Toppling Hamas might not be possible without an occupation.
In the 18 years since withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, Israel has invaded it, in force, twice. The first occasion was Operation Cast Lead, which involved a 15-day ground invasion in January 2009. The second was Operation Protective Edge in 2014, in which the Israel Defence Forces (idf) spent 19 days on the ground. A third ground invasion, in response to the massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza, is imminent. It looks likely to be larger, longer and more violent than anything that came before.
Air strikes and artillery, including missiles launched from land and sea, are already pounding Gaza. This is taking place on a massive scale and with less deliberation and advance warning than in previous campaigns. Israeli officials say that the idf is no longer applying its policy of “roof knocks”, whereby the air force would give warning of air strikes by first launching a harmless round on the targeted building. At least 900 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have so far been killed, according to the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza.
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