Much of the Gaza Strip lies in ruins, with its people pushed from their homes by Israeli bombardment and the death toll climbing ever higher. On the ground, Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years, has largely vanished, other than when its fighters pop up to attack Israeli tanks or fire rockets at Israel.

But the group is still reaping benefits from its surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7. It is regarded as the only Palestinian faction to squeeze concessions from Israel in many years. It has thrown a bloody wrench into Israel’s plans to improve relations with its Arab neighbors and forced the Palestinian issue back onto the agendas of world leaders.

Two months into the war, despite vows by Israeli officials to destroy Hamas, Israel has yet to kill its top leaders, free the remaining 137 hostages Hamas holds or provide convincing evidence that it can achieve its goal of eliminating Hamas without an astronomical human cost.