Focusing on Hamas’s ability to produce missiles and rockets and launch them deep into Israel: Given that the Egyptian military is weakening Hamas and stopping the arms smuggling from Sinai, there is an opportunity to dismantle the Hamas and Islamic Jihad strategic launching capabilities. This would involve land maneuvers with ground forces entering deep into Gaza, including built-up areas. The goal would be to uncover and dismantle long range arsenals, destroy the infrastructure for rocket manufacture in Gaza, and trike at the launch chain against Israel. An operation of this kind does not require a prolonged IDF presence in the Gaza Strip.
Toppling the Hamas government in Gaza, which requires understanding the implications of such a move, including, who would fill the vacuum, since the PA presumably lacks the ability to regain control of Gaza, and it is very doubtful that Abbas would be prepared to accept control through the “gift” of the IDF. There is an idea of setting up an alternative government in Gaza (Muhammad Dahlan?) with Egyptian intervention. This would require close coordination with Egypt and an Egyptian willingness to accept responsibility and provide guarantees for Gaza’s future. Past experience shows that there is little chance that Egypt would agree to be the main actor in implementing this option. In the absence of an alternative to the Hamas government, the risk increases that radical jihadis would fill the vacuum, Israel’s losses would exceed its gains, and a worse situation would replace the current reality. The result could make a prolonged IDF presence in the Gaza Strip necessary, and Israel would be responsible for the needs of the more than 1.5 million people there.