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IDF launches ground assault

The IDF ground offensive into Gaza is more reminiscent of Jenin than Grozny.

If Israel wanted to do a Grozny (the city that was essentially leveled and turned into a ghost town by Russian bombing and artillery fire in the war against the Chechens), it could manage this fairly easily. After all, Gaza is a relatively small, compact, sealed-off strip of land. Of course this would be accomplished at the cost of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilian casualties, but it would likely put an end to the rocket attacks on southern Israel. However for the vast majority of Israelis this is morally unacceptable.

By contrast in 2002, as part of its operation against Palestinian fighters in the West Bank, Israel did not launch a massive and indiscriminate air assault. Instead it sent troops into Jenin. The result was between 50 and 60 Palestinian deaths, almost all of them fighters (not the massacre of 500 originally reported and eagerly believed by so many). But the Jenin operation also cost the lives of 23 Israeli soldiers.

That is to say, Israel sacrificed the lives of its own sons to avoid massive casualties among Palestinian non-combatants.

That’s the aim of the ground assault: to destroy and secure Hamas positions that could not be struck from the air without a high risk of civilian casualties, even if it endangers the lives and safety of Israeli soldiers.