Can the IDF break Hamas’ fighting motivation?

Most military pundits agree that the Israel’s Gaza operation is nothing like the 2006 Lebanon War. In the broader sense this is true. The differences are undeniable.
The Israeli Defense Forces which invaded Gaza Saturday night, Jan. 4, is not the same army as it was then. It is well-trained, its various arms are well-integrated, it is fighting according to a prepared script after practicing urban warfare at a mock Palestinian village in the Negev. The high command, under its post-Lebanon War chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, shares a unity of purpose, and so do the three politicians running the campaign – prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
Through normally at loggerheads, particularly as heads of rival parties facing a general election next month, they are working together smoothly as war leaders.
While the first defined Israeli objective is to seize Hamas’ rocket launching sites in the Gaza Strip, its leaders understand that when the Israeli forces withdraw, the launchers will be back. Therefore the hope the ground forces will ultimately decapitate Hamas and break its will to restart its rocket terror by making it too painful.
At the same time, some of debkafile‘s counter-terror experts do not believe this cure will work.
To prove their point, Olmert, Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi hold up the example of the destruction of Beirut’s Shiite enclave in the war against Hizballah in 2006. In the intervening two and-a-half years, Hizballah has carefully avoided new belligerence. In the past week, its leader Hassan Narsrallah has delivered fiery speeches urging his Hamas allies to fight while refraining from offering help.
But, our sources stress, the Hizballah leader may overcome his fear of Israel at some point if he is ordered to open a northern front against Israel by his masters in Tehran. The Israeli offensive in Gaza is at its outset and the endgame hard to predict.
Although both are terrorist organizations, the analogy of the Palestinian fundamentalist Hamas to the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah does not hold up in another important sense.
Hizballah is more like a paramilitary militia, a belligerent arm of the extremist Iranian Islamic Revolution, whereas Hamas is a rogue Palestinian faction, a sort of hybrid between the Sunni fundamentalist Taliban of Afghanistan that seized power in Kabul and al Qaeda.
The American operational modes for overthrowing Taliban in Kabul in 2001 and ultimately defeating al Qaeda in Iraq would serve Israel better than the Hizballah model of 2006.

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