this so-called "war" was a punitive action. no less so than house demolitions; only on a much larger scale. of these three players, only barak exhibited sought to end it once the bulk of the damage to hamas was completed. the other two were considerably more callous, insisting instead on the ground invasion, which levied the punishment against the civilian population. israel couldn't have punished the civilians the way it did using strictly aerial bombardment without eliciting the world's outcry and condemnation. it needed the ground invasion in order to provide the guise of combat(of which, by the idf's own accounts, there was very little), for giving the appearance that the massive destruction of homes and businesses the idf wrought was the legitimate consequences of battle.
Russian PM Medvedev says the use of ground troops in Syria could result in world war (AP)
from the article: Herzog: Israeli leaders' remarks led to Goldstone war crime accusations