The Gaza war rages on with no immediate end in sight. Indeed, Israeli sources tell me a ground operation into Gaza is not yet definite, but is likely.
Israel has rightfully rejected a French-proposed 48 hour cease-fire, saying the Gaza operation will continue until Israel’s goal of shutting down the terrorist rocket threat is accomplished. The leaders of the European Union, Russia, and many governments around the world are putting enormous pressure on Israel to stop defending the Jewish people and stop attacking the terrorist strongholds in Gaza. This is crazy. Why do the Europeans and Russians have such a double-standard when it comes to Israeli national security.
More than 6,300 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israel by Hamas since Israel withdrew its military forces from Gaza in 2005. Some 400 rockets have been fired at Israel just since December 19th. Would the French or Germans agree to a cease-fire if they were being hit by hundreds and thousands of rockets, missiles, and mortars by enemies sworn to annihilate them? Of course not. The Russians invaded Georgia for far, far less.
“We didn’t initiate the Gaza operation in order to end it while Israeli towns are still under fire, as they were before the operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters. “Israel has shown restraint for years; she gave the truce a chance; we told ourselves ‘let’s try it,’ but Hamas violated the truce."
I don’t often say this, but Olmert is right. Hamas must be crushed, not coddled. Yet the world is trying to coddle these Palestinian Radical Islamic jihadists. It’s an outrage. The onus is on the Hamas terrorists to lay down their arms and stop firing rockets into Israel. Until that happens, the IDF should continue fighting.
It pains me to see the suffering on both sides, but this is entirely Hamas’ responsibility. They were urged by Egypt, by Mahmoud Abbas, and by the Israelis not to let the previous cease-fire lapse, but they chose war instead. They have never been hit this hard. Indeed, Gaza has not seen this level of fighting since 1967.
The Islamic Radicals in Gaza don’t appear ready to surrender. To the contrary, Hamas is using longer-range rockets than ever before — some of them made in Iran — putting hundreds of thousands of more Israelis at risk than in previous clashes. Hamas has already fired more than 50 rockets, mortars and missiles at Israel as of 4pm local time (9am eastern). Two hit the Israeli city of Beersheva last night, some 28 miles from Gaza. This is the first time Beersheva has ever been in range of Gaza-fired rockets. Haaretz reports that no one was injured but 40 people were treated for shock. The city is rattled, and theaters, cinemas and other shops and businesses are shutting down.
Rockets also continue to hit the town of Sderot, and the Israeli coastal cities Ashkelon and Ashdod. I’m told that most of the children in Sderot have been evacuated from the town. Many are now temporarily relocated to northern Israeli cities and towns, such as Haifa.
Iran, in addition to providing Hamas longer-range rockets, is also now apparently recruiting some 10,000 volunteer suicide bombers to attack Israel.
Some good news: the Israeli government yesterday permitted 109 trucks filled with humanitarian relief to enter Gaza to help Palestinians caught in the crossfire.