Six months later, war in Gaza has stalled with the Israelis yet to achieve their primary goals

Credit: AP

Six months after sadistic Hamas terrorists made October 7th the deadliest day in Israel’s history, the Gaza war has stalled with the Israelis yet to achieve their primary goals.

As Israel’s massive military response to Hamas’ monstrous assault got underway, government ministers outlined the country’s objectives: the destruction of Hamas, the return of all the hostages, and finally, total disconnection from Gaza.

They wanted to wash their hands of the place.

Today, Hamas remains unbeaten, around a 130 hostages remain captive and Israel has been forced to take more responsibility for the care and sustenance of Gaza’s entire population.

A high death toll among civilians and an impending famine in northern Gaza has strained Israel’s relations with the United States almost to breaking point.

Last week’s horrendous killing of six foreign aid workers in an Israeli drone attack has further convinced much of the watching world that the IDF is all too frequently too trigger happy, in breach of its own rules of engagement.

The Biden Administration has given the Netanyahu government an ultimatum - change your policies or we will change ours.

The Prime Minister here is boxed in and finding it difficult to satisfy the Americans and keep his coalition partners on side.

He repeatedly promises that what he calls "total victory" is the aim, and has openly insisted that Israeli forces will at some stage attack Hamas’ last redoubt in Gaza, the southern city of Rafah.

Rafah is also currently home to around one and a half million Palestinians, most of them displaced from other parts of Gaza. The Americans say that without a credible plan to move them out of harm’s way, they won’t support a Rafah offensive.

Benjamin Netanyahu may be personally unpopular at home, but his policies have the approval of most Israelis.

Despite a growing clamour for fresh elections here, Mr Netanyahu is likely to stick to his guns and keep on planning further military action, not least because that’s what his coalition partners and most Israelis want.

It’s also the best option for his own political future. He knows that if “the day after” doesn’t dawn, then neither will he have to face accountability for his failings six months ago.

It’s also why post-war Gaza is something Mr Netanyahu won’t discuss. Gaza’s political and practical future isn’t even on the horizon yet.

In the meantime, six months into a seemingly endless war, Israel’s begrudging attitude towards famine prevention is burning through whatever international legitimacy its campaign has left.

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