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Israel-Gaza Conflict Enters Ominous New Phase


ISRAELI GAZA BORDER -- After Israel accepted Egypt's ceasefire proposal and Hamas rejected it, the conflict between Hamas and Israel entered a new and potentially dangerous phase.

Diplomacy failed to convince Hamas jihadists to stop their attacks. Since the proposed ceasefire, terrorists have fired dozens of rockets into Israel. Several hit their targets and one killed an Israeli near the border.

"Hamas isolated itself and the entire world called upon them to end the fire," Israeli President Shimon Peres said. "If they continue despite the proposal, they will only bring more suffering to their own people."

The breakdown of the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire makes the possibility of a ground offensive more likely. This means urban warfare, house-to-house fighting and the likelihood of more casualties on both sides.

But some believe that's the only way to eliminate the threats from Hamas rockets.

What's the likelihood of an Israeli ground operation? CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell addressed that questiona and more below:

"We should come back to ground operations. This is the only way that the other side will understand that we are really determined to keep our abilities to live here," former Southern Command Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tzvika Folgel told CBN News.

Israeli analyst Kobi Michael said Hamas may be committing political suicide.

"Now when they act so aggressively and mainly when they reject the Egyptian proposal actually they might drag Israel into a much broader ground operation and the end result of this operation will be the end of their political power in the Gaza Strip," Michael predicted.

Many residents of the Israeli town of Sderot close to Gaza feel for the residents there, but the IDF is doing what it can to hit Hamas fighters while protecting civilians.

"So we do mourn for the civilian casualties, but on the other hand Israel is one of the few -- if only the only -- armies in the world that will give you so many warnings we are going to bomb here, get out," one resident told CBN News. "They are trying to target where the rockets are so they are doing the best to get people out of the fire zone."

Meanwhile, Israel's campaign has intensified. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, without a ceasefire, the Jewish state's answer is fire.

The IDF estimates it has destroyed about a third of the rocket and missile cache, much of the terror group's capability to manufacture those rockets and the headquarters of many Hamas commanders.

But whether that's enough to convince Hamas to accept a ceasefire remains to be seen.

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