement that endangered the lives of US service members and gave the enemy an advantage.

The Importance of Holding Terrain

One crucial aspect of military operations against a well-organized group like Hamas is the ability to hold and control territory. Targeted and limited raids, by definition, do not have terrain, allowing Hamas to regroup and reestablish its presence once the raid is over. This lack of territorial control allows for the rapid resurgence of Hamas’s activities, rendering these raids futile in weakening or dismantling the organization. In this type of warfare, a bottom-up counter-insurgency strategy takes time, space, and opportunity away from Hamas. When this strategy was employed in Afghanistan, coalition forces could neutralize and defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The Need for Diplomatic and Political Solutions

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Hamas issue, requires a comprehensive political and diplomatic approach. Military interventions, such as targeted raids, cannot achieve this goal alone. Israel must gain and maintain strategic, operational, and tactical advantage, conduct effective urban combat operations that hold key terrain, neutralize the tunnel system, and capitalize on public support.

The United States must completely support Israel. In addition, the US must stop the money flow, keep China out, and sanction the heck out of Iran. The United States must lead the international community diplomatically and stop the handwringing. Hamas is the enemy. Those protesting Israel in favor of Hamas have no comprehension of the evil of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Some of the protesters, because of their lifestyle, would be the first organizations like Hamas would target and kill.