Where is the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza heading? The short—and dismal—answer: an open-ended, multi-front war of attrition, which will sap Israel’s energy and continue to destabilize the Middle East well into 2024 and the years beyond.
In Gaza itself, the prospect is clear. In coming days, Israel will complete its occupation (and, in many areas, destruction) of the northern third of the Gaza Strip, which includes Gaza City, Beit Hanoun, and Beit Lahia. They will also fully subdue the refugee camps at the center of the strip—Nuseirat and Bureij— and Khan Yunis, the second largest urban center in Gaza.
(It should be noted that the term “refugee camp,” while commonly used in this context, is a misnomer: These are, in fact, suburban slums populated by the descendants of refugees who were driven out of what is now Israel 75 years ago.)
If given the time to complete their work by the international community—meaning, effectively, U.S. President Joe Biden—the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will push into the southern end of Gaza, where they will take control of Rafah and the 12-kilometer length of the Gaza-Egypt border. Hamas fighters have no anti-aircraft capabilities, and will be crushed by an Israeli military whose combined-arms capabilities include state-of-the art tanks, well-trained…