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What Will Follow Hamas’s War?

Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the realization that Israel was not impregnable put the country on the road to peace with Egypt. The greatest tragedy of the current war will be the inability to do the same with the Palestinians.

WASHINGTON, DC – The multi-pronged operation that Hamas launched against Israel one day after the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War is eerily similar to that conflict. Daring and unexpected, both attacks caught Israel by surprise and dealt lethal blows to the country’s sense of invincibility. It remains to be seen if, as in 1973, the Hamas attack will lead to a tectonic shift in Israeli politics and the country’s relationship with the Palestinians.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria surprised Israel, penetrating deep into its territory. In the conflict’s early days, the situation was so dire that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan recommended employing nuclear weapons. The Agranat commission, which was later tasked with investigating the war, coined the term conceptziyya to capture the intelligence services’ hubris. Israeli military intelligence held the conceptziyya that the country’s overwhelming firepower would deter the Arabs from attacking. Specifically, it was believed that Egypt would refrain from striking until it possessed sufficient air power to hit targets deep within Israel and silence its air force.

Today, these organizations have clung to a conceptziyya that Israel’s overwhelming power would deter Hamas from initiating a new war. Their political masters, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, concluded that periodic Palestinian eruptions of violence were a manageable nuisance while imagining the occupied would accept endless occupation.