Israeli analysts point to a larger agenda: The raid, they say, signals that Gaza is likely to follow in the footsteps of the West Bank, whose cities have been reoccupied by Israeli forces and placed under protracted curfew. "I would say this is inevitable even though it will be a disaster for both sides," says Reuven Pedhatzur, a political scientist at Tel Aviv University. "This action was partly to prepare public opinion for a major attack and partly to say, 'We are doing something against terrorism.' "...Further losses caused by Gaza fighting are inevitable, argues Professor Pedhatzur. He recalls being scoffed at when he predicted, at the outset of Sharon's tenure in March 2001, that Israel would reoccupy the West Bank cities. He argues that a similar logic will force Israel to take over the cities of Gaza. "Sharon has been very clear all along that that terror is to be defeated by military force. There is no opposition to this in Israel," he says. "Because he does not want a political solution since it would mean compromises, his only solution is to use military force. But in fact, this alone cannot solve the problem and it has not solved the problem. So he keeps using more and more force. He has to keep escalating."