Kassam rockets continue hitting targets in Israel creatng a large scale morale crisis more than any military or economic problem. Israel cabinet meetings have been filled with angry demands for action. Some wish to continue the present policy of killing Hamas leaders in hope the movement would be left rudderless and confused. According to Saleh Al-naami, writing in Al-Ahram, “leaks to the press suggest that Israel will not stage an invasion of Gaza, at least not in the coming days.” However, the Israel Defense Force has been planning for a massive invasion of Gaza that entails large scale civilian casualties and a potential public relations nightmare. The primary reason for any such invasion would be to topple Hamas, but what comes afterward is the question?
Hamas leader Ahmed Youssef believes the current Israel goal is creation of chaos in Gaza which might serve as a pretext for an armed invasion to restore law and order. It is apparent says, Professor Walid Al-Mudallal, that “the type of limited operations the Isael occupation army waged last year actually strengthened Hamas.” Which options are now available for Israel. Some Arab analysts believe Israel might welcome the annexation by Egypt of Gaza which would get rid of a headache. Others even would support Jordan annexation of the West Bank which would restore conditions to the pre-1967 border.
It is doubtful that Egypt would assume control over Gaza without the active support of Hamas and that appears difficult. In the meantime, the Israel-Bush policy of not talking with Hamas has yet to produce concrete results of peace. Perhaps, the options Israel refuses to consider is to enter into negotiations with Hamas without any preconditions.