Former envoy predicts Israel will not invade Gaza Strip

The former U.S. Middle East envoy on Sunday said Israel will not launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, despite recent indications in the area.


Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “extremely reluctant to go in on the ground,” Marin Indyk, who resigned from his post last month, said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." Instead, the Netanyahu is “looking for ways to end rocket fire” from the terrorist group Hamas.

The Israeli military overnight launched an incursion into the Gaza Strip to raid a suspected weapons cache. Government forces have also told residents in the area to evacuate their homes “for their own safety,” an indication that the violence could escalate after five days of rocket strikes.

More than 130 people have been killed during the campaign, and nearly 1,000 injured.

Indyk said the U.S. must press for a cease-fire, which the U.N. has already called for. Such an agreement should be “no problem” on the Israeli side, but Hamas “is looking for a victory,” including a new revenue source for its members after its traditional funding pipeline from Egypt has been cut off, he said.

Indyk said it would take a major military campaign against Hamas’s estimated 20,000 militia members and possible U.N. control of the Gaza Strip to “stir up the status quo” in the region, but said none of the parties involved were willing to accept the “costs” of such a plan.