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By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.

Thirteen signs indicate that the war on Gaza Strip (GS), which has lasted more than six months, is now on borrowed time. The Israeli forces haven’t met their goals, and there’s increasing pressure to end the war.

The Israeli army’s withdrawal from the Khan Yunis area on 7/4/2024, after failing to achieve its objectives as reported by Haaretz, is another sign of the accumulating setbacks and challenges on the ground, where Hamas and other resistance factions persist in holding their ground, dealing significant blows to the Israeli forces. The most recent operation was Operation Zanna on 6/4/2024, which, according to resistance forces, resulted in the loss of 14 Israeli soldiers, with 18 others injured and three tanks destroyed, further hastening the retreat of the Israeli army from Khan Yunis.

However, the signs of this war being on “borrowed time” do not necessarily indicate an imminent halt to the war. Instead, they suggest that the war has lost its rationale and viability, becoming a burden on the Israeli army. Sooner or later, it will be compelled to withdraw and reassess its strategy. These indicators can be summarized as follows:

First: Israel has failed to achieve its primary objective of crippling Hamas. The latter remains the most popular and strongest in GS. Despite the Israeli invasion lasting approximately 150 days, the Qassam Brigades continue to operate not only in the central and southern regions but also in the north. It’s estimated that over seven thousand Hamas fighters (in the north) still engage in battles and operations, inflicting significant losses on the occupying forces.

Second: The aggression has, thus, far been unsuccessful in occupying GS and imposing its military regime. Despite the sacrifices and casualties, Hamas’s command and control system remains effective across most of GS, maintaining its military and administrative structures despite the challenges.

Third: Israel has miserably failed to secure the release of its captives held by the resistance.

Fourth: The Israeli army failed miserably in instilling a sense of “defeat” within the ranks of the resistance and the people supporting it. Neither did the resistance surrender, disband or diminish in its efficacy, nor did popular support waver, instead rallying around the resistance. Despite resorting to despicable tactics of war, including massacres, targeting women and children, demolishing homes, hospitals, schools and infrastructure, as well as employing starvation methods, the resolve and resistance of the people of GS remain unbroken.

Fifth: Despite ongoing aggression, attempts to establish an alternative government in GS aligned with Israeli interests, capable of quelling resistance and ensuring security in the Gaza envelope, have been unsuccessful. While the Palestinian Authority (PA) is positioning itself for post-war efforts, it aims to avoid appearing as an instrument of Israeli influence. Its popularity in Gaza remains significantly lower than that of Hamas. This challenge extends to the potential involvement of Arab forces as part of a transitional phase toward replacing Hamas with a solution acceptable to both Israel and the US.

Sixth: The aggression has depleted its reservoir of objectives in GS, having caused numerous massacres and extensive destruction. There’s nothing left to “achieve” or to weaken the resistance and its resolve. Regarding the Rafah battle, repeatedly postponed due to recognized dangers, the likelihood of failure is substantial. With dwindling Western and US support, and amidst internal pressure fostering further hesitancy, the specter of “failure horror” looms once more.

Seventh: The GS war persists without any prospect of overcoming the resistance forces. Its duration has surpassed expectations of both the US and Western allies. Israel and the war effort have transformed from strategic assets to burdens across military, financial, political, media and “moral” realms (if any morals remain!!), thus becoming internal concerns for western governments vis-à-vis their populations. Consequently, western endorsement for the war has waned, with some countries contemplating halting arms exports to Israel.

Eighth: There’s a growing sentiment within the Israeli community and its political factions that Netanyahu aims to prolong the war for personal reasons—primarily to cling to power and evade potential political demise or incarceration, rather than prioritizing Israel’s best interests. Pressure mounts on Netanyahu to seek “reasonable” resolutions by Israeli standards.

Ninth: Israel can’t endure prolonged conflicts and attrition, leading to economic decline, reverse migration, security threats, diminished investments and stalled normalization efforts. This strain intensifies, particularly as the resistance’s capacity to inflict significant daily losses on the occupation persists.

Tenth: The US partner is increasingly growing weary of Israel’s military and political conduct, particularly as President Biden’s approval ratings have taken a hit due to his backing of the GS war. With diminishing prospects for electoral success and influence in pivotal swing states, coupled with mounting concerns over the potential harm to US interests in the region, the Biden administration is increasingly compelled to hasten disengagement from the war with minimal losses.

Eleven: There are apprehensions that the prolonged war will escalate tensions in the region. Arab regimes that have normalized relations with Israel or are under significant US influence fear that the conflict will stoke internal unrest, especially after appearing powerless or complicit in the blockade of GS and the resistance. Consequently, these states are intensifying their efforts to bring about an end to the war.

Twelfth: The international grip tightens around Israel, exacerbating its isolation as its ruthless and arrogant image and its disregard for international law and human rights has become entrenched. Following the countries that aligned with South Africa in legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice, Israel is more isolated now than ever before.

Thirteenth: The expiration of the “shelf life” of Israeli Zionist propaganda in the GS war, following the falsehoods surrounding claims of Hamas killing Israeli civilians in the October 7 attack; following Hamas’s unmistakable ascent as a national liberation movement embodying moderate Islamic principles alongside elevated values and civilized conduct; and as Israel loses its ability to portray itself as a “victim,” no longer able to conceal its crimes behind the veil of the “Holocaust” and other excuses relied upon for the past 76 years.


The failure indicated above marks a distinct lack of prospects for achieving the war’s objectives in the foreseeable future. Israel is increasingly mired in a “quagmire” with no clear exit strategy, as the ground realities diverge significantly from its aspirations. The war has forfeited its justifications and feasibility, placing a burden on Israeli forces and plunging into a phase of diminishing returns. This signals the onset of a period of “borrowed time” for achieving attainable goals, amid a convergence of factors pushing for war cessation, Gaza withdrawal, and a meaningful prisoner and captive swap agreement.

However, this does not necessarily imply, as previously mentioned, that the war will cease imminently. Factors such as Israeli arrogance, the “fear of failure,” reluctance to acknowledge the resistance’s victory, the presence of Netanyahu and his hardline government, and the ongoing US support—especially concerning ensuring that GS does not pose a future security threat to Israel and that Hamas does not resume governance in Gaza—will likely compel Israel to prolong the war, albeit possibly at a reduced intensity. Such actions may be aimed at securing arrangements favorable to Israel. Additionally, Israel may utilize its occupation of northern Gaza and the prevention of displaced persons’ return as leverage against the resistance.

Regarding the resistance, it must persist in its qualitative and effective efforts to compel the Israeli forces to meet its conditions for halting the war: the withdrawal of its occupying forces, a substantive prisoner and captive exchange, the repatriation of refugees, addressing the GS humanitarian needs, implementing reconstruction efforts, safeguarding the resistance’s weaponry and ensuring Gaza’s future remains an internal Palestinian matter.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 16/4/2024

The opinions expressed in all the publications and studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of al-Zaytouna Centre.

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