So far no ground offensive has been launched, but over 30,000 Israeli reserves have been called up and are massing at the border. In 2008-9, the Israeli ground offensive resulted in more than 1000 Palestinian deaths and 13 Israeli ones. In 2012, there was no ground offensive but airstikes killed 100 Palestinians ( 6 Israelis died). And now this.
The reason given by Netanyahu was the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers (June 12) and the firing of rockets ( after hundreds of arrests, humialiating treatments, beatings by border guards and the killing of a Palestinian teenager (six Israelis fro an extremist group have been arrested) , allegedly by Hamas, though it could have been a break away group, the Islamic Jihad. The Israeli government knew the three boys were dead within hours of their kidnapping, yet the public was not told and Netanyahu went on a air to rouse the public. The Israeli intelligence knew the identities of the kidnappers by June 13, but this information was also kept secret, while Netanyahu continued to rant and rave and threaten. It was evident that Netanyahu wanted an excuse to attack Hamas, even though it it was clear that they had nothing to do with the kidnapping and they said so.
Why would Hamas commit an act of terrorism that would jeopardise the just completed coalition agreement with Fatah? Hamas has been severely weakened by the previous Israeli attacks. They had been forced to leave Syria, because of their support for anti Assad rebels. They had lost their $24 million a month funding from Iran for this . The Saudis had also put pressure on the Qataris to stop funding them and the election of el Sisi in Egypt has seen the supply routes to Gaza limited. They were in dire straits and that is why they turmed to Fatah, which under Abbas had pursued a policy of non-violence, cooperation and co-existence and were rewarded with $400 million aid yearly from the USA and the EU had given them $3.4 billion between 2008-2011. Cash -strapped, Hamas had no reason to start a war with Israel.
Why did Netanyahu hold back evidence from the Israelis? Obviously, he wanted to use it to rouse the population and that he did, and the support to launch an attack grew with each passing day. He was also concerned by the criticism from Lieberman, who threatened to leave the coalition government over Nertanyahu's handling of Gaza. He was concerned about losing the support of the right wing, the nationalists ( Bennett) and the extremist settlers and he was concernerd about the Fatah/Hamas coalition. Thus his decision to go to war. He has always played the "security" card and he has always been more interested in staying in power. That is why he has, time and again sabotaged the peace process ( don't forget his joy at the assissination of Rabin, who had negotiated Oslo with Arafat). Hamas can be weakened but it cannot be defeated. It is an idea that has taken root firmly in the soil of occupation, continued daily humiliation and degradation.
No country can maintain military control over another people indefinitely. To do so is wrong and immoral and it is a drain on human dignity and economic resources. It creates resentment, hatred and instability. It dehumanises the occupier and the occupied. This dance of futility must end.
July, 28,...Israeli police have confirmed that Hamas did not kidnap the three, but that it was done by a "lone" cell. Netanyahu lied and used the outrage to launch this war. On July 15, a deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moishe Feiglin, wrote an op-ed titled "My Outline for a Solution in Gaza.....Clear and Concise steps toward achieving Quiet in Gaza" in Arutz Sheva calling for the "ethnic cleansing" of Gaza. The seven steps are ...Ultimum; Attack; Defense; CONQUER....after the IDF completes the "softening" of the targets with firepower, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza with all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other consideration; ELIMINATION......the General Security Service and the IDF will thoroughly ELIMINATE all armed enemies from Gaza. T he enemy population that is innocent of wrongdoing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave; SOVEREIGNTY.....Gaza is part of our land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended to reach the entire length of Gaza. This is the plan by no other than a deputy Speaker of the Knesset...cleanse Gaza of the Palestinians and use it to ease the housing crisis in Israel
. Nationalism; tribalism; expansionism; manifest destiny and chauvinism. You can read the other details in the article written by Kate Halper in Raw Story.
One more quote from Netanyahu.... no relinquishing of security control of the territory west of the Jordan river; and the Dahiya Doctrine, to treat villages as military bases and destroy them. Israel is well on its way to achieve this goal of ethnic cleansing, while the world looks on in 'conspirational silence".