Occupational Challenges: Assessing the Feasibility and Consequences of a Gaza Strip Operation

Patricia Marins

I previously suggested the deployment of 150,000-200,000 IDF troops for the occupation of the Gaza Strip. In my city, we’ve faced similar situations, using both police and military forces in recent years.

Our experience indicated a consistent pattern: to control an area with around 100,000 people, we needed 3,500-4,000 personnel for a short period, roughly 1 soldier for every 25-30 people.

In Rio’s areas, unlike Gaza, we didn’t face the same insurgency levels or encounter heavy weapons and extensive tunnel systems. For Gaza, considering the higher threat, I’d double the personnel requirement, especially for a prolonged occupation.

The U.S. employed a ratio of 1 military personnel for every 40 people in the occupation of Germany, and Western forces did the same in Kosovo.

In Basrah, a city with 800,000 residents, the British had around 45,000 personnel against approximately 25,000 Iraqis. They eventually retreated, unable to complete the mission.

In Gaza, Hamas likely has 30,000-40,000 individuals in buildings and tunnels, amassing weapons for a considerable period. When suggesting 150,000-200,000 personnel, I am being conservative, focusing solely on the occupation. Considering Hamas forces, for each guerrilla, we’d need 5-6 Israelis due to urban warfare nuances.

This isn’t a battle for tanks or artillery, but for Namers (Israeli IFV), small reconnaissance drones, and primarily infantry. It’s a high-casualty operation, posing a challenge for a vulnerable government.

Establishing and maintaining an organized occupation is a prolonged endeavor, and Hamas won’t be eradicated in any stage. The next step is unclear. Israeli society may not support the high costs in equipment, logistics, and lives for a long-term occupation, especially given the blame on Netanyahu for October 7th. This political challenge extends to managing several billion dollars for the operation, primarily funded by international aid (U.S.).

Will Israeli society accept Netanyahu managing this money amid a daily news cycle full of casualties? It’s a significant challenge, and we might witness foreign troops joining the operation.

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