Smoke billows over Gaza during Israeli bombing on 18 January 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)

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Since Israel launched its war on Gaza last October, at least 27,000 Palestinians have been killed, and tens of thousands more have been injured. 

Amid the relentless Israeli bombardment, hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, and most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million people have been displaced.

With Israel predicting the conflict will continue for months, this crisis will only deepen, with potentially catastrophic regional implications.

Here, six academics and researchers give their opinions on the ongoing conflict and what lies ahead.

Lessons from the first 100 days | Mouin Rabbani

The first 100 days of the Gaza war have changed the face of the Middle East. On 7 October, Israel's pretensions of omnipotence, omniscience, invincibility and invulnerability were irrevocably shattered. 

For the first time in 75 years, the Israeli military was forced to wage war within its own borders. It launched the most intensive bombing campaign in its history, razing much of the miniscule Gaza Strip to the ground, and killing Palestinian non-combatants at a scale and speed that, within three months, landed it before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of genocide. Israel has since its establishment been associated with genocide in the Western public imagination. Until now as victim, but for the rest of its days as perpetrator.

Israel's severance of food, water, medical supplies and fuel to the occupied territory formed only one element of a very detailed South African charge sheet.

This engineered humanitarian emergency, and famine in particular, will now intensify as Israel's Western sponsors suspended funding to Unrwa in revenge for the ICJ's ruling that the genocide accusation against Israel is plausible.

The official pretext is that Israel has made allegations, yet to be properly investigated or formally substantiated, that 12 of the UN agency's 13,000 employees in Gaza were, unbeknownst to it, involved with the Hamas military wing.

Israel's war on Gaza is now its longest since 1948. But it has thus far failed to achieve any significant military objectives, which may well prove unattainable. 

Israel's military doctrine that wars must be short, decisive and fought on enemy territory has, similar to the Israeli army and its powers of deterrence on 7 October, collapsed like a house of cards. 

Its utter dependence on the United States for military, political and diplomatic support has been laid bare, while this war has also shattered the image of a powerful bastion of western interests and influence in the Middle East. Although Hamas is hardly a significant military force, Israeli leaders have repeatedly referred to this conflict as one that will determine whether or not Israel continues to exist. 

Nonetheless, Israel remains a nuclear power, armed to the teeth with the most advanced US weaponry, and able to sow death and destruction with an intensity that can be observed even from outer space. The Gaza Strip as we have known it has ceased to exist.

In its efforts to insulate Israel from regional opposition to its decimation of the Gaza Strip, Washington has all but ensured a regional war whose consequences may well exceed those of its ill-fated invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the process, it has, along with the European Union, ensured the disintegration of the rules-based international order, which they have constructed over decades to ensure accountability for adversaries and impunity for allies.

It is at this stage impossible to predict when, how, or even if the guns will fall silent. Until they do, renewed talk in western capitals of a two-state settlement remains a diversionary charade, to be pursued with, at best, as little seriousness of purpose as in decades past. 

To remove any doubts about its double-dealing, Washington in December voted against a UN General Assembly resolution re-affirming the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

To be sure, an end to the occupation and the establishment of a genuinely independent, sovereign Palestinian state remains feasible. What was possible in Algeria, Ireland and East Timor is also possible in Palestine....

Read the full opinion at Middle East Eye