The Jerusalem Post reports today that Israel’s military has ordered its Southern Command to prepare for a “large scale” invasion of the Gaza Strip, likely to begin within the next few months.
The revelation is hardly a surprise, as Israeli Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz has repeatedly pressed for an invasion of the Gaza Strip over the past few months, while trumpeting the late 2008 invasion as a “great success.”
Officials today indicated that the next invasion would be very much on the same model as 2008, which saw massive Palestinian civilian casualties and destruction of considerable civilian infrastructure, much of which remains unrepaired as an Israeli blockade has prevented construction materials from being imported.
Israeli officials cited “increased weaponry” in the Gaza Strip as the reason for the upcoming invasion, particularly anti-tank weapons. Other than getting some of their tanks blown up, it isn’t clear why they consider this a good reason to invade, as weapons have been flooding much of the region since the Libyan regime fell and their weapons warehouses were looted.
The exact timing of the invasion will also be tricky, as Israel will of course rely on the US to run interference in the UN when the ugliest aspects of the war begin to trickle out. The last invasion came after the 2008 US Presidential election but was virtually wrapped up before President Obama took office. It may be that Israel will try a similar strategy of starting the war after the vote in an effort to keep it from being a political issue in the US.