The main reason the Israel Defense Forces is not currently recommending a major ground operation in the Gaza Strip is fear that war might break out with Syria this summer, IDF sources say.

This argument is rarely mentioned publicly, in part because intelligence analysts are still uncertain about whether Syrian President Bashar Assad intends to start a war or is merely trying to pressure Israel to resume peace talks. But Syria has clearly been preparing for the possibility of war, both through troop training and major arms deals.

As a result, the IDF believes it must also be ready for this possibility, and excessive activity on the southern front would undermine its capabilities in the north. From the army's perspective, Syria is the biggest threat; the Palestinian front is secondary.

The army is also concerned that miscalculations of the enemy's intentions, on either side of the border, could lead to war between Syria and Israel even if neither side wants it. Precisely this scenario was the subject of a major military exercise last month.