Hamas, Hizbullah Explode the Myth of Israeli Invincibility

There is a silver lining on the horizon – and it is quite clear. Ironically the enemies are observing it better than many Muslims.

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There is a silver lining on the horizon – and it is quite clear. Ironically the enemies are observing it better than many Muslims.

The days of the lightning Israeli operation is over. In Six Days – between June 5 and 10, 1967 – the Israeli land, air and naval forces completely decimated the combined army, air and naval forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. They literally chased the Egyptian army within the matter of three days (June 5-7), captured the entire Sinai desert, the Gaza Strip and crossed Suez Canal. Towns like Sharm-al-Sheikh in South Sinai were captured by the Israeli Task Force and not the regular elite army.

And in the next three days the Israeli Defence Forces seized strategic Golan Heights from Syria and snatched the other half of Jerusalem from Jordan. In the first 185 minutes of the war the entire Egyptian Air Force was virtually destroyed – more than 80 per cent of its aircraft were destroyed on the airbases themselves. All this happened when the three Arab nations were fully prepared for war and even ready to attack Israel. Egypt alone had amassed over one lakh of its soldiers, besides 1,000 tanks, 1,100 armoured personnel carriers and 1,000 cannons on the Israeli front.

The Israelis intercepted the messages of the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Syria several days before the war and thus made a pre-emptive strike on all the three armies. Though 21,000 Arab soldiers were killed and 45,000 wounded the Israeli casualty was just 800 killed and over 2,500 wounded. Ironically, Egypt, the largest of the bordering countries, suffered the highest casualties and inflicted much less on the Israelis. About 10,000 of those killed were Egyptians whereas 6,000 went missing.

Incidentally, Jordan, the smallest of the three Arab countries, put up some resistance. Half of Jordan population then comprised Palestinians. It needs to be mentioned that the armies of more than half dozen other Arab countries, for example, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, etc. also took part in this war. Besides, unlike today the Arab armies had Soviet-build weapons and aircraft and they relied heavily on the diplomacy of this second Super Power of the world.

Four decades later the equation has changed. Israelis are finding themselves completely bogged down by Hamas in Gaza though their operations have been going on since December 27. Their progress into the small Gaza Strip is extremely and painfully slow. This notwithstanding the fact that Palestine has been prohibited by Israel – when the agreement was signed more than a decade ago – from keeping its own army and Hamas is just a political group, elected to power in January 2006. Their men have some military training. They possess only guns and rockets and have no tanks, armoured personnel carrier and fighter planes, not to speak of sophisticated missiles and well-equipped navy. The slow penetration inside Gaza is causing huge frustration among the Israeli rank and file.

Similarly in July-August 2006 the Israeli Defence Forces failed to make any major breakthrough in Lebanon though they carried out their operation for 34 days. Though they lost 141 of their men yet they could hardly penetrate into that country. The poorly armed Hizbullah men – with no tank and air cover – made it almost impossible for the Israelis to advance. The Israeli air forces bombed the civilian areas and caused huge casualties yet they failed in their objectives. After the war Israeli war veterans strongly crticised the performance of their army.

The Israelis faced very stiff resistance notwithstanding the fact that Hizbullah had only 3,000 to 3,500 fighting men against over 30,000 invading Israeli soldiers – besides 20,000 kept stand-by.

Both Hamas and Hizbullah are considered non-state actors though the former is now a full-fledged democratic party, which came to power with the help of ballots. Yet the truth is that they both are self-trained committed groups fighting for the cause of Al-Aqsa, the third holiest shrine for Muslims, with full Islamic zeal. In comparison to that the earlier Arab armies used to fight for socialism and Arab nationalism and not Islam. They were the progeny of the same Arab nationalists, who revolted against the Muslim Ottoman Empire and virtually invited the British and French armies to occupy Jerusalem in 1916-17. The Israelis fought four full-fledged wars – in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 besides invading the Palestinian camps in Lebanon several times. The then Arab performance in the initial days of 1973 war was slightly better than the rest. However, it is also true they later lost the earlier initiative of that war.

The Israelis, the Americans and their European friends are fully realising the change in the fighting capabilities of Hamas and Hizbullah. They are perturbed as to why Sunni Hamas is being supported and supplied weapons by Shia Iran and Hizbullah. Why is it that the Hizbullah started firing rockets in North Israel when the Zionist state attacked Hamas? Yes it is true the Sunni Arab rulers are very much puppets in their hands yet things are changing at the lower level of the society. Only the other day Israelis intercepted an Iranian ship bringing relief material for Hamas from near the coast of Gaza. In the past four Arab wars before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was a close ally and friend of Israel and the United States.

Hizbullah and Hamas fought the wars in the uni-polar world when the Israelis have now more friends to back and no Super Power – like Soviet Union – to even superficially oppose. The non-aligned countries, like India, are the new-found friends. It is not for nothing that the All India Radio Hindi news-bulletin several times called Hamas a ugrawadi (militantorganisationthough fully knowing that it is a genuinely elected political party.

It is not the Hamas, but the Israelis, who on November 4 last broke the Egyptian brokered peace with Hamas. In June 2008 Hamas agreed not to fire rockets on Israel and in return the latter also agreed not to retaliate. But on November 4 last the Israelis raided Gaza killing six people. Now it is the western media which is fooling the world by saying that Hamas ‘terrorists’ broke the peace and should be punished. Similar excuse was made to attack Hizbullah in 2006.

As they are not winning wars as easily as in the past, the Israelis and their western masters are left with no option but to drive a wedge between the Shias and Sunnis, Arabs and non-Arabs, Salafis and non-Salafis, etc. They want to empower the existing monarchs and dictators in the respective Arab countries. The need of the hour is to frustrate this design by closing the ranks.