Israel’s failure to achieve its key objectives in the Gaza war is rooted in an exhausted and counterproductive security doctrine.
..Israel may not have envisaged that, even with this level of planning and use of force, it would completely demolish Hamas. But its achievement still falls far short of what it must have hoped for. A coordinated deployment of strike-aircraft, helicopter-gunships, reconnaissance-drones, twenty-four-hour surveillance, and all the other systems available to the Israeli Defence Forces – yet much of Hamas’s military wing has survived (albeit underground), the rockets keep coming (albeit fewer), and the movement’s political leaders calmly maintain a negotiating presence in Cairo and Damascus. It is an extraordinary outcome…
In any event, Israel’s government will not be able to manipulate Fatah into control of Gaza (in part because Tehran is already planning its own programme to support reconstruction); and it cannot guarantee the halting of rockets from Gaza (nor indeed from southern Lebanon). Even so, it will persist with its single-minded policy of military control unless wiser advice can eventually prevail.
What makes the war in Gaza so significant is that under-armed irregular forces have been able to have such a remarkable political effect – and that they will survive to do so again. This is a stark example of the potential for irregular warfare – even with the most rudimentary of weapons (see "Gaza: hope after attack", 1 January 2009). This capacity can only grow; indeed, unless a lasting peace is achieved in Israel-Palestine, at some stage in the next decade or more, such weapons will acquire much more potent warheads, quite possibly sufficient to threaten Israel’s survival (see Irregular Warfare and Revolts from the Margins, Oxford Research Group, November 2008).
Israel is a state that may best be described as impregnable in its insecurity. But it is impossible to build walls a hundred miles high. Israel has survived for sixty years. The Gaza war of 2008-09 suggests that a change in its security posture is absolutely essential if it is to survive to seventy-five years, let alone a century.