Israel-Hamas war 'not over,' but 'changing its shape'

 April 11, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

As the Israel Defense Forces began to withdraw their ground troops from the southern Gaza Strip a few days ago, some began to question whether the war might be coming to an end.

Not so fast, says Tal Beeri, director of the Research Department for the Israeli-based Alma center. "The war is not over," he told WND. Having served for 20 years in the IDF as a military intelligence officer, Beeri’s experience leads him to conclude the war is "changing its shape." North of the Gaza Strip and in Khan Yunis, "[the war moved] from wide ground maneuvers to targeted ground raids based on accurate intelligence," he said, noting that it will carry on in days ahead.

Beeri described the ongoing conflict as "a very complex war in a dense urban area, [which has allowed] the enemy to take advantage of every opportunity to implement the human shield tactic." Despite this, he says, the Israeli military has had "very great success in terms of damaging the military power of Hamas."

"The war against Hamas will continue for a long time both in the city of Rafah and in the central area of the Gaza Strip, where no ground maneuver has yet been carried out," he explained to WND. To that end, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, "We will complete the elimination of the Hamas battalions, including in Rafah. No force in the world will stop us. Many forces are trying to do this, but it will not help because this enemy, after what he has done, will not do it again."

"In order to finally dismantle the organized military power of Hamas," Beeri explained, "Israel must complete the military activity both in the city of Rafah and in the central area of the Gaza Strip."

Casualty numbers don’t add up
There is inevitably a deadly cost to war, but is the West receiving accurate casualty data?

According to multiple news outlets, Palestinian civilians have been killed by the tens of thousands since Hamas' Oct. 7 cross-border attack. Interestingly, the “only official source” for Palestinian casualties is the Gaza-based Ministry of Health – an agency controlled by Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a foreign terrorist organization for over 25 years.

"Despite the propaganda efforts of the Palestinians and their supporters around the world," Beeri told WND, "the number of civilian casualties is very low compared to other wars in the recent past." He also noted that "many casualties are actually military operatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip." What’s more, the Foundation for Defense for Democracies recently pointed out significant flaws and exaggerations in Palestinian casualty data, with one of the FDD’s directors describing some of the casualty statistics likely "fictional."

There are also reports of famine and a growing humanitarian crisis in the region. But according to the Alma research director, "there is no food problem in the Gaza Strip, and there never was such a problem." In Beeri’s view, "the whole issue of the campaigns about the urgent need for humanitarian aid, in general, to the Gaza Strip, and the food drops carried out by planes from various countries, are nothing more than a matter of public relations."

Beeri argued, "The abundance of food available in the Gaza Strip can be proven through authentic photos and videos from the Gaza Strip."

For him, there is only one problem affecting Gaza’s food supply, "and it is called Hamas," he asserted to WND. "Hamas operatives forcibly take over the food and aid delivered into the Gaza Strip and keep it for themselves."

Not a question of if, but when
A week ago, the IDF called up its reserve forces in light of a new threat. Beeri said, "these reserve soldiers were recruited for the purpose of preparation in light of a possible Iranian response to the April 1 assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon." Most of the reservists are being deployed to bolster the air defense forces.

Even while the battle rages on to destroy Hamas, Beeri said Hezbollah is a "clear and immediate danger" to Israel from the north. "It is not a matter of if there will be a war against Hezbollah, but a question of when," he told WND.

"Hezbollah is interested in a war against Israel and has tried to drag Israel into such a war over the past two years," he said. Beeri suspects Hezbollah may not have known about Hamas’s plans to carry out an attack in Israel. In fact, by his estimation, "Hamas's action [on Oct. 7] may have stopped [Hezbollah] from invading the Galilee region in northern Israel."

Apart from being caught by surprise, Beeri added, "Hezbollah is not interested in being second to Hamas." But rest assured, he said, the terrorist organization is still plotting the destruction of Israel and the threat remains imminent.

Ideology matters
Beeri noted the importance of ideology in the deadly fight against both Hamas and Hezbollah. "As people of the Western world, with Western thinking and values," he said, "[one needs to] pay attention to how we analyze the Shiite axis led by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas."

"Many good people are mistaken about this and do not understand, for example, that while we sanctify the culture of life, the radical Shiite axis and Hamas sanctify the culture of death," he said.

And while Israel cares about civilian casualties, both Hamas and Hezbollah exploit their population for human shield tactics, he explained: "The ideologies of Iran and Hezbollah on the one hand, and Hamas on the other, are extreme religious ideologies. That's where it all starts and that's where it all ends."

"They are not really interested in dialogue, and they will never make peace with us," Beeri assured WND. "In the end, even if it takes decades, or even hundreds of years, they want us dead."

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