"On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a major military campaign dubbed 'Operation Cast Lead' against the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip in order to counter Palestinian rocket fire and, more broadly, to significantly weaken all aspects of Hamas rule in Gaza. On January 3, 2009, Israel began a ground offensive into Gaza intended to eliminate Hamas's willingness or capability to launch rockets at Israeli towns and cities. As of January 14, Israeli bombings and ground forces had reportedly killed over 1,000 Palestinians, while 13 Israelis had been killed by Palestinian rockets and attempts to counter the ground invasion. [...]. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will likely be compelled to address the Gaza situation directly at the outset of his administration. The incoming 111th Congress may be called upon to increase various forms of assistance to Israel, to the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, and to Palestinian civilians in order to support a sustainable post-conflict order that guarantees Israel's security and attends to the needs of the Palestinian humanitarian situation. The Gaza crisis constitutes a conundrum for all involved. [...]. Linking the cessation of violence in and around Gaza with international enforcement of a truce or a broader regional security initiative may be possible, but, at present, no proposed solution appears straightforward. This report will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments."
CRS Report for Congress, R40101