Israel Mulls Response as Rockets Hit
Just one rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel on Tuesday—a remarkably quiet day. Again the words ceasefire and truce were in the air. Israel’s citizens and leaders know that when it comes to Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza, those words are as meaningful as they are regarding a hurricane or a wolf pack. But, again, the Israeli government settled for a ceasefire.
That was after 150 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Saturday to Monday, wounding at least 8 people, putting 25 in shock, disrupting life for a million residents of southern Israel. It started on Saturday when an army jeep on a routine patrol 200 meters west of the Gaza border was hit by an antitank missile, wounding four soldiers.
The Israeli leadership chose not to respond to this as an act of war. Over the three days Israeli planes hit some arms depots, rocket-launching crews, and other targets in Gaza, killing a handful of terrorists and possibly some civilians. It was by any standard a measured, restrained response, fearful of escalation. By Tuesday it was reported that Egypt had told Hamas it would not intervene on its side if the fighting continued, and Hamas had apparently decided to stand down—for the moment.
The total of rockets fired from Gaza in 2012 is now about a thousand. For a while the flare-ups were occurring about once every two months; but lately it’s been once every couple of weeks, with Hamas itself—as opposed to the smaller groups—much more openly participating. Reasons for this greater boldness could include an improving geopolitical climate for Hamas and radical Islam generally; a steady erosion of Israeli deterrence since the 2008-09 Gaza War; and the ever-expanding influx of weapons into Gaza from Iran and Libya.
But the reasons don’t matter much. Hamas is not in Gaza to build parks, improve rail service, or attract tourists. It is there to impose sharia law on the population and to attack and help destroy Israel. As long as Hamas exists at any substantial level of political and military power, nothing will deflect it from those goals. (continue reading...)