February 24, 2024

There is a rising concern in Israel that Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, is planning to take advantage of a humanitarian crisis in the southern Gaza Strip to exert pressure on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It is believed that Sinwar intends to delay the resumption of ground operations after a ceasefire and wait for international aid to arrive in the region. The goal is to highlight a humanitarian crisis and deter the IDF from escalating military operations in the area.

Israeli authorities fear that Sinwar will publicize images of a tent city in the southern Gaza Strip to depict it as an area experiencing an international humanitarian crisis. This tactic is intended to pressure the IDF and prevent them from intensifying their operations in the region.

As a result, the IDF may opt for a limited operation, focusing on central camps in the Gaza Strip or conducting limited operations in non-humanitarian zones. However, these actions are unlikely to exert significant military pressure on Hamas.

To directly pressure Sinwar, the IDF would need to position forces near his command center, but this could be problematic in an area housing a million refugees. There are also concerns that diplomatic pressure could halt the IDF’s momentum, as evidenced by Jordan’s refusal to open a hospital near Shifa Hospital. Israel is facing a difficult situation, both militarily and diplomatically, and it remains to be seen how they will navigate it.