Giovanni Giacalone
Eyes everywhere

Military force works! Harmful ‘deals’ do not. ‘Operation Arnon’ proved it.

IDF operating in Gaza (Photo of the Israel Defense Forces, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The liberation of the four hostages achieved through military mean is bad news for Hamas, for its supporters and even for some of the leaders of the international community who do not miss an opportunity to verbally attack Israel for defending itself.

For instance, European Union Foreign Policy representative, Josep Borrell, referred to the operation as “another massacre of civilians,” noting that the EU “condemns this in the strongest terms.” Borrell also sent remarks congratulating the four hostages on their release and called for a “ceasefire” (that would obviously help Hamas) and “an end to the killing”.

Indeed, Borrell had to praise the liberation of the hostages; there was no other choice. However, his words are not only contradicting and hypocritical, but they also once again, show frustration and rancor against Israel, this time for the successful counter-terror operation. It is not by coincidence that in March 2024 Israel signaled to the European Union’s foreign policy chief that he is not welcome to visit following his continuous and systematic attacks against Israel.

In addition, just six days ago, the European Jewish Association passed a resolution, signed by more than 100 delegates, accusing Borrell of contributing to the rise of antisemitism in Europe:

Borrell has demonstrated a clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the state of Israel as a whole in the European public space”.

Evidently, Borrel does not like to see Israel successfully defending itself and its citizens.

Indeed, the Doha-based Hamas leadership was not happy about the news either, with the terrorist organization’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, stating:

Our people will not surrender, and the resistance will continue to defend our rights in the face of this criminal enemy…And if the occupation believes that it can impose its choices on us by force, it is delusional, and the movement will not agree to any agreement that does not achieve security for our people first and foremost.”

Haniyeh also said, once again, that Israel is engaging in massacres of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

As the dynamics of the operation revealed, Hamas was hiding the hostages inside civilian houses to increase the number of victims and then accuse Israel of perpetrating a genocide, as always. The Palestinian terrorist organization is of course well aware that it can count on the political support coming from the European leadership.

Operation “Arnon” was one of the most complex and dangerous hostage-rescue operations ever conducted by Israel, after the one launched in Entebbe in 1976.

Perpetrated in full daylight, it required the coordination the Yamam special units, the Shin Bet, paratroopers, the Kfir unit, Division 98, Brigade 7, and the Air Force. Two days before Operation “Arnon” was launched, the military launched another operation in a region east of Nuseirat. This was to deceive Hamas’s defense from Nuseirat.

This is a great success for Israel, politically, militarily, and on the media level, for those who are willing to recognize it, of course.

Operation “Arnon” showed that military force works much better than deleterious “deals” and “ceasefires” that would unlikely bring home the remaining hostages while they would instead imply Israel losing the war and Hamas remaining in power. Military pressure is the only way to bring people home.

The positive outcome of Operation “Arnon” is therefore a huge problem for those who are supporting Hamas, directly, or indirectly by hiding behind the “humanitarian issue”.

How many of those international leaders clearly and unequivocally asked for the unconditioned surrender of Hamas? For Hamas deposing weapons and immediately releasing all hostages?

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the UK, just like ISIS; however, many European governments and institutions are still using double standards when it comes to dealing with Hamas. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and it will be, whatever it takes.

About the Author
Giovanni Giacalone is a senior analyst in Islamist extremism and terrorism at the Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies-Catholic University of Milan, at the Europe desk for the UK-based think tank Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism, and a researcher for Centro Studi Machiavelli. Since 2021 he is the coordinator for the "Latin America group" at the International Institute for the Study of Security-ITSS. In 2023 Giacalone published the book “The Tablighi Jamaat in Europe”.
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