Israel reopened the border crossings into Gaza in a last minute attempt by its government to prevent the escalation of violence caused by constant rocket attacks from Hamas forces in the strip. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he authorized the opening of the crossings for “essential humanitarian supplies” in response to requests from the international community. It is reported about 90 trucks loaded with grain, fuel, and other goods have entered Gaza. On Wednesday, Hamas fired about 80 rockets into Israel as the so-called “truce” between its forces and Israel ended earlier this week. Prime Minister Olmert made clear this was a last minutes attempt to avoid war and if Hamas continued with its bombing it risked the prospect of an Israel invasion of the area and the death of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians.
Israel may decide on a step-by-step escalation of use of its armed forces in Gaza in order to avoid a major operation. Hamas is beguiled by the fight put up in Lebanon by Hizbullah and believes it can perform a similar success in Gaza. Hizbullah had mountains in which to hide and use in defending themselves against the Israel armed forces. Gaza is flat and open to a tank attack. Hopefully, calmer minds in Hamas will lead to discussions rather than to rockets.