Israel is pounding Gaza but still slowing down its ground offensive, here’s why

Can the Jewish state, which has launched operations against the Strip several times in the past, afford to wait?

Incursions, bombings, raids. The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has been pounded by Israel for almost three weekssince the terrible attack on October 7th. But despite the rapid mobilization of forces, with the recall of hundreds of thousands of Israeli reservists, and declarations that Israeli forces are “ready”, to date a ground operation has not yet officially begun. Can Israel, which has launched operations against the Strip several times in the past, afford to wait?

Given the anguish of Israeli public opinion, the Post highlights, it may not be politically sustainable. But the stakes are high. Both in the short and long term. “A failed offensive in Gaza could be too great a blow to Israel’s morale,” Amos Harel wrote in Haaretz.

After October 7, and 1,400 deaths according to Israeli data, there were those who expected that Israel would launch a ground offensive against the Strip almost immediately. In the meantime, calls for a ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid are multiplying. Not to mention the assessments of public opinion in the region, even in countries where only a few weeks ago Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was looking for diplomatic openings.

Israel reports ‘growing’ questions about the “apparent delay”, writes the Post, while from Gaza they denounce the killing of over 7,000 people in Israeli bombings. And “both those who want the start of a ground operation” in the Strip “and those who fear it are looking for clues”. “Thank God there are differences”, Yaakov Amidror, former general and national security advisor to Netanyahu from 2011 to 2013, who still today ‘talks’ with the prime minister, commented to the Post.

At the top of the debate is the question of whether Israel can actually achieve its goals in Gaza through a ground invasion. In the Financial Times, former MI6 chief John Sawers wrote that “Israeli security leaders know that the goal of destroying Hamas is probably out of reach” and that, even if it were within their reach, the point of what comes next is just as dangerous and requires planning, done now.

Israel has hinted that it will be a large operationWith the’objective of definitively defeating Hamas. But the group, the newspaper highlights, seems to have anticipated the possibility of a ground offensive before the attack on October 7, when at least 224 people were taken hostage (according to the latest data provided this morning by Israeli forces). And the Gaza Strip tunnels represent a major defense advantage (of Hamas) in the context of ‘urban warfare’ likely to be seen in an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza.

Israel, the Post highlights, has tried in the past to destroy the tunnel networks of the ‘underground dimension’ of Gaza, it has new technologies, but the presence of hostages complicates the picture. It makes “Israel’s most destructive methods difficult to accept.” The same goes for the presence of Palestinian civilians in combat zones.

AND Compared to the past, Iran and its ‘proxies’ represent a much more powerful threat to the country. The worst-case scenario is a large regional conflict. The White House has defined plans for transfers from the area, while according to the Wall Street Journal the US has pushed for a postponement of a ground operation in order to move more assets to the region to defend US forces.