A cease-fire or quagmire in Gaza?
The National Interest - 07/31/2014
There was a good reason why, for the past five and a half years since Israel last invaded the Gaza Strip in January 2009, Israel’s generals were reluctant to send their troops back in. They knew that while getting into Gaza would be easy for the mighty Israeli army, getting out would not be. This is a lesson that the IDF learned the hard way after it spent eighteen years in a costly, protracted, occupation of southern Lebanon (it is also a lesson that the United States has learned after its bitter experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan). So while hawkish right-wing Israeli politicians often called for the IDF to conquer the Gaza Strip in response to sporadic rocket fire from Palestinian militant groups, Israel’s military establishment counseled caution.
The failure of Israel’s aerial campaign to stop the incessant rocket fire from Gaza during the first ten days of “Operation Protective Edge,” Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal and its attempt to send a group of fighters into Israel via one of its underground tunnels, together with the mounting domestic political pressure upon Prime Minister Netanyahu from his right-wing ministers (particularly Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett) has now led the Israeli army back into the Gaza Strip, albeit not yet deep inside.