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Israel's Pyrrhic Endgame in Gaza
I am going to write more on this subject in the future, but I wrote something today for The Intercept about what I think is going to happen as a result of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. Hamas will lose, but it will inevitably drag Israel down with it.
THE SURPRISE ATTACK by Hamas militants against Israel last Saturday now looks set to trigger a war potentially more destructive than any that the region has seen in years. Reeling from a series of armed assaults by the militant group that are believed to have killed around 1,300 Israelis, including many civilians, Israel’s newly formed unity government said that it is preparing for a decisive battle in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli leaders have now vowed to “wipe out this thing called Hamas” and end its existence as a military and political entity in Gaza. The Israeli government has issued warnings of an imminent ground invasion, telling 1.1 million Gazans to evacuate the northern part of the territory which includes Gaza City.
The fate of Hamas may well be sealed, but that outcome will place Israel in a very dire situation as well, one that it has long sought to avoid. By forcing it to fight a grueling battle and then maintain a presence in the Gaza Strip, Israel will have to serve as an occupying power on the ground, ruling directly over millions of Palestinians in Gaza. It will prove extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the Israeli military, already gravely stretched to defend its borders while controlling the lives of millions under military occupation in the West Bank, to maintain such a grip on Gaza.
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