Any major ground operation in Gaza would lead to widespread international condemnation. This is wrong and unfair, but it is also true.
There is also, however, another factor which could stop such an operation: Iran’s nuclear programme.
Finally, the world is taking the issue seriously. Crippling sanctions are hurting the economy and destabilising Iran’s currency. And because of its support for the Syrian regime, Iran is now more hated than Israel in some parts of the Sunni Arab world. So Iran needs a spoiler to undermine the West’s ability to strengthen sanctions and remind the Arab street to hate Israel.
If the IDF takes wider action, it would be bad for Hamas. But it would be good for Iran. And anything good for Iran is bad for Israel’s strategic position. That is the trap for Israel.
Interestingly, Hamas military leaders were seen as especially close to Iran. It was they, rather than the Hamas government, who started firing rockets again. And now they are gone.
Arieh Kovler is a Jerusalem-based writer