The Political Impact of Israel’s Gaza Operation

The Political Impact of Israel’s Gaza Operation

Israel's attack on Hamas continued through the weekend, despite Egyptian and French efforts to broker a ceasefire. With Israeli ground forces now poised on the outskirts of Gaza City, and with an expansion of the operation into the urban battlefields that represent Hamas' greatest tactical opportunity for exacting losses on the IDF still a possibility, it is difficult to speak decisively about the military outcome of the ongoing fighting.

But according to several American experts on Arab politics, while Israel might very well succeed -- at least temporarily -- in depleting Hamas' military wing, so long as Hamas is still in a position to reassert its control over Gaza following the operation the conflict is likely to have the opposite impact politically.

"It is hard for me to see how Hamas does not come out of this politically strengthened," says Glen R. Robinson, assistant professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterrey, Calif. "Unless Israel is planning a permanent re-occupation of Gaza, they will withdraw their forces and Hamas will proclaim victory. And as Hamas won't accept a ceasefire that does not also include a lifting of the siege, that would also be seen as a political victory for Hamas."

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