With Israeli troops, tanks and armoured vehicles amassing at the border of the Gaza Strip and with no let up in the tit-for-tat bombardments from both sides, it certainly seems that an invasion is imminent.
Since it was Israel that initiated and provoked the current violence that has led to this situation, it also seems likely that the Israelis had contrived and manipulated events to ensure that it would lead to invasion. In other words, this has been in the planning for some time. The question now is; once the Israelis invade the Gaza Strip, what next?
After Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009 the Israelis thought that simply indiscriminately killing Palestinians and doing a lot of infrastructure damage in the Strip might be enough to weaken Hamas’ grip on the enclave and stop the rockets, so this time Israel intends to destroy Hamas completely. This will mean a full-on invasion but this time followed by permanent occupation.
During the invasion, Israel will likely take advantage of the turmoil they create by liquidating their enemies while they have the opportunity of using the fog of war to cover their crimes. This will likely be accompanied by mass arrests and possibly even transfers of population.
An invasion could also possibly lead to an exodus of civilians as refugees from the fighting who will pour across the borders into the Sinai.
Bear in mind that Israel’s ultimate endgame is the creation of a Greater Israel; this is just a part of realising that dream.