Why Israel is wary of getting into another Gaza war
Despite pledges by Israel and Hamas to restore calm amid the worst violence since the 2009 Gaza war, Israeli aircraft fired on the Gaza Strip as militants launched rockets within 16 miles of to Tel Aviv.
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"I don’t think Israel is isolated, but a war could speed up the process of isolation," says Gershon Baskin, the codirector of the Jerusalem-based Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information. "The world won’t be so happy of another Cast Lead going on in Gaza," he said referring to the operation nickname of the Gaza War.Skip to next paragraph
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Israel is also facing increasing pressure from the international community to advance the peace process and stave off a diplomatic confrontation over Palestinian efforts to seek international recognition of a state on the 1967 borders.
"There is a need and an opportunity for bold action to move toward a two-state solution," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a press conference today in Tel Aviv with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
On the Palestinian side, Hamas has also released statements suggesting it was interested in ending nearly a week of escalation. Late Wednesday, Hamas released a statement pledging "to restore calm" in Gaza Strip.
Palestinians believe that Hamas militants instigated the flare-up over the weekend to undermine prospects for an upcoming visit to Gaza by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss a unified Palestinian government with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah. That said, Hamas must be wary of still fresh public memory of the three-week war in which some 1,400 Gazans were killed, including hundreds of noncombatants. At least 10 Palestinians have died in the past six days of fighting.
Though Palestinians blame Israel for the civilian deaths, the war exposed Hamas as outmatched by the Israeli army and unable to defend Gaza. For the past two years, Hamas has enforced an unwritten cease-fire on other militant groups as Gazans recovered. And even though the group has been stockpiling weapons, according to Israel, Gazans’ are still scarred by the last round.