Why has an expected Israeli ground operation on Gaza not yet begun?

An Israeli ground invasion of Gaza has been widely expected following Hamas' terror attack on October 7, but after days of troops massing at the border, questions have been raised around what is causing the delay, ITV News' Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo explains

It is four days since multiple Israeli officials told news organisations that a ground invasion of Gaza was “imminent”. Israel’s political leadership hasn’t explained why it hasn’t happened yet.

But, there is evidence elsewhere of some of the reasons behind the delay.

These include the decelerating impact of pressure from the US for Israel to better prepare for life after Hamas and to be clearer about its plans for the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. 

When President Biden arrives in Israel tomorrow (on Wednesday) it will be hailed as a huge moment in this war.

But the mere announcement of his visit, in a statement released while most Israelis were asleep, marked a pretty big moment in itself.

It was a sign the Israelis had agreed to a series of requests for aid to Gaza - as the US Secretary of State posted on X, to “develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza”.

In exchange for this commitment, Israel gets this public show of support from its biggest backer.

The US was concerned - it saw the potential for lukewarm allies to fall away if Israel didn’t do more for suffering civilians in Gaza.

To many in the region, it might also legitimise Iran’s apparent intentions of getting involved.

There is further American pressure to push Israel for a plan beyond the toppling of Hamas - with lessons from the past about short-termism.

For example, from Ukraine, where the invading Russian army became bogged down in the first few weeks of the 2022 invasion. 

There is also the familiar experiences of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There, a failure to plan for the long term meant military operations mounted in response to terrorist attacks led to political failures.

But for many of Israel’s allies, their priority remains the safe release of their own citizens who are trapped in Gaza. The border into Egypt is still shut.

For those countries with citizens being held hostage by Hamas, a delay might be helpful in buying time for potential diplomacy.

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