How Will the War in Gaza End?
Hamas's growing popularity and influence means that it will be impossible to establish a legitimate Palestinian government in post-conflict Gaza, let alone achieve the dream of Palestinian statehood. This is bad news for both Israelis and Palestinians, but it serves Israel's extremist government just fine.
TEL AVIV – A year into World War II, the United Kingdom’s War Cabinet established a committee that would be responsible for clarifying the UK’s objectives in the conflict. The following year, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised the Atlantic Charter, which established their war aims and a shared vision for the future. As Israel continues its relentless air and ground campaign against Hamas – and as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens – US President Joe Biden is probably desperately hoping that his recalcitrant Israeli allies will launch a similar effort.
So far, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has refused to discuss any vision for a political deal to end the fighting in Gaza, let alone for a broader Israeli-Palestinian peace. In fact, the current devastation in Gaza seems to serve little strategic purpose at all. Netanyahu’s only real objective appears to be political: to maintain the cohesion of his far-right coalition, so that he can stay in power.
That means, first and foremost, keeping the war going. Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir of the hard-right Jewish Power threatened to break the coalition if Israel halts its military operations in Gaza. According to Netanyahu, only when all Israeli hostages held in Gaza are released and the total and unconditional “obliteration” of Hamas is achieved can the fighting stop and a deal (possibly including a renewed Israeli occupation of Gaza) be implemented.