"According to Israeli officials, Hamas has smuggled 70 tons of high explosives into Gaza since it violently wrested control of the territory from Abbas’ Fatah faction in June. Hamas also has at least 15,000 full-time guerrillas, many of them trained in Iran and Syria.
Israel’s army does not want Hamas to acquire the capabilities Hezbollah demonstrated in Lebanon during the summer war in 2006. IDF officials say they cannot wait until Hamas has built up defenses along the Gaza frontier that would make an invasion unbearably costly in terms of Israeli casualties.
"Hamas is trying to entrench itself along the Gaza Strip border fence," Brig. Gen. Moshe Tamir, a senior commander of Israel’s forces outside Gaza, told journalists recently. "They’re digging tunnels beneath, building bunkers, establishing mortar nests, observation posts and escape routes."
Amos Harel of the Ha’aretz daily said Israel feels its natural tactical superiority being eroded by the asymmetrical fighting with Hamas.
"Until recently, it was obvious who was winning this confrontation. The Israel Defense Force has an enormous advantage in terms of firepower, observation, control of the air, armored vehicles and troop training," Harel said. "But in recent months, the efforts by Iran and Hezbollah to improve Hamas’ military capabilities are beginning to be felt. It is not only better weaponry, but also careful study of the lessons of the Second Lebanon War." Jewish Arizona
I suspected that it might be true that Hamas forces have been preparting to fight a Hizbullah style positional battle against the IDF. If that is the case then there is a military reason why the IDF has chosen to go forward now rather than later with an offensive against Gaza. There is also a military reason why Hamas might welcome such an engagement.
An atttritional battle of the kind fought in Lebanon in ’06 would be greatly to the disadvantage of the IDF.
– How much has Hamas accomplished in preparations?
– What are Hamas’s intentions? pl