Any attempt to run Gaza like the West Bank will fail – and Hamas will benefit | Tahani Mustafa

The next administration is more likely to appear by default than by design, something that doesn’t bode well for Palestinians

Two months into the military campaign against Hamas, and there is still little clarity about Israel’s endgame or the future for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank living under occupation. The status quo was irrevocably broken on 7 October . But Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years, is likely to survive in some form despite Israel’s stated aim to wipe it off the map. Its survival as a political entity will have far-reaching implications for all in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

It is unclear to what extent Israel’s intensive bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its ground operations in the north have undermined Hamas’s operational ability. Though the militants have suffered some losses, Hamas still has considerable capacities ensconced in its bunkers and tunnels underneath Gaza from which to attack Israeli ground forces or launch rockets. As Israel resumes operations in the south, the extent of the damage it has been able to inflict on the tunnel system in the north remains unclear. But even if Israel succeeds in eliminating Hamas’s military wing and tunnel infrastructure, Hamas as a resistance movement will probably endure in Gaza and elsewhere for as long as Israel’s occupation continues.

Tahani Mustafa is the senior Palestine analyst at the International Crisis Group

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