By Daniella Peled
December 31, 2008
International leaders may be issuing calls for an immediate ceasefire, but Hamas leaders may be hoping for a rather different outcome.
They have been hugely damaged by Israel’s surprise attack and massive bombing campaign. Communications lie in tatters, Israel has reportedly inflicted huge damage on their local operational structure and an estimated 50 per cent of rocket silos have been destroyed.
The only way Hamas can now inflict any serious retaliatory damage is if the IDF decides to embark on a ground invasion.
Rocket fire can terrify Israeli communities but can hardly be viewed as a resounding military success. If Israeli troops move in, exposing themselves to guerrilla attacks, the Palestinian armed groups will finally have the opportunity to inflict serious injury and redeem themselves in some way from their humiliation of the last few days.
Israel will have to make a decision soon. While the international response has been subdued and the Palestinians cannot rely on diplomatic intervention to end the crisis, there are only so many targets that Israel can destroy from the air. And the longer this goes on, the more likelihood of a tragedy on a scale which Jerusalem will just not be able to justify.
But Israel will not accept a ceasefire unless it feels military goals have been achieved – and an unsustainable truce will solve nothing. Yet a successful military operation is not just one that begins with a daring surprise attack and achieves a high body count, but one which has a viable ending built into it too.