Monday, December 29, 2008

Ground forces enter Gaza

I believe that the IDF have now sent ground forces into the Gaza strip as the next phase of operation Cast Lead gets underway. Although this has not yet been announced nor have the mainstream media reported it I believe it to be the case. I have come to this conclusion after monitoring several Israeli blogs where family members have received text and emails from soldiers at the front. It does however remain to be seen whether it is a large scale incursion July 06 style or a more delicate incision by special forces.

Israeli tanks assembling at the border with Gaza earlier today

My Early Impressions
I believe that this latest phase in the Israeli Palestinian conflict is political in nature. Many commentators have picked up on this point but I think it is sound reasoning. I have posted regularly on Gubu World about the upcoming February elections in Israel and how hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return the Likud party to power at the expense of the ruling Kadima party. Netantahu is running on a hawkish line, constantly criticising the Livni/Olmert government of being too soft on Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. With six weeks to go until the election it is difficult not to make a connection between the internal power struggle within the Jewish state and the air strikes we are witnessing. If the IDF do inflict a decisive blow against Hamas it will be a massive electoral blow to Likud and for Netanyahu's ambitions to become Israeli Prime Minister for the second time.

Perhaps the current Israeli government's biggest failure in the eyes of its people as Netanyahu constantly reminds the public, was their failure to respond effectively to the Hezbollah challenge in the summer of 2006. However it would appear that that conflict is shaping up very different to this. The July 06 war was stared on Hezbollah's terms and the IDF never really got to grips with it. But the conflict this week was initiated at a timing and in a method of Israel's choosing. Hamas are losing this. This time it appears that it is them who are unprepared so I am predicting at this early stage that the outcome will be very different. I will keep you posted as best I can. As of now the death toll stand at 3 Israelis and 338 Palestinians.

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