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Could Gaza be Israel’s Fallujah?

The prospect of Israel beginning a ground invasion of Gaza has seemed to creep ever closer over the past two weeks. Even as President Joe Biden has warned Israel about the quagmire that can result from a ground invasion without a long-term plan for stability – as the U.S. knows from Iraq and Afghanistan – U.S. military advisers are now in Israel helping that country’s military plan for an invasion.

Regardless of what those plans look like, any ground invasion is likely to be bloody and prolonged, warns Javed Ali, a former senior U.S. government intelligence and counterterrorism official now at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Ali points to the history of Israeli invasions of Gaza and explains why a new invasion probably won’t resemble those comparatively minor and short-lived assaults. Rather, it will be more like the sustained, grueling urban warfare of the U.S. battles for Fallujah during the Iraq war, or other close-quarters fighting during the battles against the Islamic State group a decade later.

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Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Democracy

Armored Israeli military vehicles maneuver near Israel’s border with Gaza. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli invasion of Gaza likely to resemble past difficult battles in Iraq and Syria

Javed Ali, University of Michigan

Hamas and the international community expect Israel to invade the Gaza Strip. The battle will probably be more like recent Middle Eastern combat than Israel’s past fights with Palestinians.

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