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Israel & Hamas extreme positions move them even further apart

Israel & Hamas extreme positions move them even further apart

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here back in New York City and a Quick Take to kick off your week.

We are talking yet again about the war in the Middle East continuing to escalate. Certainly not the news that anybody wants to hear right now. Israel with tanks now rolling into central Rafah.

This is the warning that the Americans had given the Israelis for over a month now, not to invade that area. The Prime Minister and others on the War Cabinet have said that they will persist until Hamas is destroyed, and that critically includes Rafah. This comes after roughly 1 million Palestinians have fled the area, having been warned by the Israelis that they're going to attack it. Over the past couple of weeks, of course, it's not clear that they have anywhere safe to go. Certainly, nowhere with infrastructure or with adequate humanitarian support. Comes after airstrikes by Israel hit a camp for people displaced from Rafah that killed over 45, mostly women and children, as well as two Hamas officials. Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to that as a tragic error. They've been a lot of those over the course of the past months. The United States, as I said, strongly opposing the invasion and calling it a red line, sort of. I mean, that red line also came with all sorts of caveats that the United States wanted to ensure that aid was going to be able to get in.

And part of that was the Americans building a humanitarian pier that they set up and which is falling apart because of bad weather, choppy seas, and no aid has been delivered from it despite all of the money and all of the effort to do so to the Palestinians. Also, with the idea that the Palestinians have to be gotten out and indeed, most of them have now gotten out, those that aren't military age, fighting age men. But whether those plans are considered adequate by the Americans, especially given where they're fleeing to, seems very unlikely. So Biden's red line is certainly going to be seen as having been transgressed by the Israeli government, by the Israeli War Cabinet. What exactly he plans to do about that? Still very, very challenging.

Hamas, of course, is itself still holding hostages nearly eight months later, military hostages and lots of civilian hostages. How many are still alive? Nobody knows. Hamas is still raining missiles on Israel, not causing casualties given Israel's extraordinarily strong capacity to defend itself, but still showing Hamas military capabilities surprisingly resilient despite months and months of intense Israeli war fighting across Gaza.

So if the Israeli intention is they're going to keep fighting until Hamas is destroyed, we're pretty far from that on its face. The Israeli view is that the killing of Palestinian civilians, and again, we've seen, you know, tens of thousands of deaths among Palestinians, a majority of which are civilians, is 100% the responsibility of Hamas, both for October 7th and for willingness to target Israel and for operating in civilian areas. Now, that is not just the view of the Israeli prime minister or the War Cabinet. That is the view of the majority of the Israeli citizens.

At the same time, it is not the view of any other country in the world which makes Israel increasingly isolated. And also it makes Biden, who was a strong supporter of Israel still, and that's not going to change, and is also by far the most important ally of Israel, puts him in a much more difficult and vulnerable position internationally and at home in his upcoming election. At the same time, Hamas and the so-called Iran-led axis of resistance, their view is that Israel has no right to exist, and that is not the view of any other country in the world.

And so you have these two polar extremes that are implacable enemies of each other. No overlap in the circles of the Venn diagram, no ability to effectively negotiate a cease fire, never mind a sustainable peace on the ground as a consequence. And the rest of the world, opposing both of their positions. That is not to create a moral equivalence between a terrorist organization and a democratically elected government.

But it is to say that in as far as the fighting of the war is going, the position of the axis of resistance and the position of the Israeli government literally are not aligned with or supported by anybody at this point on the global stage. And that makes the likelihood of this war going on, and escalating and expanding further beyond its borders. Also, the likelihood of this war having a real impact on the US election in November and undermining Biden is growing and growing and growing. You see why this isn't getting any better, and you see, why all of the efforts by the Gulf states, by the Egyptians and the Jordanians, by the Europeans, by the Americans, by the United Nations, by others to try to reduce the conflict, to try to contain the conflict, to try to lead to a cease fire, have so far led to not, and unfortunately, looking forward, it is very hard to see in the near future, any end to the fighting, either in terms of the Israeli ground invasion into Rafah and more broadly, the bombings across Gaza, and also in terms of the responses by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by other members of the axis of resistance and by a likely expansion of terrorist attacks against Israel and against the West around the world. This has to be one of the most depressing topics for me to be updating on out there.

And I wish I had better news to offer, but it's not about my preferences. It's about the analysis. And that's where we are. So, I hope everyone's going to have a good week. And I'll talk to you all real soon.


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