Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will do his utmost to avoid another war in the Gaza Strip”, according to Israeli media reports, citing off the record briefings by political sources.
Netanyahu’s reluctance, according to the reports, stems from a number of factors that, for now, outweigh “a certain political price” he is paying “for holding off on sending the army into the Strip on an extensive ground operation”.
One such factor is Netanyahu’s awareness that “even if Israel were to ultimately retake the Strip, there is no one to give the keys to” – instead, “Israel would very likely get stuck managing the day-to-day lives of two million hostile Gazans”, with Hamas and other Palestinian factions able to “wear down the army and inflict casualties for months, if not years, to come”.
In addition, analysts suggest, “Netanyahu is pleased with the breakthrough he achieved last week with his visit to Oman”, and “those in his close circle believe more such opportunities in the Gulf states will come up soon”. This is another incentive to avoid a situation whereby “Al Jazeera is airing nonstop images of Palestinian children killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza”.
In “another interesting change in the cabinet’s thinking”, both “supporters of a more extensive [military] operation and those who call it a last resort have made a point of stating that they are talking about an operation waged from a distance, without a real ground incursion”, because of “the public’s aversion to possible military losses”.