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Can Israel Actually Win This War?

When Hamas attacked Israel eight months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s war goals were threefold: one, destroy Hamas; two, free all of the hostages; and three, ensure that Gaza…

When Hamas attacked Israel eight months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s war goals were threefold: one, destroy Hamas; two, free all of the hostages; and three, ensure that Gaza can never threaten Israel again.

More than 250 days later, some 120 hostages remain in Hamas captivity, both dead and alive. Two Hamas battalions remain, consisting of somewhere between 9,000 and 12,000 fighters. More than 300 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza and thousands wounded, 135,000 Israeli civilians are still displaced, and the war seems to have no end in sight.

Why? Israel is supposed to be the greatest military force in the Middle East. So why haven’t they achieved their war goals? Are their war goals even viable? And, can Israel win this war?

Here to help answer these questions today are Seth Frantzman and John Spencer.

Seth Frantzman is the senior Middle East correspondent and analyst at The Jerusalem Post. He has reported on the war against ISIS, several Gaza wars, and the conflict in Ukraine. And, he is an Adjunct Fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He thinks Israel can and should win this war, but he thinks the past eight months have been dismal and that Israel is at risk of losing and losing disastrously.

John Spencer is a military expert who has served in the army for 25 years, including two combat tours in Iraq. He is now chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast. He was recently asked if the war was winnable for the IDF, and he said: one hundred percent. But he thinks it is contingent on a total defeat of Hamas.

Today, we discuss what has actually been accomplished by the IDF in the last eight months, why they haven’t achieved “total victory” yet and if that’s even possible, the fate of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, how the U.S. has restrained Israel and if that restraint has been good or bad for Israel, what hope there is for the remaining hostages, whether the idea of Hamas can be defeated, what a “day after” plan could look like, the war with Hezbollah heating up in the north, and, most importantly: why October 7 did not wake up the West.

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