The officers said the General Staff has urged the government of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order an invasion of the Gaza Strip. They
said Israel's failure to respond to the barrage of Palestinian rocket fire
was eroding the nation's deterrence.
"Both Barak and Netanyahu are against a major operation, but it is clear
that the defense minister is calling the shots," a military source said.
As a result, the General Staff has quietly agreed to a mediation effort
to end or at least reduce Palestinian missile attacks. The sources said
mediation attempts were taking place through governments as well as Israeli
and Palestinian intermediaries.
"Under the current circumstances, the most important thing is to resume
some sort of normalcy," the source said.
The sources said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz has not taken a
firm position on a response to the Palestinian missile fire. They pointed
out that Gantz has been chief of staff for about a month and was not ready
to submit an assessment that differed from Barak.
In 2008, Israel and Hamas fought a 23-day war in which much of the
Islamic military was destroyed. Throughout 2009 and 2010, Hamas was said to
have restrained Palestinian militias from rocket fire.
"We are seeing all of the gains from Operation Cast Lead [Hamas war]
disappear," another military source said.