Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas could be slipping out of reach.
While the IDF’s bombardment had destroyed swathes of Gaza and killed thousands of civilians, it seems to have had little effect on Hamas’s rule, AP reports.
This is evidenced by the terror group’s ability to conduct complex negotiations, enforce the cease-fire among other armed groups, and orchestrate the release of hostages who were dragged into Gaza from southern Israel on October 7.
Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar, and other commanders have likely relocated to the south of the strip, along with hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who have packed into overflowing shelters after fleeing from the north.
An Israeli ground invasion of the south could eventually ferret out Hamas’ leaders and demolish the rest of its militant infrastructure, including miles of tunnels, but at a cost in Palestinian lives and destruction.
This is a cost the United States, Israel’s main ally, seems unwilling to bear.
The Biden administration has told Israel that if it resumes the offensive it must operate with far greater precision, especially in the south.
That approach is unlikely to bring Hamas to its knees any time soon, and international pressure for a lasting cease-fire is mounting.