The Israeli army says it has largely completed its mission against the most dangerous Hamas terror tunnels, and is now waiting to hear from the government if it should push deeper into Gaza to deal Hamas a debilitating blow, or if the war is over.
Israel Today staff that visited the Gaza front a couple days ago confirmed that a large number of Israeli troops were sitting around with little to do, uncertain of what their next orders would be.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Israeli cabinet ordered a temporary unilateral ceasefire while it discussed the next steps in Operation Protective Edge.
One the one side, Israel has US President Barack Obama and the UN demanding it implement an immediate, unconditional end to the war in hopes that Hamas would follow suit.
Nearly every Israeli government minister is opposed to acquiescing to Obama’s demand since it basically legitimizes Hamas and leaves the group in a position to start another war a couple years down the road. Recent opinion polls show that 90 percent of the Israeli public agrees, and wants the war to continue until Hamas is incapacitated as a fighting force.
But even though most of the government is in agreement over rebuffing Obama, the various ministers have different ideas regarding Israel’s ultimate goals in the war.
Some believe that Israel simply cannot militarily topple Hamas, as it is too deeply entrenched in Gaza society, and that attempting to do so would cost the lives of far too many Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. According to this group, Israel should destroy the terror tunnels and remain in position to respond to further rocket fire until Hamas stops attacking southern Israel.
Other ministers believe Israel has never had a better opportunity to really cut the head off the snake, and want the IDF to push further into Gaza and either capture or assassinate the Hamas leadership.
The army itself has presented the cabinet with various options, including the full reconquering of Gaza, and hopes the nation’s political leadership will soon make a decision.
Meanwhile, Hamas is preparing to expand its war against Israel, and has asked Lebanon’s Hezbollah to open up a second front against the Jewish state.