The Israeli-Palestinian mess is obviously way beyond my depth. So my less-informed questions and speculations are probably stupid. But I'm surprised that nobody seems to be asking "why now?" of the Israeli offensive, at least I haven't read that kind of discussion. Hamas has been lobbing rockets into the South for more than a year now, ever since taking over Gaza. Israel has had the area in an economic squeeze ever since, only letting humanitarian materials in. I know Hamas' rockets have increased somewhat recently, but basically Olmert could have used the same justification for bombing the hell out of them last month, or next month.
I can't help but wonder if they don't think they could get away with it once Obama is President? Why else the rush, but to get in some last-minute Bush-era bombing (and - looks like - a ground invasion as well)? I don't know that the new President could or would really do much different - remark on Israel's right to self-defense, condemnation of Hamas, ask that the bombing get over with asap. But maybe they're not so sure what he would do or say? Or, could they be trying to get it done now to save Obama the grief of dealing with it? Either way, it appears Israel is determined to radically overhaul the security situation there, and now.