The Stark Reality of Israel’s Fight in Gaza

Israel’s military operations in Gaza have weakened Hamas. Most Hamas battalions have been degraded and are scattered. Thousands of its members have been killed, and at least one senior military leader has been eliminated.

Yet Israel has not achieved its primary goals of the war: freeing hostages and fully destroying Hamas.

The war and the tactics of the Israel Defense Forces have come at a great cost. Vast numbers of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the Israeli campaign; hunger is widespread in Gaza; and deaths around relief efforts have generated condemnation.

Six months into the conflict, the question of what Israel has achieved — and when and how the fighting could come to an end — is creating ever more intense global strains around a war that has cost Israel support from even close allies.

Israel’s own military casualties have begun to climb, with about 260 killed and more than 1,500 injured since its pulverizing ground assault began in the weeks after the Hamas-led terrorist attacks on Oct. 7.

Israeli officials say that about 133 of the hostages taken remain in Gaza. But talks to secure the return of at least some of them in exchange for ahalt in the fighting and the release of Palestinian prisoners have hit a snag. Hamas has rebuffed the latest proposal and claims it does not have 40 hostages who meet the terms of the first part of the proposed deal, raising questions about how many are still alive and how many are held by other groups.

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