In the early hours of 14 May, Israeli military sent a statement to the media that read, "IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip."
Although not very clear, the statement led international media to conclude that Israel had made a ground incursion into Gaza.
Hours later, the Israeli military issued another statement clarifying that there were no troops inside Gaza.
In fact, it was highly unlikely from the very beginning that Israel would go for ground invasion despite having deployed ground forces near the Gaza border. Rather, there is reasonable ground to believe that Hamas, through its incessant barrage of rockets, is trying to force the IDF to start a ground invasion.
Projectiles vs. light weapons
Over the last two weeks, Hamas has been launching a barrage of rockets targeting Israeli cities. What is surprising is that these rockets are locally made by Hamas fighters.
According to reports, Hamas's stock of rockets collected from foreign sources depleted during the 2014 Gaza War. Amid the continued blockade on the land, sea and air, Hamas made use of underground tunnels connecting Southern Gaza and Egypt to smuggle in rockets and rocket parts.
As Israel's new found friend in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi blocked these tunnels, it became impossible to smuggle in rockets from foreign sources.
Still, Hamas has managed to replenish its rocket arsenal. The Al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, salvages explosives from unexploded Israeli missiles and bombs dropped on Gaza, and uses that to build their own rockets.
For the rocket casing, Al-Qassam scavenges abandoned plumbing pipes that Israel installed to supply water to the Jewish settlements inside Gaza Strip, which were dismantled and evacuated in 2005.
Hamas is continually improving the range and destructive capability of their rockets; still, other than striking terror in the minds of Israeli civilians and causing occasional damage to civilian life and property, these unguided, somewhat primitive rockets are no good for launching attacks on specific military targets. And these are no match to missiles flying in from the other side as well.
On top of that, Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system has been proven to be very effective in withstanding rocket barrages.
But when it comes to urban warfare involving small arms and light weapons (SALW), Israel's enemies stand a chance to resist in real terms.
In fact, in the last two large-scale ground incursions, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have suffered heavy casualties.
Southern Lebanon, 2006
In 2006, after a cross-border raid in Israel by Hizbullah – Lebanese paramilitary group and a political party – Israel planned to destroy Hizbullah's military capabilities through a 'quick' ground campaign backed by air raids.
Yet, after 34 days, when the conflict ended through a UN brokered ceasefire deal, Israel was far from achieving a 'decisive' victory.
Hizbullah fighters, armed with light weapons, put up an effective resistance using urban guerrilla warfare tactics. Israel lost at least 20 tanks and four helicopters; and a warship was damaged.
Like the Lebanese side, Israel sustained heavy loss in terms of human lives too. It ended up losing 165 lives, most of whom were IDF members. On the other hand, more than one thousand people were killed in Lebanese side, the lion's share of whom were civilians. Also, 1,244 IDF members were injured.
At the same time, about half a million of Israeli citizens were displaced while a million were displaced in Lebanon.
The Israeli campaign succeeded in degrading Hizbullah's military capabilities only for a short time; while on the other hand, it helped increase the prestige and acceptability of Hizbullah among those who Israel considers enemies. As a collateral damage of the conflict, the perceived reputation of the IDF was also tarnished.
Gaza Strip, 2014
A similar episode unfolded when Israel, in July 2014, launched a ground invasion in Gaza.
The stated goal of this invasion, called Operation Protective Edge, was to destroy Hamas's underground tunnel networks known as 'metro.' These tunnels in the Northern Gaza are used as a hiding place for fighters, and also for undetected movement.
Palestinian fighters, among other light weapons, used anti-tank rockets and anti-tank mines against Israeli armoured vehicles.
In this conflict, IDF lost 67 of its members, and 469 members were injured. Six Israeli civilians were also killed.
On the other hand, IDF killed 2,104 people in Gaza, 69% of whom were civilians.
A day after the IDF's misleading statement about ground invasion into Gaza Strip, the army clarified that it was a misunderstanding. However, Israeli media, quoting military commentators, has attempted to portray a different picture.
According to these reports, international media had been tricked to "lure Hamas militants into a deadly trap that may have killed dozens of fighters." This story has so far been published by many western media, mainly as a success story of IDF in the backdrop of huge civilian casualty in Gaza, and failure to take out Hamas's rocket stockpile or launching sites.
However, none of the parties involved produced any evidence in support of this 'success' of the IDF. Nor did Hamas acknowledge any loss of its fighters. According to an NBC News report, Or Heller, one of the military commentators who championed the reported attack, said it was "his understanding" that scores of militants had been killed, and "it was impossible to say."
The mighty military of Israel is known for frequent raids in Occupied West Bank, arresting Palestinian children at will for throwing rocks at Israeli armoured vehicles. But when it comes to making an incursion into Hamas-controlled Gaza, there are indications that Israel understands what is at stake.
This is why, despite widespread media speculation about Israeli ground offensive over the last few days, the IDF has not yet ventured into Gaza seeking to locate and destroy Hamas's rocket factories and warehouses. Instead, it is focused on pounding Gaza in retaliation, killing unarmed men, women, and children, as well as levelling civilian buildings, while letting Israeli people rejoice at unsupported Israeli media reports on the 14 May attack on Hamas.