Opinion: 6 months since October 7, there are no winners here

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN. CNN — Almost exactly six months ago, Israelis awoke to a nightmare. Civilians in the southern part of the country, areas near the border with Gaza, were under a brutal, ongoing attack. It would become the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust and a prelude to unspeakable suffering on both sides of the border. Six months after Hamas launched that deadly rampage, knowing that Israel’s response would be ferocious, there are only losers in this terrible war. It’s hard now to find many winners with the death toll mounting among Gazans and hunger growing in the strip. And with Israeli hostages still held captive, perhaps in dank Hamas tunnels. For Hamas, the fact that war continues may count as a victory, but thousands of Hamas’ fighters — the exact number is disputed — have been killed. Hamas may be decimated, perhaps unable to hold on to power, but that’s no victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under growing global pressure and besieged by protesters at home, and whose legacy will be forever darkened. Even US President Joe Biden has paid a price, caught in an election-year political vise between those who think he is too supportive of Israel and those who think he has been too critical. The strife has also detonated a worldwide explosion of antisemitism, reviving a hatred that had lain lightly dormant. It’s causing anxiety across Europe, and leading some American Jews to conclude that one country where they had felt safe is no longer a haven, as they face antisemitism from the left and the right. Anti-Muslim bigotry has also increased. This awful chapter started on October 7 last year, when Hamas terrorists breached what was supposed to be a secure border and slaughtered Israelis in their beds, in their living rooms, in their cars, at an outdoor music festival and bus shelters and parks. They raped countless women with horrifying brutality. Israeli security forces were nowhere to be found for hours. Hamas — the Iran-allied group that rules Gaza — killed more than 1,200 Israelis and dragged back hundreds more as hostages. The area lay in ruins. Israelis’ sense of security had been shattered. Today, it is Gaza that lies in ruins, tens of thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel in its quest to uproot and destroy Hamas. As Israel crushes Gaza, its global reputation is getting shattered. But still the IDF believes around 100 Israeli hostages remain captive of Hamas and other militants in conditions that one shudders to imagine.

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