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Israeli Operation Cast Lead-2 looming?

Israeli Defense Forces have confirmed they are preparing a possible large-scale attack on Gaza. The development has parallels with the Israeli Operation Cast Lead, which claimed about 1,400 Palestinian lives back in 2008, named a massacre by Gazans.

"We are preparing and in fact are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence, if we are called on to restore full quiet to the communities [in the south]," one of the IDF’s military commanders Brigade General Tal Hermoni was quoted by Haaretz newspaper as saying. The head of the division’s South Brigade added, however, that he would not equate the possible campaign to Operation Cast Lead just yet. “The mild response [to Tuesday's targeted killings] is evidence that they do not want to feel the IDF's fists," Tal Hermoni added. According to Haaretz, the next Gaza operation will be shorter than in 2008, but will employ much more firepower. The IDF explained that Hamas and other groups it considers terrorists now have more weapons than they had back in 2008. Since then the groups are said to be extensively using the Kornet anti-tank missiles against the Israeli tanks and rockets fired directly at IDF troops. The situation on the Israeli-Gaza border has been gradually worsening since August this year. In the latest development which occurred on Thursday morning, Palestinians fired a rocket into southern Israel in reply to the Israeli aerial attacks on Gaza, Al Arabiya television reports. The rocket reportedly caused neither casualties nor damage. The development follows the exchange of violence which has marked the week. At least four Palestinian rockets hit Israel on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Israel’s targeted offensive at Gaza killed three and wounded at least nine people.Gideon Levy, a columnist with the Haaretz newspaper, told RT that the current Israeli government has no serious intention of continuing dialogue with the Palestinians.“The Palestinian Authority has just launched another proposal to get back to the negotiation table. They even gave up the precondition of freezing the settlements, which is a minimum condition, and they had suggested just a symbolic release of 100 Palestinian prisoners to get back to the negotiation table. And what did Israel say? ‘No!’” Gideon Levy explained.

Moreover, Professor Haidar Eid from Gaza University told RT the developing crisis stems from both the present nature of the Israeli leadership and the swift series of regional changes which caught Tel Aviv off guard.  “I think now what is happening is that Israel has a different government, a government that is considered by so many analysts to be the most fascist government in the history of Israel.We are talking about Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu, who are intending on the complete eradication and destruction of the Gaza Strip. So yes, we are bracing ourselves for worse times to come.”“But we also need to remember that there is a new Arab World right now.Hosni Mubarak, who was considered a great asset to the state of Israel, is out.There are some changes happening right now in Syria.Gaddafi is out, the Yemini president is out, and therefore, we are witnessing a new era in the Arab world. I think that Israel is confused and in a dilemma – whether to launch a new genocidal war against the Palestinians of Gaza regardless of the reaction of the new Arab world, or just to stay and wait and test the waters of the Arab world without launching a massive war against Gaza.”

However, Ramallah-based journalist Joseph Dana told RT that while Israel might have few external deterrents from launching another assault on Gaza, the Israeli people themselves are unlikely to support it.“Israel was able to assault Gaza three years ago with very little actual consequence. The international community repeatedly condemned the actions, but took no concrete action. So from the international perspective, I don’t think there are significant roadblocks to a fresh assault on Gaza by the Israeli army. However, I think that Netanyahu would lose his popularity that he has worked so hard to achieve inside of the Israeli political spectrum with a fresh assault on Gaza."