Israel believes the current invasion will have achieved nothing unless this time it regains absolute control of the Rafah border, undercutting Hamas’s claims to be running the Strip. The “mechanism” therefore requires that technical responsibility is lifted from Egyptian shoulders.
According to the Israeli plan, it will pass to the Americans, whose expertise will be called on to stop the tunneling and prevent Hamas from rebuilding its arsenal after the invasion comes to an end.
Israel may additionally seek the involvement of international forces to diffuse the censure the Arab publics are likely to direct at Egypt as a result.
Once Hamas has no hope of rearming and cannot take any credit for the Gazans’ welfare, Israel will presumably allow in sufficient supplies of humanitarian aid to pacify western governments concerned about the images of Gaza’s cold and hungry children.
Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian analyst, believes that in this scenario Israel would probably insist that such supplies come only through the Egyptian crossing, thereby “fulfilling another strategic aim: that of making Gaza Egypt’s responsibility.”
And once the Gazan albatross is lifted from Israel’s neck, Abbas and his West Bank regime will be more isolated than ever. Undoubtedly, the hope in Israel is that, with Gaza disposed of, the pressure will grow on the Palestinian Authority to concede in a “peace” deal yet more Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.