What’s happening: Four months into the Israel-Hamas war, Israel continues its ground offensive in Gaza. Negotiations over a pause to the fighting and the release of hostages have stalled.
Operational update: Israel is currently fighting in the Hamas stronghold of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and has already dismantled Hamas’s infrastructure in the northern cities. The last major city where Hamas remains is Rafah, which borders Egypt and is where many Gazan civilians have fled.
- Context: The IDF has systematically taken over Hamas-controlled territory with unprecedented speed. Israel has killed, wounded, or taken prisoner 60 percent of Hamas’s 30,000-person fighting force. It has also destroyed 18 of its 24 battalions.
- Additionally: Many predicted Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas would result in thousands of IDF casualties, but Israel has lost 226 soldiers since it began.
War ending? Both Israel and Hamas have recently rejected numerous ceasefire proposals. While Hamas is open to giving back Israeli hostages and Israel is open to pausing fighting for a few months and releasing Palestinian terrorists from prison, there is a core disagreement that will prevent the two sides from reaching a deal any time soon.
- The details: Hamas will not agree to any deal that does not include Israeli withdrawal from Gaza to ensure their survival as a military and political entity. Israel will not agree to any deal that leaves Hamas in power.
- War goals: Israel’s war goals are simple: Destroy Hamas, release the hostages, and ensure Gaza can never threaten Israel again. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that anything less than “total victory” is unacceptable.