So why did Netanyahu decide to launch the recent ground operation in Gaza?
There are numerous reasons. However in my opinion, one of the major reasons is a thwarted terror attack by Hamas which took place last Thursday.
Hamas had successfully dug a tunnel right into Israel, without Israel finding out about it. Had the militants not been discovered upon leaving the tunnel, the residents of the adjacent Kibbutz Sufa could have been massacred.
After that attack, most probably the question which arose in the Israeli government was: “how many other tunnels has Hamas dug into Israel, which we don’t know about? Can we risk doing nothing about it?”.
The answer seems to have been a resounding no.
The next question is: will the current operation bring security to Israeli citizens?
In the short-term, by destroying the tunnels, the answer will most probably be yes.
In the long-term, the answer is no.
The reason being that when it comes to dealing with Palestinians, Netanyahu is all about tactics, not strategy.
Fighting Hamas is a tactic.
If Netanyahu had an actual strategy to address Israel’s security challenges, he would have taken the negotiations with the PLO seriously. Instead he drove them away from the table by building more settlements.
And as long as Israel just deals with tactics without an overall strategy, the Israeli public will keep finding itself in a cycle of violence.
So if the status quo continues, once the current operation is over, set your countdown timer for the next war in Gaza.