Israel Launches Ground Offensive in Gaza
Netanyahu orders in his troops after 10 days of bombing
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2014 2:58 PM CDT
Israeli soldiers ride near the Israel-Gaza Border, Thursday.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – Optimists hoped today's humanitarian cease-fire might lead to a longer peace in Israel and Gaza, but that's not the case by a long shot. In fact, Israel just raised the stakes considerably by launching a ground offensive into Gaza, reports the BBC. A military statement said the goal was “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror," reports the New York Times. Troops were expected to focus on so-called "terror tunnels" used to infiltrate the country.

It's not clear whether the ground offensive will be a quick strike or a longer one with the goal of taking control of Gaza. An Israeli defense official who speculated yesterday about such a move said that a takeover of Gaza wouldn't be too much of a challenge, but that any such mission would have to last "many months" in order to fully secure the area. Today's development comes after 10 days of back-and-forth bombing, notes CNN.

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Jul 18, 2014 8:24 AM CDT
Very soon after seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas and its allies began escalating rocket fire against the Jewish state. Given the severity of the Israeli reprisals, that wouldn't seem very good for business. But, in fact, it is. Over the past seven years, Hamas’ leadership has pulled in outrageous sums of money thanks to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Most of the profits were the result of exorbitant taxes on the goods smuggled from Egypt in tunnels running under the Gaza border, or grossly overcharging for subsidized Egyptian fuel. Similarly, Hamas profits are threatened by the enormous quantities of humanitarian aid and other goods that Israel and the international community pump into Gaza every month, which is why numerous reports suggest Hamas blocks that aid from ever reaching local residents. At the same time, Hamas leaders have proved wildly successful fund-raisers in their travels abroad. And, since Hamas’ raison d’etre isthe destruction of Israel, it would be kind of hard to solicit financial backing without lobbing a few missiles at the Jews every once in a while. So, where does all this money go? In recent media interviews, Professor Ahmed Karima of Al-Azhar University in Egypt noted that in recent years Hamas has blossomed into amovement of millionaires. According to Karima, Hamas can boast no fewerthan 1,200 millionaires among its leadership and mid-level officials. That assertion was backed up by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who in 2012 estimated the number of Gaza millionaires to be 800. In particular, overall Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has amassed a fortune of $2.6 billion, the Jordanian media reported.All of this is happening as many Gazans wallow in poverty and struggle with a 40 percent unemployment rate.
Chris Farley
Jul 18, 2014 7:06 AM CDT
Like groundhog day.
Jul 17, 2014 9:41 PM CDT
The only way this will ever end is if Israel, or some other nation, take over and assimilate Palestine as their own country. That's it.... that's the only way this will end. It should be the UK or the USA... and the UN should let it happen. This is mostly the fault of the UK, USA and UN anyway. I say it's mostly their fault cause they knew better. So, take responsibility, take Palestine as your own, give it your laws and full representation into your government. Watch as civility slowly but surely swallows it. And it will then be stable. No occupation, full on invasion and assimilation.