Palestinian Resistance breaks morale of Israel’s military

Eleven members of the Israel Occupation Forces died June 15 in a blast of a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) in Rafah, part of occupied Gaza. They were members of the “elite” Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion. This is one of the highest numbers of IOF troops eliminated in just one day since October 7 by the Palestinian Resistance, which must rely on guerrilla tactics and mainly small, handheld weapons to fight the military might of the U.S.-backed oppressors of their people.  

Hamas supporters in Rafah attend a gathering to express solidarity with Jenin, and to oppose the Israeli raid on the West Bank city, July 7, 2023. Photo: Said Khatib

While the Israeli press reports that over 330 IOF soldiers have died at the hands of the resistance in Gaza since October 7, the Zionist government has been known to deflate the real numbers of their dead and wounded. 

Of course, the deaths of IOF troops come nowhere close to the over 37,000 Palestinian civilians massacred — including over 16,000 children — and over 85,000 wounded since October 7 by the Zionist state, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health’s recent numbers.   

These numbers alone refute the false narrative in the corporate media that the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza is an Israeli war with Hamas. Despite these horrendous numbers, the support for the resistance amongst the resilient Palestinian people remains strong.  

The truth is that for over eight months a united Palestinian resistance made up of Islamic and secular forces has been able to challenge the so-called superiority of the well-oiled Israeli military machine. The determination of the resistance has brought about a growing meltdown and demoralization of the IOF, never seen before since the apartheid Zionist state was established in 1948, with the support of U.S. and British imperialism.  

Many of these soldiers — cannon fodder for a settler-colonial regime — have developed a growing mistrust and disillusionment with the Israeli government, including the main war criminal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  

IOF members who have survived battles with the resistance have stated in public hearings that they are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with having to adjust to amputated limbs. According to the Israeli organization Nifgashim, over 10,000 Israeli reserve soldiers are now in some kind of mental therapy after their stint in Gaza. A growing number of them have attempted or actually have committed suicide when they returned home, causing a crisis of disillusionment within the IOF.

‘A crisis of anger and frustration’  

After speaking to IOF officers in Rafah, Israeli journalist Hallel Biton Rosen wrote: “Eight months and eight days I have been covering the damned war. More than once I have heard from senior officers, some very senior, criticism of the conduct of decision-makers in the political and security echelons — what I heard tonight is completely different. It is a major crisis of trust, real anger and frustration. It is time to bring the truth to light. Whoever thinks there is an operation in Rafah is wrong. As for those who know that there is not and briefs that there is, they are lying.

We have no more children left for intermediate situations. The cost of indecision is too high for us. The lack of leadership hurts us too much.

The bluff of conquering Rafah is not working. On the other hand, there aren’t enough munitions and not enough engineering tools. It’s really unclear what the forces on the ground are doing right now.

“They are deceiving the public when statements are released saying that we have advanced in another neighborhood and another area, these few more meters are a joke — the Rafah Brigade [of Al-Qassam] is still standing on its feet.” (Suppressed News, June 15)

Regarding the lack of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, an IOF officer made a startling comment about the people of Gaza: “They are not breaking and we are dying!” (Resistance Network News, June 15)

Growing schism between Israeli military, government

Benny Gantz, a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, along with another Israeli minister, Gadi Eisenkot, resigned from their posts on June 9 over strategic differences on how to achieve a military victory in Gaza against Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and also on how the release of the remaining Israeli hostages should be resolved.  

The resignation of Gantz is a major political blow to the right-wing dominated Israeli government, because Gantz was the main centrist spokesperson within the Israeli cabinet. Gantz was also calling for early elections in order to remove Netanyahu from his powerful position. These two resignations ignited the dissolution of the Zionist war cabinet on June 17. These war criminals can be likened to rats jumping off a sinking ship.

An 11-hour “tactical pause” has been instituted in southern Gaza by the IOF’s Southern Command to allow the flow of some humanitarian aid. This military decision was disputed by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, according to reports in Haaretz. This dispute clearly reflects a schism regarding tactics between the government and the military due to the strength of the resistance.   

Mass protests have also erupted across Israel in the tens of thousands, especially in the capital, Tel Aviv, demanding Netanyahu’s resignation. Another main protest demand is an exchange of the Israeli hostages, dead or alive, for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners. The latter have been kidnapped and illegally detained for months and even years in torture chambers. These protests have been led by the families of the hostages, some of whom were killed on or after October 7 due to fire from the IOF.  

An IOF spokesman stated, “It must be said frankly: we cannot return all the captives through military operational means.” (Suppressed News, June 15)

Coupled with the deepening global isolation of Israel on many fronts in both the Global South and Global North, it is the Palestinian Resistance that has played the decisive role in the inevitable crumbling of the Israeli state, along with the growing political isolation of its allies, especially the U.S., Germany and France.  

But it took the launching of the heroic Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 to help bring to light that this spiraling crisis is not only impacting the IOF but the entire Israeli society built on mass displacement, theft of land and resources and fascist genocide for the past 76 years. 

Monica Moorehead

Monica.Moorehead@workers.org

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Monica Moorehead

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