Israeli ground troops continued to push deeper into the Gaza Strip today as forces shelled the northern part of the tiny Palestinian enclave, and officials continued to speak of further escalation in the days to come.
A shell is falling on Beit Lahiya every 30 seconds, according to reports, and over 50,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, a number which would be much higher if there was some safer part of Gaza to which people could realistically flee.
The death toll continues to mount, with 435 now reported dead. Two Israeli soldiers were also killed by Hamas fighters who reportedly got under the border fence. A rocket also hit an Israeli Bedouin’s home, killing him and wounding four family members.
The toll will continue to mount throughout the invasion, which seems at this point to be totally open-ended, with officials conceding there is no real exit strategy and any number of new war goals might conceivably be added in the days and weeks to come.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his latest address, insisted Israel only chose the invasion “after we had exhausted the other possibilities,” suggesting very little planning has been involved in working out how it will unfold, and the nation simply invaded for lack of any better ideas.
Some are saying the war could last months, which would be not only a humanitarian catastrophe for Gazans, but an unusually long invasion given Israel’s recent history of brief wars with high death tolls and internationally imposed ceasefire. The longest of Israel’s 7 conflicts with Gaza in the past 7+ years so far lasted only 22 days, and it is hard to imagine that they won’t simply tire themselves out in bombarding Gaza long before weeks turns into months.