Analysis by Mel Frykberg
"RAMALLAH, Jan 19, 2010 (IPS) - According to several prominent Palestinians and Israelis another major Israeli military assault on Gaza, even harsher than last year’s Operation Cast Lead, is imminent. But will this change anything and have the underlying causes behind the previous bloody war been addressed?.....
"The countdown to the Second Gaza War has begun in earnest," says Israeli columnist and analyst Bradley Burston in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
"Another Gaza war, this one likely to be an even more bitter onslaught, could not only prove lethal to what is left of Israeli moral credibility, it could undermine and cripple U.S. President Barack Obama's military-political offensives in Iraq, Afghanistan and, slipping further down the slope, Yemen," adds Burston.
Burston’s speculation is based on recent statements and analyses given by senior IDF officials whom Burston explained had given similar comments before the last Gaza war.......
However, political scientist Dr Samir Awad from Birzeit University near Ramallah doubts another full-on war is on the cards.
"The Israeli military can say what it likes but another major ground invasion on Gaza is a political decision which can only be taken at a governmental level and the Israeli government is aware of its limitations," Awad told IPS.
"Israeli intelligence on Gaza is weak. They don’t have specific military targets and haven’t been able to establish the whereabouts of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The much vaunted prisoner swap has yet to take place."
"The Israelis have not succeeded in destroying Hamas either politically, as they are now stronger than before," added Awad.
Israel also appears to have failed in its objective of crippling Hamas militarily and stopping the firing of rockets on Israel. During the height of the intensive bombing campaign in Cast Lead Israel continued to be targeted by rockets. The rockets only stopped on Hamas’ orders several hours after a ceasefire was declared. Meanwhile, arms smuggling through the tunnels continues unabated......."