But after four days of airstrikes against the symbols of Hamas power, there are few targets left beyond buildings evacuated days ago. On Tuesday, the biggest bomb load yet struck an empty Hamas government complex, as well as security installations and the home of a top militant commander.
Three Palestinians were reported killed Tuesday, compared to dozens in previous days. Since the offensive began Saturday, 368 Palestinians have been killed. More than 1,700 have been hurt, according to Gaza health officials.
Palestinian militants, meanwhile, kept up their rocket assaults on Israeli border communities, despite relentless Israeli air attacks against Gaza’s Hamas rulers and unwelcome word from Egypt that it would not bail them out by ending its own blockade of Gaza crossings.
The question hanging over the Israeli operation is how it can halt rocket fire. Israel has never found a military solution to the barrage of missiles militants have fired into southern Israel.
Beyond delivering Hamas a deep blow and protecting border communities, the assault’s broader objectives remained cloudy. Israeli President Shimon Peres acknowledged the challenge, saying the operation was unavoidable but more difficult than many people anticipated." Yahoo News
"More difficult than many people anticipated." Say what? More difficult than anticipated by IDF General Staff Intelligence? If that is so, then things have really gone to hell in a hand basket in the Qirya. You used to do better work. Maybe it is the politicians who have imposed this "goat rope" on the IDF. Maybe.
Remember Lebanon in ’06. We all really know how well that went for the IDF (irony alert). In the Lebanon case the air power crowd succeeded in persuading the Israeli government that the Lebanese (in general) could be intimidated into accommodating the Likud/neocon/Bush program for Lebanon. That failed in spite of devastating air attacks on civilian infrastructure targets the length and breath of the country. Then, there was a half hearted air/ground effort to destroy Hizbullah’s forward positions and rocket firing capability. That proved impossible to do at any price that Israel was willing to pay. The net result was that Hizbullah became an exemplar for every Muslim enemy of Israel, an example of how the IDF can be defeated by brave and well prepared men. Politically, the ultimate result of ’06 was to make Hizbullah, and their Christian allies under General Aoun, the arbiters of events in Lebanon.
We have now seen the Israelis run through their target list in Gaza. Hamas is still firing at Ashkalon and Beersheba. One wonders just who has who by the testicles in this situation. If the Israelis back away with some sort of unilateral ceasefire, then the ’06 judgment of the Muslims on them will be confirmed in many minds. Thus far there are not enough ground troops "showing" in what the Israelis have brought to Gaza. These deployments are a mere threat. They will have to call forward many more units before the threat of a major ground operation becomes credible.
A major ground operation in Gaza may cause Hizbullah to resume hostilities from north of the Litani. This should be considered as a risk inherent in a ground operation in Gaza.
Muslim militiamen of the Hizbullah, Hamas, Jeish al-Mahdi, etc. varieties have a major advantage in fighting the Israelis. These Muslim fighters all believe in an afterlife in which they will be rewarded for their shihada, their testimony, their martyrdom in what they believe to be the path of God. If you do not think that they believe that, then you are truly clueless. There are not many Israeli Jewish soldiers who think the same thing. Some, but not many. This makes for a wildly disparate attitude towards casualties. In Lebanon the Hizbullahis wore body armor and dug in well. They did that because these men were valuable assets, not because they were not willing to "be all they could be."
"More difficult than many people anticipated." Really? Were Feith and Wolfowitz involved in the planning? pl