Israel launched a series of air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip today. The strikes were intended to destroy Hamas’ ability to launch rockets and fire mortars from Gaza into southern Israel. Since Hamas’ decision to forgo a truce with Israel 200 rockets and mortar rounds have landed in southern Israel.
But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military’s count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.
Earlier this month, Israeli security officials told the government that militants possess rockets with ranges capable of reaching farther from Gaza than ever before, including the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod.
Gaza militants fired several rockets Saturday, including one that struck a new target, the town of Kiryat Gat. A missile hit on the town of Netivot killed an Israeli man and wounded four people, rescue services said. In Ashkelon, TV cameras showed people huddle against a wall as a rocket alert sounded.The 200 rockets and mortars in a week are a 333% increase over the 60 rockets and mortars a week that have rained down on Israel in 2008. By what logic launching explosives across the border into Israel at the rate of 60-a-week constitutes a truce remains a mystery. Ending this “Truce”, accelerating their attacks, and provoking Israel into responding seems to have been Hamas’ goal. Be careful what you wish for.
Naturally, Hamas has promised they will unleash “Hell” to avenge the dead. A different hell than the ever-present threat of rockets and mortar shells raining down? Indeed, a return to the tried and true suicide bomber. Provided they can penetrate the barriers Israel erected in response to the first intifada. Killing Jews used to be so easy. Damn Israel for taking concrete (literally) actions to prevent the massacre of its citizens.
International response has been mixed:
“Hamas’ continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement that urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties but stopped short of calling for an end to the Israeli air strikes.
Of course, the US always takes Israel’s side. The Palestinians are really aggrieved. Why should they stop their attacks before Israel is pressured into stopping theirs?
The United Nations and the European Union, in contrast, called for an immediate halt to all violence.
“All violence” meaning Israeli counterstrikes against Hamas in Gaza. No worries if a few dozen or hundred explosives are lobbed into Israel, though.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli air campaign was “criminal” and urged world powers to intervene.
Reports were unclear whether Abbas regards daily rocket and mortar attacks on Israel as “criminal” or “the greatest thing since sliced bread”.
One thing is certain, nothing Israel can do short of all the Jew marching into the sea to drown themselves will placate the Palestinians. They do not want peace. They do not want land. They do not want to live in harmony with Jews. They only want to kill Jews and destroy Israel. Any belief that there can be common ground staked out between Israel and the Palestinian Authority/Hamas is folly to the point of farce.
What happens when Israel tries to find common ground with the Palestinians?
Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.
Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.
The last, in late February and early March, spurred both sides to agree to a truce that was to have lasted six months but began unraveling in early November. In recent days, Israeli leaders had been voicing strong threats to launch a major offensive.What happens? Escalating violence by the Palestinians, Israeli response, international outcry over Israeli response, end of Israeli response, and a one-sided truce. Then escalating violence by the Palestinians…
There will never be any progress until all the voices in the UN condemn the Palestinians and Israelis equally for violence. Since there is no international will to hold Palestinians culpable for their intransigence there will never be progress.