The Israeli military has prepared plans for a full-scale invasion of the occupied Gaza Strip, in the event of a serious escalation in the south, according to a report by Israeli news site Ynet.
Veteran correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai, citing unnamed Israeli military officials, wrote that the army "is already considering alternatives to the Hamas government", should the latter not cooperate in efforts to establish an economic-security "arrangement" in Gaza agreeable to the Israelis.
"There is a feeling in the [Israeli army's] Southern Command that, this time, the IDF will be able to create a considerable change in the situation if it is required to launch a major campaign in Gaza," wrote Ben-Yishai.
"The offensive missions inside the Strip will be carried out from now on by the IDF's tip of the spear storming divisions, which—according to the plan—will enter Gaza and dissect it in two, and even occupy significant parts of it," Ben-Yishai continued.
"The plan is based on three things: A strong protection of the western Negev and the Israeli home front, a systemic blow of fire in full force from the very first moment, and a quick broad manoeuvre into the Strip to dissect it and conquer parts of it."
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According to the defence expert, the Israeli army's goal "will be to prevent Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from gaining psychological achievements and getting them to request a ceasefire as soon as possible following the beginning of the fighting."
Israel will also reportedly seek to prevent the involvement of a third-party mediator by "reach[ing] a military victory in the next war that will be so decisive and unequivocal that it will allow Israel to dictate the terms for the end of the fighting to Hamas and to the Palestinian factions."