Palestinian militants' advantage in Gaza?
The key there is a system of trap-doors and tunnels.
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"There is an asymmetry in power – fire power, political power, military power – and that asymmetry is always compensated by the ingenuity of the weak," says Laleh Khalili, a professor of Middle East politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
During the summer war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, this ingenuity took the form of underground caches and bunkers where Hezbollah managed to withstand intense Israeli bombardment for 33 days. By the time Israel launched its attack on Gaza last December, the subterranean holdout had become the new front in the conflict.
"Hamas has disappeared underground and Israel controls the sky," says Mr. Weizman. "The more dominance they have of the sky, the more the Palestinians master the subterranean."
The permeability of the Palestinian camp, once a strong defense strategy for the Palestinians, has been effectively neutralized by the IDF's appropriation of the tactic in their own ground offensives on camps.
So Palestinians have had to push the envelope to stay ahead and they have done this by extending what was once an above-ground network of passages beneath the surface of the camp.
The camps in Gaza have extended underground, not just in the form of the tunnel lifelines to Egypt at Rafah, but in a sophisticated network of bunkers, control rooms, and hideouts at inland camps like Al Shati and Jabilia. This is the latest puzzle the IDF has to solve in its ongoing cat-and-mouse game of war tactics with the Palestinian militants.
How close they are to solving it may become clearer once the architects and urban planners working with B'Tselem are allowed to reenter Gaza. The teams will undertake a "forensic" survey of the rubble, taking photos, discerning patterns of destruction, and creating 3-D reconstructions of areas and buildings.
The survey will result in a public report in the coming months, and its findings may offer some indication as to how Israel will adapt its game to the new subterranean Palestinian resistance. Since Israel has not yet developed technology to discern this logic, the Palestinian militants remain one step ahead – for now.