Israel initiated ground operations in Gaza yesterday following Hamas violation of a cease-fire proposal from Egypt. The IDF dropped leaflets in Gaza warning citizens to evacuate, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the ground offensive may expand. In the first hours of ground operations, at least 20 Palestinians and 1 Israeli soldier have been killed. The Israeli military says it has uncovered eight tunnel access point in Gaza so far and has fired on 150 sites in the coastal territory. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have also continued, with the Gazan death toll mounting. Sirens warning of rockets are sounding in Southern Israel, which is under fire from Hamas missiles; as far north at Tel Aviv, the Israeli Home Front Command banned large gatherings asa safety precaution.
Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal leads the battle against Israel from a base in Qatar, and says Israel’s ground operations are “bound to fail.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas argues that the Israeli ground incursion will only “lead to more bloodshed,” and is expected to continue cease-fire negotiations today in Turkey today.
How will fighting in Gaza progress? What are the potential outcomes of Israel’s ground operations? How might the U.S. and U.N. become involved as the situation develops?
Robert Danin, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations