Despite Israel disproportionate reaction to Hamas attack on October 7 and killing thousands of Palestinians, Israel has been the loser since the day the war began.
A day after Hamas carried out an attack against Israel and put the Israeli military and intelligence establishment into a horrible shock, the latter has started air and later ground invasion in Gaza, killing at least 14 thousand Palestinian men, women, and children. Even after the announcement of the four-day truce between the two sides that was implemented this Friday, it is expected that the war continues and Israeli violent attacks take the lives of even more Palestinians.
According to the latest figures, more than 14,800 Palestinians, including 6,150 children, have been killed in Gaza since October 7. This is while In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas attack stands at 1,200, less than one-tenth of the casualties of the Palestinian side. But looking beyond the number of casualties and the gravity of the destruction that Israeli attacks have left behind in Gaza so far, Tel Aviv cannot claim victory in a war that it lost the day the war began on October 7.
Israel lost the war on the very day it began
To read between the lines, the war has left the Netanyahu government with a series of unprecedented defeats with consequences that will hunt Israel for years.
First of all, by the disproportionate reaction to Hamas attack on October 7 and killing thousands of Palestinians in less than two months, Israel is now facing a growing sense of antisemitism around the world, even in countries such as the United States and European countries that are mostly counted as strategic allies to Israel. The antisemitism includes death threats to Jewish groups and organizations. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands have turned out in pro-Palestinian demonstrations in many countries worldwide.
Hamas attack, a blow to Netanyahu’s big strategy
Second, the attack on October 7 was like a nuclear bomb that destroyed the years-long strategy of Benjamin Netanyahu in a matter of minutes. For years, the former and current Prime Minister of Israel have been restlessly trying to buy legitimacy for Israel through normalizing relations with Arab states.
He in fact had the illusion that Israel could normalize ties with the Arab world without addressing the Palestinian question, which until October 7, Netanyahu apparently believed could simply come true.
Now, that goal is more like a wild dream and regardless of the outcome of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, Netanyahu will have to do some serious rethinking on his strategy toward the moribund Middle East peace process entirely. Saudi Arabia, which was on the verge of normalizing relations with Israel, is now a number-one critic of Israel and its bloodshed in Gaza.
No place for Bibi in Israel anymore
Last but not least, the war proved both to the Israelis and the United States that Netanyahu is weak and does not have the qualification to remain Israel’s leader.
According to a poll recently conducted in Israel, if elections were to held, Netanyahu’s Likud party would lose heavily and its number of seats in the Knesset would decrease from 32 to 19. This is while the National Unity Party led by Benny Gantz, the former chief of staff of the Israeli army, would be elected as the ruling party and Gantz himself would be elected as the new prime minister.
Interestingly, the result of the poll is what the Biden administration wants. The Israeli media Haaretz noted in an article last month that the Biden administration is willing to remove Netanyahu and put Gantz in office.