Israeli army warplanes attacked the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, threatening a three-day ceasefire. This followed reports that a Palestinian fire balloon landed on a kindergarten, causing no casualties.
The Israeli Army has been told to prepare for a “large-scale military operation” against the Gaza Strip, and the military has recently been conducting drills simulating a full-scale military conquest of the entire strip.
Hamas is scrambling to try to stop the balloon and kite flying from their side of the border, but an invasion is expected in fairly short order if they are anything short of 100% successful. The Israeli military doesn’t seem to be immediately on board for such a war, however.
Senior Israeli officers are pushing the government to try something other than an invasion first, suggesting that they might be able to “pressure” Gaza’s civilians in an attempt to force Hamas to avoid the war.
The military sees the closing of the lone border crossing as pressuring the civilians, and wants the government to give it time. After months of public protests against the Israeli blockade, one would think Israel would not overestimate the ability of Gazans to influence policy.
Still, it is noteworthy that the Israeli military is trying to delay an invasion at all. Historically, invasions of the Gaza Strip have been frequent, and have faced little public resistance from the military leadership.