After one and a half weeks of fighting the operation is experiencing tension between the immediate goals and ultimate objectives. The immediate goals are destroying rocket launchers, killing fighters and arresting wanted men for interrogation and to swap for Gilad Shalit. The ultimate objectives are a lasting and stable cease-fire, and a long-term end to arms smuggling into Gaza.
This tension includes the inherent differences among the three highest-ranking entities behind the operation: the political echelon, and within it the conflicts among the Olmert-Barak-Livni trio; Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi; and Southern Command head Yoav Galant. No subordinate rank is capable of providing the rank above it with spectacular results at a minimal effort ?(and above the cabinet is Israeli society as a whole?). We can pay little and get little, or pay a lot and get little, and perhaps − no guarantees − we can pay a lot and get a lot.
As things stand now, Israel will find it hard to translate its military power into policy gains. As long as Hamas can fire into Be'er Sheva and north of the Israel Air Force base at Hatzor, the organization will not submit to Israel's cease-fire terms, despite the hits it has taken.
The analysis does raise the interesting option of deploying Arab troops in peacekeeping operations on Gaza borders.
In any case, also check-out my recent post on @TAC.