These are the arguments that are currently being discussed in the Israeli public domain against any large-scale Israeli military operation in Gaza:
1. The Lebanon trauma: Fear of an entanglement. One knows how operations of that sort begin, but one doesn’t always know how they end.
2. High casualty figures: Hamas is well prepared. According to every scenario, a major incursion into the Gaza Strip will result in numerous Israeli military and civilian casualties.
3. International Pressure: Israel knows that the world will not sit idly by in the event of a major operation in Gaza, certainly not after the first mishap in which children are killed.
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4. Israeli POW Gilad Shalit: Security officials are worried that Shalit’s captors might bring harm to him in the event of an IDF invasion of Gaza.
5. Ineffectiveness: What will happen after the major operation is over? Firing Kassam rockets is simple and it is almost impossible to prevent it.
These are the arguments currently being discussed in the Israeli public domain in favor of a large-scale operation in Gaza:
1. Suffering Israeli population: How much longer can the residents ofâ€¨Sderot and other Gaza periphery communities be expected to live underâ€¨the threat of Kassam rocket and mortar shell fire?
2. Israeli deterrence: Hamas has violated the truce agreement, has beenâ€¨firing Kassam rockets with impunity, while the IDF is perceived as anâ€¨army that is afraid to act.
3. Future casualties: We needn’t wait until a Kassam rocket actuallyâ€¨kills a lot of people. The decision to act can be made now.
4. The U.S. administration: Israel would do well were it to begin an operation while President Bush is still in office rather than pose a challenge to Barack Obama, who will assume office on Jan. 20.
5. The right to sovereignty: There probably isn’t a country in the worldâ€¨that would permit a terror organization to fire rockets into itsâ€¨sovereign territory. â€¨â€¨
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com.