Gaza: Can’t Win for Losing

Very smart post from Andru Exawama on the political aftermath on the ground in Gaza. Short version: Hamas needs to be the one that rebuilds Gaza to win the war. That’s behind the skirmishes with Fatah that have already broken out, as well as Israel’s insistence that aid be delivered through the U.N. and NGOs, although Exum doesn’t mention it.

And as Josh Marshall points out, polling in Israel in advance of the February elections has now shifted further to the right, with Benjamin Netanyahu still favored, but far right Yisrael Beiteinu now polling an unprecedented 16 seats. This could change, and given Israeli coalition politics, it’s possible that a Kadima/Labor coalition supported by Shas could still carry the Knesset. But Shas’ refusal to deal with Tzipi Livni is what forced the elections in the first place, and Ehud Barak is a wild card.

If the outcome of the Gaza War is a stengthened Hamas grip on Gaza and an Israeli government made up of a hardline rightwing coalition, it would mean that both sides essentially achieved their strategic aims but lost the War.

In any case, it’s safe to say that George Mitchell has got his work cut out for him.

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