The Israeli tank shelling of a hospital in the Gaza Strip that killed four people and wounded 60 Monday is the latest casualty count in fighting between Israel and Hamas. So far the conflict has left at least 550 Palestinians and 27 Israelis dead in the past two weeks.
The current operation has foreign policy analysts questioning what Israel will gain.
Bhalla says the situation in the Gaza Strip is a “tricky situation” for Israel. “Literally [you] have holes burrowed in from buildings that connect to a vast network of tunnels.”
The only way to completely remove all the tunnels, she suggests, is a long-term occupation which “Israel cannot tolerate.”
This situation has critics saying the threat posed by Hamas will be a recurring problem.
“It’s a very cyclical process- you can’t stop Hamas and its affiliates from tunneling within Gaza and Israel at the same time can’t afford the level of causalities that would be entailed in an operation on the ground for an extended period of time,” said Bhalla.
While Israel hopes to severely damage Hamas’ military capability, there is an understanding the terrorist group will be able to regroup.
“You can almost time the next conflict [with Hamas] by just how much the Israelis are able to estimate how much damage they have done,” said Bhalla. She says while Israel thinks they set Hamas back by up to three years, however, “I would still put it at that one year timeframe at best.”