The Jerusalem Post published an analytical article written by Yona Jeremy Pope entitled Why has the ground invasion of Gaza been delayed since Friday?
The article says that the matter seemed crystal clear on Thursday, that the Israeli army’s counter-invasion of Gaza would begin either Friday or Saturday.
The Israeli army also gave certain deadlines for the Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza, with these deadlines ending by midday on Friday.
The drums of war began beating early on Sunday and Monday, and the Air Force paved the way with days of devastating bombing, however, we have now reached Tuesday, and all signs point to an invasion being far away, not yet imminent.
So, what changed?
There appear to be several factors causing the delay.
One of them is what sources told the Jerusalem Post newspaper, that one of the factors is the growing concern that Hezbollah is waiting for the moment when most of the Israeli army’s ground forces are ready to advance on Gaza to open a full front with the Israeli army in the north.
The fact that Hezbollah hasn’t participated since the beginning of the war on Saturday morning and has kept its attacks on Israel at a fairly low threshold doesn’t prove that it has been deterred, according to the writer, but rather is part of an elaborate war trick to lure Israel and give the Israeli army a false sense of security, similar to what Hamas achieved in the south.
This point of view, won’t prevent the Israeli army from invading Gaza, but it may have delayed the invasion to better verify signals regarding Hezbollah’s intentions, as well as strengthening northern forces in anticipation of the worst.
As for the other factor, there is also a deep recognition within the IDF and at the political level, that the IDF hasn’t fought a war like this in decades, and that rushing to intervene without preparation, just to quickly satisfy the thirst for revenge, could be a big mistake.
A good example of this view is the ground invasion in the Second Lebanon War of 2006, which was a complete mess, although air power was the successful part.
Achieving a strategic surprise will be impossible given that Hamas started this war, and since the Israeli army also wants to achieve a tactical surprise against Hamas, the matter requires planning.
There are several other factors for the delay, which could include US pressure to avoid civilian casualties, internal concerns about Israeli hostages in Gaza, and giving more time for the Palestinians to evacuate.
The great global support that Israel has received, the moment the casualty numbers in Gaza swell, which is likely to happen when the invasion begins, there will be strong pressure from the United States and the world to stop it.
The Jerusalem Post also confirmed, citing numerous sources, that it hasn’t yet been decided what will happen to Gaza after the Israeli army overthrows Hamas rule.
The article concludes by saying that only after the war will we know whether this extra time was spent wisely in formulating an invasion and post-invasion plan, to be more intelligent and effective, or whether it was a waste of time.