Demonstrators in Tel Aviv and other cities called on Netanyahu to accept a ceasefire proposal.

For months, Israelis have heard only about hostages being killed or declared dead in Gaza. The “lucky” families are those whose loved ones' bodies are brought back to Israel for burial by soldiers at great risk.

So Saturday’s daring rescue of four hostages alive was an immediate morale boost in Israel and delivered at least a temporary victory for the country’s embattled Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

But by Sunday, the euphoria had been replaced by a stark reality: The intense air and ground assaults that accompanied the rescue mission killed dozens of Palestinians, including civilians, according to Gaza health officials, and the operation failed to address any of the deeper challenges plaguing the Israeli government.

Eight months into the Gaza war, Israel still appears to have failed to achieve its stated goal of dismantling Hamas’s military and governing capabilities. Israelis fear that many of the hostages in Gaza are running out of life. Israeli authorities have announced that about a third of the remaining 120 hostages are dead.

At the same time, Israel’s leadership is grappling with an escalation of hostilities along its northern border with Lebanon and dealing with growing international isolation and condemnation over the Gaza war, including Genocide allegations The case is being heard at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Nahum Baniya, a prominent Israeli political columnist, wrote in the popular newspaper Novaya Gazeta on Sunday that the rescue operation “does not solve a single problem Israel has faced since October 7.”

He added: “It doesn't solve the problems in the north; it doesn't solve the problems in Gaza; it doesn't solve a host of other problems that threaten Israel on the international stage.”

At the same time, the stability of Netanyahu's government is also at risk.

The government is under pressure to reach an agreement with Hamas to release all remaining hostages. But the fate of Israel's proposal for a ceasefire and hostage and prisoner swap is uncertain because President Biden Overview More than a week ago, negotiations between the two sides remained uncertain. The Biden administration and Israeli officials said they were still waiting for a formal response from Hamas to determine whether the negotiations could resume.

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Israelis are currently debating whether the hostage rescue operation would help or hinder such a deal — which, if it goes ahead, could Threatening Netanyahu's powerThe far-right in the ruling coalition has vowed to resign and overthrow his government.

The rescue of the four hostages is likely to bolster the arguments of those that Israel’s military pressure on Hamas and continued ground operations in Gaza are necessary to bring the remaining hostages home.

But for many Israelis and relatives of the dozens of remaining hostages, the fact that only four have returned home suggests that such a complex military operation is likely to benefit only a few of them and will come at great risk and cost to Gaza's military and civilians.

The military’s chief spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, made that clear in a briefing with reporters on Saturday, saying of the remaining hostages: “We know that we cannot act to get everyone out because the situation does not always allow it.” The largest number of hostages rescued — more than a hundred — were freed under an earlier temporary ceasefire agreement.

For Hamas, which lost its four remaining bargaining chips on Saturday, Israel's deadly action could harden its position. The group suggested the rescue operation could make the situation worse for the remaining captives.

“This operation will pose a great danger to enemy prisoners of war and will have a negative impact on their conditions and lives,” Abu Obeida, spokesman for the group's military wing, said in a statement on Saturday.

For now, experts say the remaining hostages will likely be moved from civilian apartment buildings above ground, such as the one where the four hostages rescued Saturday were held, to underground tunnels, where they would be more difficult to reach.

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