As I scour the web to find one that makes sense, this piece by Martin Kramer pops up. It's well worth reading, because it brings the West Bank more fully into the equation. The goal, according to Kramer, is to destroy as much of Hamas as possible, and get a ceasefire without any lifting of the blockade. The aim is to bolster the PA in the West Bank by opening up the border and rewarding coexistence with engagement - while at the same time pounding the Gazans into the dust. As a way to enforce the cease-fire, Israel might also want to use PA officials and military to go into Gaza. The trouble is: I'm not sure who would replace Hamas in "governing" Gaza. If it were the PA, there could be a brutal civil war in which the potential for more terror - as well as more human devastation - is real; and the threat to Irsrael could even worsen. Kramer himself acknowledges this:
What could go wrong with this scenario? A lot. Hamas assumes (probably correctly) that its Palestinian opponents fed Israel with much of the intelligence it needed to wage precision warfare against Hamas. There is likely to be a vicious settling of scores as soon as a cease-fire is in place, if not before, and which could approximate a civil war. This could open space for small groups like Islamic Jihad and other gangs, which could shoot off rockets at their own initiative (or that of Iran). If something can go wrong in Gaza, there is a good chance it will.
So Israel will have killed many innocents, wounded itself in international opinion, lost soldiers and treasure ... to create an even more unstable and beleaguered Gaza. Maybe they hope to cede Gaza to Egypt; or maybe this is the beginning of a war Israel wants with Iran sooner than later. Or maybe it's just another blind military leap whose full consequences were not fully thought through. Imagine that.
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