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Friedman thinks the Gaza war is unwinnable for Israel. (Design: Palestine Chronicle, via video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“I believe Israel would actually be better off agreeing to Hamas’s demand for a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a cease-fire and an all-for-all deal”.

Tel Aviv’s strategy in the Gaza Strip has locked Israel “into a politically unwinnable war,” with serious repercussions for the United States and other global interests, according to an opinion piece in The New York Times.

“Israel today is at a strategic point in its war in Gaza,” American commentator and author Thomas L Friedman wrote in a column published on Wednesday.

He warned that all indications were there that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to “choose the wrong path” and take the US administration “along for a very dangerous and troubling ride.”

Friedman said that Israel may be forced to “leave a rump Hamas leadership in power in Gaza.”

Following the latest rounds of indirect talks between the Palestinian Resistance and Israel in Egypt a few days ago, Hamas warned that Israel “remains obstinate and has not responded to any of the demands of our people and our resistance.”

Israel has been fighting an ongoing genocidal war in the besieged Gaza Strip since the October 7 resistance operation.

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Wednesday cited “veteran combat officers” as saying that Hamas cannot be dismantled now. In the best-case scenario, the report noted, it will be defeated in 2026 or 2027.

The military officials reportedly stated that “we will not be permanently in the Strip. We will return to many raids deep in the territory.”

‘Terrible Mistake’

Friedman had already expressed his criticism towards Israel’s approach in Gaza last October.

“Militarily they opted for the Dresden approach, which (…)  killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, leaving hundreds of thousands of others injured, displaced or homeless — and delegitimizing, for many around the world, what Israel thought was a just war,” he said.

Instead, he argued, they should have opted for “a military response akin to how Israel tracked down the killers of its athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and not how the U.S. turned Dresden into a pile of rubble in World War II.”

Moreover, according to the commentator, the Israeli prime minister “refused to offer any political horizon or exit strategy and expressly ruled out any collaboration with the Palestinian Authority under orders from the Jewish supremacists in his governing coalition.”

“That is an utterly insane strategy,” Friedman said.

“It has locked Israel into a politically unwinnable war, and it has ended up isolating America, imperiling our regional and global interests, compromising Israel’s support in the U.S. and fracturing the base of President Biden’s Democratic Party.”

Immediately Change Course

Friedman hoped that Israel “immediately change course” and also “join with the Biden administration in embracing that pathway to a two-state deal that would open the way for Saudi normalization and also give cover for the Palestinian Authority and moderate Arab states to try to establish non-Hamas governance in Gaza in Israel’s place.”

He also emphasized that Israel should not “invade Rafah and reject Palestinian Authority involvement in Gaza’s future.”

In fact, “the ambitious goal of wiping out Hamas could not be completed quickly (if at all),” Friedman admitted. Therefore, the Rafah invasion would have dangerous repercussions at an economic, military and diplomatic level.

“So dangerous that I believe Israel would actually be better off agreeing to Hamas’s demand for a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a cease-fire and an all-for-all deal,” Friedman said.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 33,634 Palestinians have been killed, and 76,214 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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