Invading the Gaza Strip may boost Israel's leverage, shoring up alliances and isolating Iran—but that's optimistic, writes Steven Lee Myers in the New York Times. President Mahmoud Abbas could be the one isolated—from his own people—as surviving Hamas leaders seethe and militants plot revenge across the Arab world. Even friendly Arab nations may back away from Israel as people rage over images of destruction.
“There are two ways to deal with Hamas,” said an independent Palestinian legislator. “Either confront them, which makes them more extreme, or accept them in the political process." But Israel appears better prepared than in 1982, when it invaded Lebanon, striking more surgically and keeping civilian deaths down to win the propaganda war. One clear winner is Barack Obama, who will tackle the issue as president once emotions have cooled off.