Israeli forces have begun the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. AFP and others are reporting that Israel has begun heavy shelling of the northern sections of Gaza and there are unconfirmed reports that the tanks are rolling. There are reports that the area was blanketed with leaflets earlier warning residents to "leave the area immediately" to ensure their safety.
The Israel's seem to be effectively ignoring the UN and the thousands protesting around the world calling for a cease fire. The White House has signaled that they have no problem with the ground attack.
The Israeli press has reported that this action has been planned and underway since March of 2006 following a visit from Condi Rice. The plan is evidently to end the Qassam rocket attacks by the removal of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, the region that the resistance uses for the launch of these rockets, and to move them toward Gaza City and to confine them there. If this is the case, and it is looking more and more like it is, and couple the recent two months of forced starvation for the people of Gaza then you are looking at another Israeli violation of the Geneva Convention (pdf) that "Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives."
Such a plan of forced evacuation could also be defined as ethnic cleansing:
The casualty count in Gaza is already at 425, possibly more. How many more innocents on both sides are going to die before this ends?
The United Nations Commission of Experts, in a January 1993 report to the Security Council, defined “ethnic cleansing” as “rendering an area ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.”