Five reasons Israel will invade Gaza and five reasons it won’t

I think this is a pretty good assessment. Leaving ego aside, I find myself increasingly in favour of a ceasefire. But I am not in favour of negotiating any terms for demilitarization because they would be ineffectual as in 1701. We are not going to get a better deal than calm for calm. Egypt has made a proposal that I realize that from time to time Hamas would violate it. Even so that seems like a better outcome for Israel than suffering the costs of invasion and temporary occupation and the problems of withdrawal. The proposal calls for “To end all hostilities by political factions (DEBKA: Hamas is not mentioned by name) based in Gaza against Israel via land, sea, air and underground, while emphasizing the stoppage of rockets of all kinds, assaults on the borders and the targeting of civilians.” But this is meaningless because Hamas will still conduct itself as before. Netanyahu has asked, that “any deal with Hamas being contingent on the creation of an international mechanism to dismantle and remove Hamas’s rockets stocks and production facilities from the Gaza Strip.” Even if you ask for that the ceasefire will be a fact long before such a thing could be put in place which is never as Hamas would not agree to it. So in the end its calm for calm. Anything else is delusion. But I believe that it is better than conquering and occupying Gaza. Occupying Lebanon as we did was a picnic in comparison to what it would be in in Gaza. You know what they say, “Descretion is the better part of valour or is it stupidity.Ted Belman

At times it seems almost inevitable that the order will come, the dead-end situation leaving no other alternative. Then it seems increasingly unlikely as all the many factors, drawbacks and risks are added up.
By Anshel Pfeffer, HAARETZ | Jul. 14, 2014 | 2:31 PM

The Israel Defense Force could enter the Gaza Strip at literally any moment. A number of brigade combat teams are deployed around Gaza’s borders; infantry battalions, tanks, engineers, armored personnel carriers, and all the logistic echelons to keep them supplied.

The operational plans have been ready since last week, authorized by IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz. Every day that passes, there will be more hardware, officers better acquainted with every detail on their maps and more intelligence at their disposal. But while there is near-total operational readiness at the staging-grounds, there’s also a languid atmosphere of weary skepticism. In the coffee shops and kebab joints which suddenly fill up whenever there’s a security crisis around Gaza, they grabbed quick breaks over the weekend, but didn’t actually seem in a rush anywhere.

None of them, not even the top brass who brushed shoulders with reserve sergeants, have any idea when the order will come – or if it will ever come. The last operation in November 2012 ended without a ground offensive. Reserve forces were called up, the tanks and APCs deployed around Gaza and then a cease-fire was achieved and everyone went back home. This time, the cease-fire seems still far off, and the possibility of an incursion is once again on the agenda. But there is still no clear indication from the two men who will have to make the call, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon whether or not they will give the order.

At times it seems almost inevitable that the order will come, the dead-end situation leaving no other alternative. Then it seems increasingly unlikely as all the many factors, drawbacks and risks are added up.

Here are the reasons that the government will give the order and the reasons why Netanyahu will hold back and stick with air-strikes and at the most very small-scale raids.

Reasons for a ground invasion

1. No other way to get rid of rockets

As of Monday morning, the IDF has carried out 1,474 attacks on targets in Gaza, dropping 1,500 tons of explosives. For all this, the intelligence assessments are that only about 20 percent of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket stores have been either used or destroyed. Massive air-strikes have come nowhere near to denying the Palestinians the capability of launching rockets at most of the inhabited areas of Israel. The only way to destroy the rockets in reinforced underground warehouses is through a ground offensive.

2. Political pressure on PM

Neither Netanyahu nor Ya’alon seem eager to order the troops in, but many of their cabinet colleagues, starting with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are competing with each other in calling for more forceful action against Hamas. Either way it will be the top two who take the flak for whatever comes out of this operation but the worst thing for an Israeli politician is to be perceived as being “weak against terror.”

3. No other alternative left

The air-strike campaign isn’t having the desired effect and the number of targets that can be hit from the air without causing massive collateral damage is running out. If no cease-fire is achieved soon, a ground attack may be the only military option remaining.

4. The public supports it

Surveys conducted in recent days show clear support among the Israeli public for going in to Gaza. This is, of course, a temporary snapshot of the public mood and it could change the moment the IDF begins sustaining casualties, but the effect on the leadership from the chorus of voices rising from parts of the media and social networks is hard to overlook.

5. Restoring Israeli deterrence

If a cease-fire is achieved now, the Palestinian organizations in Gaza will be able to say that they withstood Israel’s attack and continued fighting and launching missiles all the way through. Some military commanders are urging for the only kind of strike that can shatter that narrative.

But despite all these arguments and the apparent preparedness of ground forces, the order has not yet been given and there is little indication that it will. Here’s why.

Reasons for avoiding ground invasion

1. Fear of offering Hamas targets

For now, all the targets Hamas is firing at are protected either by reinforced structures or Iron Dome and so far, as a result, Israeli casualties have been minimal. Large IDF forces going into Gaza will immediately present them with hundreds of new targets, on their own territory. It also gives Hamas a chance to go for the most high-value asset – capturing a live Israeli soldier.

2. Much higher Gazan death toll

The high death-toll in Gaza in the first six days of the operation, 172 as of Monday morning, will be dwarfed in a ground offensive, when field artillery, much less accurate than the air-strikes will be used to lay down covering fire for the advancing troops. The aircraft being used now are all under close command and control of air force headquarters. On the ground, every junior officer, every sergeant is master of his little sector and the civilians within it. The potential for something to go wrong with disastrous fallout is exponentially greater.

3. More elusive cease-fire

It would be simple now for Israel to implement a cease-fire. One short order and the aircraft stop launching missiles. With thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles inside Gaza, a ceasefire is much more complex as every mobile unit will have to continue protecting itself as a tactical retreat is first agreed upon and then carried out.

4. Responsibility for Gaza population

The last thing Israel wants (save for a few on the far right) is to reoccupy Gaza and take responsibility for the welfare of 1.7 million civilians. A ground invasion carries with it the risk of toppling local infrastructure and being left there to pick up the pieces.

5. Netanyahu is too risk-averse

Ehud Olmert in his three years as prime minister launched two large ground offensives into Lebanon and Gaza and a strike Syria’s nuclear reactor. Netanyahu has been prime minister for nearly three times that and, for all the talk, has never come close to that. He has an innate caution (which translates into stagnation on the diplomatic field) and hates throwing too many dice in the air. Ultimately it is his decision and both his track-record and character are for now the best guarantee against a major ground offensive.

July 15, 2014 | 27 Comments »

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27 Comments / 27 Comments

  1. yamit82 Said:

    Who’s afraid of boots on the ground in Gaza?
    Experts may wring their hands about the high cost of a land incursion, but history shows Hamas is awful at killing IDF troops on the move

    Is the fear, of a land incursion, casualties or condemnation ????

  2. @ yamit82:

    G-d says in effect, when you show mercy to evil people, expect to be repaid by them to your face. He has a great sense of humor in showing up the Shauls of our day up as the fools they truly are.

  3. @ the phoenix:

    “What we don’t do todaywe will be forced to do in the near future but then the cost in Jewish lives and treasure will have increased many times what it would be today.”

    “It is worth repeating again:

    – Otto von Bismarck (1815–1890) ‘If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival’…”

    Worth repeating indeed.

    But the original speaker was not Bismarck — but CHURCHILL.

  4. yamit82 Said:

    A ceasefire simply kicks the can down the road to the next round and there will be a next round.

    Another cease fire ???????????????????? I often wonder how long can a population endure it’s leadership and I don’t mean only Israel.

  5. yamit82 Said:

    dump the stupid rules of engagement

    Rules of engagement, that what lost the USA Korea. Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. However the Rues of Engagement toke Gen W. T. Sherman through Georgia to sea and broke the back of the Confederacy.

  6. yamit82 Said:

    I am gossiping about you.
    Can I listen in??

    If you read the post I wrote Norman F under “Hamas the Norm” you will I have told a very exaderated account of you.

  7. Ted Belman Said:

    Fighting as we did enable us to achieve a pain ratio of 1 to their 100. This is as asymmetrical as it gets. Were we to invade the pain ratio would worsen considerably. Maybe 25 times worse. We could easily suffer 100 casualties and for what? Do you really think we could pacify them?

    Pain Ratios? What’s that Ted? Every loss of our people in or out of uniform is painful at least to the familiesand friends of the victims.

    Israel loses some 500 people to auto accident each year and most could have been avoided yet they are an acceptable price the nation is willing to pay for the convenience of the automobile and motorcycles. Israel lost an average of 21 soldiers in the first Lebanon war yet through leftist pressure pulled out. 21 soldiers against 400-500 deaths per year to road accidents????

    Actually we would lose few of our boys in retaking Gaza if we

    dump the stupid rules of engagement we now suffer from and lay down consistant and continuous heavy fire against anything that moves. Block by block is first depopulated and anyone left is shot. The whole of the Gaza strip is 68 square miles. If Israel operates mthodically it might take 1-2 months to do the job sufficiently and longer to get just about everything and everyone listed for elimination.

    Israeli politicians of all stripes have proven they are unreliable and their threats and will to protect Israeli citizens falls shot of their will to save the enemies lives.

    Instead their preferred military doctrine has become LET’S MAKE A DEAL!!!

    Prime Minister Netanyahu: You know what needs to be done!

    Published on Jul 16, 2014

    In January 2009, Israel was at war with Hamas…and rockets rained down on Israelis in the South. At the time, Binyamin Netanyahu had some strong words to say about what needed to be done. He knew back then…and we are reminding him and us…what needs to be done to prevent rockets from continuing to rain down on all of Israel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRfQJGzNF4Y

  8. Bear Klein Said:

    @ BethesdaDog: Hamas is like a bad tooth. You try anti-biotics once twice but the infection keeps coming back. It gets worse every time and could infect your hold body not just gums if you wait too long. So their is no choice but to extract it.

    phoenix is the dental expert.

  9. Ted Belman Said:

    I recently researched this but didn’t get the answers I needed. please tell me how many were allowed to return and in what agreement. Recently Kedar mentioned a figure just under 500.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007
    Archives – June 2002: Olmert: “eradicate” criminal Dahlan, “Israel can’t do business With terrorists”

    Israel Can’t Do Business With Terrorists
    Violence against civilians must be forcibly stopped, not forgiven.
    BY EHUD OLMERT
    Wall Street Journal Monday, June 3, 2002 12:01 a.m. EDT
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110001793

    As the violence accelerated, and as more and more Israeli families were
    being destroyed, the new line touted by both our allies and enemies was that
    Arafat could not actually assert any influence over the terrorist
    organizations. The 40,000 armed guerillas that were brought in from PLO
    bases in Tunis, Syria and south Lebanon were now operating without any
    restraints against Israel from the Palestinian territories.

  10. @ BethesdaDog: Hamas is like a bad tooth. You try anti-biotics once twice but the infection keeps coming back. It gets worse every time and could infect your hold body not just gums if you wait too long. So their is no choice but to extract it.

    The Jihadis (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.) need to be extracted. We have had now three wars in 5 1/2 years and every time their capabilities militarily get better. So hurting them a bit is not enough. Sderot has been receiving rockets for what is it 12 or 14 years now from Gaza. Now rockets are flying all over Israel. What if next time instead of rockets they get or make true missiles with GPS capabilities. This technology will not stay just with Israel, US and the western allies exclusively for much longer.

  11. I’m beginning to find the comments of Yamit and others, like Bear Klein, intriguing. I understand BN’s caution, but I’m beginning to think maybe a land invasion is necessary, despite all the negatives that are suggested, i.e., lots of deaths of Israeli soldiers, prisoners, etc. Israel claims it is killing “senior commanders–is it really? How senior, and how many? From other articles, it sounds like the rocket stores are nowhere near depleted and senior leadership is intact. If you’re going to have an army, it might have to fight wars, and there are costs to wars. It’s like the U.S. and western Europe, which have become soft. Nobody wants to think of deaths and casualties. I guess you can have a military that only stays on its own territory and tries to defend it, but that’s never been Israel’s military doctrine and the civilian population will be consigned to forever hiding in shelters.

  12. @ yamit82:

    What we don’t do todaywe will be forced to do in the near future but then the cost in Jewish lives and treasure will have increased many times what it would be today.

    It is worth repeating again:

    – Otto von Bismarck (1815–1890)If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.

    🙁

  13. Israel needs to demilitarize Gaza by force. This will entail destroying all the jihadi factions. Pulling out has not worked and Oslo has not worked. We should control it militarily. If we can find people in Gaza who want to run their own civil affairs (schools, medical, garbage removal, etc) even better.

  14. “So in the end its calm for calm. Anything else is delusion.”

    Maybe “calm for calm” is ALSO, ken ayin hara, delusion?

    If they can now hit Tel Aviv, what’s to keep them from taking down an airliner arriving at — or taking off from — LLBG?

  15. @ Ted Belman:
    Fighting as we did enable us to achieve a pain ratio of 1 to their 100. This is as asymmetrical as it gets. Were we to invade the pain ratio would worsen considerably. Maybe 25 times worse. We could easily suffer 100 casualties and for what? Do you really think we could pacify them?

  16. yamit82 Said:

    we brought in Arafat and his band of 40,000 killers and thieves from Tunis.

    I recently researched this but didn’t get the answers I needed. please tell me how many were allowed to return and in what agreement. Recently Kedar mentioned a figure just under 500.

  17. NormanF Said:

    And Ted, if you like the status quo ante so much go to Sderot. See if at your age, if you can run in 15 seconds to a bomb shelter.

    A ceasefire simply kicks the can down the road to the next round and there will be a next round.

    I agree

    Having fought in the South and after many years of reserve duty in Sinai,Gaza and the strip the fears expressed by Bellman reflects others mostly from the appeasement left that are not based on facts.

    I lived adjacent to the strip for some ten years. My workers came from there, I did my shopping there. Generally we had pretty good relations with Gazans and when we ruled Gaza there was mostly calm and prosperity for all Jews and Arabs.

    Sharon in the mid 70’s pacified Gaza with an Iron Hand fenced it in and his methods worked.

    What killed the calm was Oslo when we brought in Arafat and his band of 40,000 killers and thieves from Tunis. Population of Gaza divided between Bedouin, original Egyptian Falachim and refugees from pre-state Palestine. No love loss between the groups.

    There is a hardcore Muslim element but they, with determination and ruthlessness can be rooted out in a few months.

    Since we supply most of the essential services to Gaza anyway a bit more won’t be felt too much by the Israel tax payer and exploiting the Gaza gas fields will be more than enough compensation to cover any expense to Israel in maintaining Gaza for many years.

    Occupying Gaza will ensure no more rockets or tunnels into Israel. Israel will kill or deport all active Hamas and other Islamic militant leaders and cadres including Imans.

    Occupying and re-pacifying Gaza is the only method known to secure Israel sovereignty and Israeli citizens now and in the future.

    Only a few short years ago the threat from Gaza was infiltration along the border. Then they developed home made mortars and small rockets. Now they make their own mid range rockets and small drones. In a few years their abilities and expertise will grow exponentially probably faster than before because they have already developed the primary infrastructure, still mostly intact because they are located underground in fortified large industrial bunkers. They learned from Hezbollah and Iran. They will continue their development, experise and sophistication with financing from Qatar and others like EU, USA and Israel.

    What we don’t do todaywe will be forced to do in the near future but then the cost in Jewish lives and treasure will have increased many times what it would be today.

    As a resident of the Negev adjacent to Israels most strategic facility I would consider seriously of moving from the vicinity because Israels ability to safeguard us is now in serious doubt.

    We have no Idea what they can produce against us in the coming months and years but we can be confident that it will be an improvement over what they displayed in the last 2 weeks.

    Where I come from we Kill terrorists and not make deals with them.

  18. We have a ceasefire. Its been announced the Israeli government accepted it. Goes into effect immediately.

    After 8 days of a great fireworks show, Netanyahu decided the heat was too much and chose to bail out.

    Oh and it being the 17th of Tammuz, it also shows G-d has a great sense of humor.

  19. Israel could drop a few neutron bombs on the place move into the territory and build new towns for the Gush Katif expellees.

    But it doesn’t have the guts because it has weak leaders who defer too much to world opinion and are afraid of their own shadows.

    They don’t want to win and without a desire for victory, nothing will change.

    And Ted, if you like the status quo ante so much go to Sderot. See if at your age, if you can run in 15 seconds to a bomb shelter.

    A ceasefire simply kicks the can down the road to the next round and there will be a next round.