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A very popular plan that can’t be achieved


This analysis seems depressingly accurate:

Several experts told CNN that Israel was facing an impossible situation because the goal it has set for itself – eliminating Hamas – is both unachievable and very popular domestically.

Hamas has dominated Gaza ever since it seized power in 2007, controlling all government and security bodies, as well as the healthcare, education and social systems.

“Israel cannot achieve its stated goal of eliminating Hamas, because Hamas is an integral part of the Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza. Its popularity has increased in the last several months,” said Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict and author of “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy.”

“After Israel declared that it has defeated Hamas in the north, you see that every week, Israeli soldiers are dying in the north, so it’s evident that Hamas will continue to exist after this war, whether Israel invades Rafah or doesn’t invade Rafah. Hamas is a major power on the ground and will remain so at the end of this war,” Thrall told CNN.

This means that Israel’s leaders don’t have a viable way out of the conflict, Thrall explained.

“The realistic options in front of them are to continue to occupy Gaza indefinitely, which most Israelis do not want to do, or, alternatively to leave Gaza and have Hamas be the strongest power on the ground whether or not it’s the official face of the government in Gaza,” he said.

Elgindy also said the goal of destroying Hamas was never realistic. “I think even American officials realize, belatedly, that it’s complete madness, that people are allowing this horror to continue as though the goal of destroying Hamas was more important than anything else in the world, including Israel’s own future security,” he said.

“It’s divorced from reality because even if you destroy Hamas, you’re creating something that will be much worse than the future. Because now you have 30,000 people who are dead, 17,000 orphans … what is their view of Israel and the United States going to be when they grow up?”

Israel was a politically divided country before the October 7 attacks, paralyzed by months of large-scale protests against Netanyahu and his government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, and particularly the prime minister’s proposed judicial overhaul.

But while these political divisions remain, the vast majority of Israelis support the war in Gaza, despite the international outcry over the devastating impact on Palestinian civilians.

“The Israeli public is still traumatized from October 7, they are still in the revenge mode, some don’t want even food to enter. Even if we don’t accept that it’s right, we can understand what their state of mind is,” Elgindy said, adding that while understandable given the horrors of the October 7 terror attacks, this mindset should not influence international policy.

“We can’t allow that state of mind to dictate the policies of the US and the UK and the European Union. You need to have grownups saying ‘this is not acceptable; you cannot use starvation as a weapon’. In other words, it doesn’t matter that the Israeli public isn’t in the mood for stopping this war. It needs to be forced on them,” he said.

The problem, I suppose, is that, as a practical plan of action, “it needs to be forced on them” doesn’t seem at the moment a whole lot more realistic than “Hamas needs to be destroyed.”

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