Read issue #1 of Daily Digest, by Mailbrew Team.
24
Friday May, 2024
How does this end? With Hamas holding firm and fighting back in Gaza, Israel faces only bad options

Diminished but not deterred, Hamas is still putting up a fight after seven brutal months of war with Israel, regrouping in some of the hardest-hit areas in northern Gaza and resuming rocket attacks into nearby Israeli communities. Israel initially made tactical advances against Hamas after a devastating aerial bombardment paved the way for its ground troops. But those early gains have given way to a grinding struggle against an adaptable insurgency — and a growing feeling among many Israelis that their military faces only bad options, drawing comparisons with U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s a look at four ways this war might end. FULL-SCALE MILITARY OCCUPATION: After dismantling Hamas. Israel would need to remain in control to prevent Hamas from regrouping. Far-right members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition have called for permanent occupation, “voluntary emigration” of large numbers of Palestinians to anywhere that will have them, and rebuilding of Jewish settlements in Gaza. A LIGHTER OCCUPATION, AIDED BY ‘UNICORNS’: Israel will maintain security control over Gaza but delegate civilian administration to local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Arab and other countries assist with governance and rebuilding. But so far, none have shown interest. A GRAND BARGAIN: Arab states have coalesced around a U.S. proposal under which a reformed Palestinian Authority would govern Gaza with the assistance of Arab and Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, which would normalize relations with Israel in return for a U.S. defense pact and help in building a civilian nuclear program. But U.S. and Saudi officials say that hinges on Israel committing to a credible path to eventual Palestinian statehood. Israel has ruled it out. A DEAL WITH HAMAS: Hamas has proposed a very different grand bargain — one that, ironically enough, might be more palatable to Israelis. A phased agreement in which it would release all of the hostages in return for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners — including senior militants — as well as the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, a lengthy cease-fire and reconstruction.

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