The senior leadership in Israel has given the OK for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Although this green light to send ground troops and heavy armor across the border doesn’t necessarily mean a full scale invasion and possible reoccupation is inevitable, it does seem very likely to happen at this point.

For more than a week the IDF has been staging troops, artillery, armor, and supplies at key locations along the Israeli/Gaza border while diplomats have been negotiating various cease-fire agreements. Hamas’ refusal to end rocket attacks against Israel has resulted in the stalemate in diplomatic discussions.

On Friday exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, speaking from the safety of Damascus, said that his militants are prepared for a ground attack and they could abduct more soldiers if Israel attempts an invasion.

“If you commit a foolish act by raiding Gaza, who knows, we may have a second or a third or a fourth Shalit,” he said, according to Reuters. Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid more than two years ago.

SIDE NOTE: At the time of this posting IDF troops are still standing by, but I got an email response from a friend of mine, who is not in the Israeli government or the military but does live in Israel, and he expects that IDF troops will roll across the Israeli/Gaza border within the next 72 hours unless Hamas stops launching rocket attacks.