A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gaza: How Long Will it Last This Round?

The ground operations in Israel's Operation Protective Edge have begun. The casualty figures are likely to rise proportionately. But how long is the incursion likely to last? Israel isn't saying, but its previous operations in 2008-2009, with major round operations as compared to the conflict in 2012, where a ground incursion was forestalled by a ceasefire, may give some indications.

Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 lasted a total of just over three weeks. Israel began air strikes December 27, 2008 and the ground incursion on January 3, 2009. It ended in a ceasefire on January 18, for a total operation of just over three weeks and a ground component of just over two weeks.

Operation Pillar of Cloud in November 2012 (so called in Hebrew though the IDF insisted on calling it "Pillar of Defense" in English) was an eight day campaign limited to Israeli air and artillery strikes and a sustained Hamas rocket attacks. A potential ground incursion was avoided when Egypt (then led by Muhammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization and ally of Hamas) brokered a ceasefire.

Now that a ground incursion has begun, the operation already seems to resemble Cast Lead. Whether it lasts as long remains to be seen.

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