Israel’s diplomatic situation is totally different from what it was two years ago. The country is isolated internationally because of its refusal to compromise with the Palestinians and its insistence on expanding the settlements. The Obama administration will not support the use of brutal force in a civilian environment the way its predecessor did, nor can Israel count on the support of Arab governments that provided backing in the past.
Under these circumstances, Netanyahu needs to try to restore calm along the border and enable Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reconcile with Hamas. Palestinian unity, fragile as it might be, would provide Israel with an address to which to deliver demands for maintaining calm and preventing terrorist attacks – something the PA is already doing in the West Bank.
Populist enthusiasm for “a large-scale operation” will only lead Israel into complications, condemnations and greater isolation.