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Hamas fights valiantly

IAF strikes apparently disrupted Hamas’ command-and-control system, and the invading IDF troops encountered no massive resistance. Isolated small groups of Hamas, PIJ, PLFP, PRC, and other militants fight bravely against the vastly superior Jewish enemy. Some behave suicidally, but most engage in sensible defensive battles.

Close to a hundred Hamas and PIJ members were wounded, close to two dozen killed, and more than thirty Israeli soldiers were wounded. Palestinians report up to eighteen Israeli soldiers dead, which IDF denies.
PRC detonated at least one anti-tank C4 mine of the type Hezbollah uses to blow Israeli tanks into pieces.

IDF bulldozers are attempting to clear a no-man’s land several miles deep into Gaza to prevent Kassam fighting, but that won’t help against newer Kassams with longer range and Katyusha rockets.

In the most disturbing move, the government approved mobilization of “tens of thousands” of reservists, which is huge by Israeli standards. The reservists will be trained at various camps for a very short time before the “third stage,” which involves massive area-combing. In the best case scenario, the Israeli government presses Hamas and foreign mediators into a meaningful ceasefire; how such a ceasefire can be better than Lebanon’s is not clear. But there is a possibility that the Cabinet intends to root out Hamas officials and install Fatah in Gaza—at the cost of significant Jewish casualties in guerrilla attacks.

The ground operations’ goals are unclear. Olmert-Barak-Livni refused Ramon and Yishai’s motion to topple Hamas’ government.

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