Just some general thoughts:
- The situation in southern Israel is very bad; there are credible reports of a significant number of house invasions and kidnappings in communities near Gaza, with that implies with respect to civilian casualties and hostages.
- I do not see how the Israeli government will react except through the most violent of measures. Gaza should be expecting not only massive air and artillery retaliation, but also direct incursions designed to destroy rocket factories, destroy Hamas staging areas, and either rescue or recover hostages. This will be extremely destructive.
- The intelligence failure here is catastrophic. You can’t launch an attack of this sort without significant electronic, verbal, and physical evidence. Israel’s intelligence and military agencies have just experienced a massive failure, perhaps the most massive failure of any intelligence apparatus this century.
- Abigail knows more about the political dynamics than I, but I expect that the Bibi government will try to pass off the blame for the failure on Israel’s “deep state,” which has been at odds with Bibi’s government. I can’t imagine that this will work very well but I really don’t know.
- The Israeli civilian casualty numbers are bad and will get worse. In a week the Palestinian civilian casualty numbers will make the Israeli toll look like peanuts.
- Hamas is begging for a full-scale invasion; I suspect that Bibi will oblige, with the main result utter misery for Palestinian civilians and Israeli military forces.
- The other shoes are Hezbollah and the West Bank. Israel can’t be beaten but its situation (and those of Lebanon and the Occupied Territories) can be made much, much more miserable.
- In terms of motivation I mostly yield to those with more expertise than I, but the fact that the international community has become steadily more indifferent to the Palestinian cause (Modi didn’t even blink before siding with Israel) and Saudi Arabia in particular has been moving towards normalization with Israel probably convinced Hamas that it was now or never.