It sounds like an all-out war to me, not mere "conflict", as Stratfor puts it.
The rationale behind it, as Stratfor puts it, is the alleged intelligence that Gaza militants are manufacturing long-range rockets locally.
From Stratfor (11/17/2012; part):
Update on the Israel-Gaza Conflict
New intelligence indicates forces in Gaza may be manufacturing long-range rockets locally. If this is the case, a significant ground force offers the Israelis the best chance of finding and neutralizing the factories making these weapons. Meanwhile, Israel continues its airstrikes on Gaza, and Gaza continues its long-range rocket attacks on major Israeli population centers, though Israel claims its Iron Dome defense system has intercepted most of the rockets.
Israel appears to be positioning itself for a ground operation, perhaps as early as the night of Nov. 17. The Israeli Cabinet on Nov. 16 approved Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to call up 75,000 reservists, significantly more than during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. The Israeli army meanwhile has also sought to strengthen its presence on the borders with Gaza. Primary roads leading to Gaza and running parallel to Sinai have been declared closed military zones. Tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and troops continue to stream to the border, and many units already appear to be in position.
During Operation Cast Lead, the Israelis transitioned to the ground phase around 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2009. Going in during dark hours allows the IDF to take advantage of its superior night-fighting equipment and training, including the use of night vision goggles and thermal optics.
The Israeli air force remained active throughout the night of Nov. 16-17, striking at targets across the Gaza Strip including key Hamas ministries, police stations and tunnels near the border crossing with Egypt. The IAF reportedly carried out strikes in Rafah's al-Sulan and al-Zahour neighborhoods, as well as east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp. According to IDF reports, the air force carried out a rapid and coordinated military strike, targeting approximately 70 underground medium-range rocket-launching sites in the less than an hour. The IDF claims direct hits were confirmed. The IAF will increasingly target Hamas militant defenses ahead of any ground invasion. Already the IAF has bombed militant defensive positions, particularly in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
(Update on the Israel-Gaza Conflict is republished with permission of Stratfor.)
Ever since the Fukushima nuke accident, all I care about is "Where is the nuke plant?" In case of Israel, the Negev Nuclear Research Center is near Dimona, in southern Israel (the map from Zero Hedge, who took it from Stratfor):
It looks like it's at a safe distance, but missiles from Gaza are reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, thwarted by the Israeli missile defense system (see Christian Science Monitor article, 11/17/2012).