What's Ahead in the Gaza War

(Washington Post) David Ignatius - Israeli commanders see the Gaza war moving into a new phase that will require fewer troops and much less bombing - and that eventually, they hope, will entrap Hamas in its underground maze of tunnels. I met with nearly a dozen top commanders of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The people I met were thoughtful, professional soldiers. I came away impressed by their skill and dedication. Political and military leaders agree on the need to destroy Hamas and to cut any Israeli connections to Gaza. But there is no consensus about next steps. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he is open to any solution that allows Israel to cut the cord to Gaza - so long as it adheres to a simple formula: "At the end of the war, Hamas will be destroyed, there will no longer be a military threat to Israel from Gaza, and Israel will not be in Gaza." IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said the goal in Gaza is "not Hamas, not chaos." This war has convinced me more than ever that the Palestinians need a well-managed state of their own, without Hamas, where they can live in dignity and peace with Israel, as most of their Arab neighbors do now. Nearly every Israeli officer I met began his or her story the same way: What they were doing at 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 7 when they heard the first reports of Hamas' vicious attack. When the news broke, many moved immediately to join their units; several described quickly teaching wives and older children to fire automatic weapons. Most senior IDF leaders agree that, in a month or two, Israel can begin reserve force reductions and pull troops back from city centers - forming smaller assault brigades to attack Hamas fighters when they surface from the tunnels.

2023-11-19 00:00:00

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