With the Israeli army surrounding the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip and the Israel-Hamas war assuming a grim regularity, I wanted to note a few developments which give perhaps a glimpse of how this all ends and what comes after. To frame the question, I want to flag to your attention this article by Hussein Ibish in The Atlantic. It’s one of the most clear-eyed discussions of the war and its aftermath I’ve seen over the last two months. Ibish’s central argument is that the war certainly won’t end with any kind of final defeat of Hamas or its destruction as an organization. This is an impossible standard since under almost any scenario at least some remnant of the group will emerge from its tunnels at the end of the war and declare victory on its own terms for having survived. But, as Ibish argues, that will be a hollow and pyrrhic victory … unless Israel decides to remain in Gaza with the goal of permanently or indefinitely delaying that hollow declaration of victory. In that scenario either Hamas, or some future reconstituted version of itself, really will have managed a major victory, placing itself at the head of the Palestinian national movement in a permanent state of war with Israel.
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Approaching the Day After
December 5, 2023 2:58 p.m.
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