This is the seventh “Gaza war” Israel has launched since Hamas took over the strip in 2007, the longest lasted only three weeks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still talking up a “protracted campaign” this time, and suggesting this war will soon be both the longest and deadliest of the bunch.
Israeli Army Chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz talked up more escalation of the war today, saying the war will continue to be “intensified” in the days going forward, while other officials spurned the notion of a ceasefire before their “military goals” are realized.
The current death tolls stand at over 1,231 killed in Gaza, overwhelmingly civilians, and 55 from Israel, 52 of them Israeli troops involved in the fighting. Today saw Israel attack yet another Gaza hospital, killing a number of civilians.
Over the weekend, Israeli officials were condemning the Kerry-brokered ceasefire offer, though the US insists it was identical to one Israel accepted 10 days prior. Netanyahu says Israel won’t accept any ceasefire at all now until it has destroyed every single tunnel in the Gaza Strip, which since they don’t know how many there are is a recipe for endless fighting.
That seems to be the idea, as the current war remains popular domestically in Israel, and a number of far-right cabinet members are condemning the notion of negotiating any settlement of the war.
Yet their use of a conscript army leaves Israelis particularly sensitive to military death tolls, and if the war drags on too long, a rising number of troops killed in a war without end could quickly shift polls the other way.