Rafah, Gaza and the West Bank: A Situational Assessment

Since Israeli forces launched a full-scale offensive in Rafah, casualties on both sides have been mounting. Several poorly managed and planned strikes resulted in scores of Palestinian civilians dead, amplifying public pressure on Tel Aviv. The inability to locate and secure hostages has generated massive public outcries in Israel. Since we last released a public report on the situation of the fighting in Rafah, the overall strategic picture in the Near East has not altered significantly. However, ongoing combat operations have impacted stability in the West Bank, Israeli public opinion and Hezbollah’s role in the fighting.

Key Judgment-1: It is highly likely that the security situation in the West Bank will deteriorate in the next 3 months, forcing Israel to siphon off reserve units to restore order.

Key Judgment-2: It is unlikely that the IDF will successfully conclude combat operations in Rafah in the next 3 months, enhancing pressure on Israeli wartime public sentiment.

Key Judgment-3: It is likely that Hezbollah will increase the scale of its involvement in the conflict, threatening regional escalation.

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