Wednesday, November 29, 2023

No end game

I think the really rough thing about the current Israel/Gaza conflict, different from all the others in the past 16 years, is that it is hard to imagine a way that it will end that is plausible. Hamas is not going to surrender and Israel cannot realistically destroy Hamas because it doesn't know who all of its members in Gaza are or where they are. "Wiping out Hamas" is a slogan not an actual plan. Plus violence against Gaza is likely to make the group grow, not shrink. When people are starving and dying from an invasion, the group fighting back, no matter how widely hated before, is going to get more support. In short, the Israeli invasion can't possibly work. There is no real path to an Israeli victory. Nor is there for Hamas. Although Israeli violence will probably ultimately benefit them, Hamas isn't going to end Israel, or win any freedom for Gaza. The misery and suffering of Gazans will be good for recruitment but it won't get them anything beyond that.

All wars end eventually. I just can't see how this one will. Israel is pursuing an outcome that it just can't achieve, and stopping for more than a brief ceasefire will be perceived as letting Hamas get away with the October 7th attack, which is completely politically untenable for the Israeli leadership. And don't even get me started on Netanyahu's personal incentives to keep the war going indefinitely.

I'm curious if anyone has a plausible story about how this war will end. Feel free to leave one in the comments.