U.S. officials expect the Israeli offensive in Gaza to run out of steam by mid-January and turn to a less-intense but more drawn-out phase that narrowly targets specific Hamas militants and leaders, reported CNN. The U.S. has conveyed to Israel that as global opinion has increasingly turned against its ground campaign, which has killed thousands of civilians, the amount of time Israel has to continue the operation in its current form and still maintain meaningful international support is quickly waning. In other words, the U.S. is telling Israel to continue with its genocidal war in Gaza, but only until January.
Both in public and in private, Israeli officials maintain that part of their end goal is to weaken Hamas to such an extent that the group can never repeat the attack that it unleashed on Israel on October 7. That goal, one senior U.S. official told CNN, is unlikely to be achieved by the end of the calendar year, and Israel is expected to continue pursuing that objective in the next phase of the conflict that U.S. officials see as a “longer-term campaign.”
An Israeli official consulted by CNN agreed. “We are in a high-intensity operation in the coming weeks, then probably moving to a low-intensity mode,” he said.
U.S. officials are hopeful that Israel will move to a more targeted strategy by January, which will resemble how the U.S. transitioned away from high-intensity combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, to a more narrow campaign against Hamas leaders, senior U.S. officials told CNN.