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.

As for the ongoing reticence of the Netanyahu government—becoming more and more reminiscent of the previous Olmert government, even though Netanyahu’s is nominally considered more “right-wing” or “hawkish”—again multiple reasons are adduced. They include a reluctance to take chances with Israeli elections coming up in two months; fears that a Gaza operation could spark a wider conflict that Egypt, Hizballah, possibly Syria, or some combination of those would join; and a lack of “legitimacy” for Israeli military operations on the world stage.

Indeed, news reports suggest that the third of those issues is what most perturbs Jerusalem. At least it was what led Netanyahu on Monday to summon 70 foreign ambassadors to Ashkelon, an Israeli coastal city just north of Gaza that has been pummeled by rockets, and tell them:

I don’t know of any of your governments who could accept such a thing. I don’t know of any of the citizens of your cities, who could find that acceptable and something that could proceed on a normal basis. I think the whole world understands that this is not acceptable. We’ll take whatever action is necessary to put a stop to this. This is not merely our right, it’s also our duty.

On Tuesday night it was reported that Israel’s forum of nine top ministers had convened and “agreed…not to fire on…Gaza…as long as the rocket fire stops…. However, should the rocket fire be renewed over the next few weeks, then Israel will increase the severity of its response….”

It won’t take long to know whether these are more empty words or signal a strengthening resolve.

The last few days have also seen incidents at the Syrian border, where Syrian government forces are in deadly combat with rebels. On Monday, when Israeli positions on the Golan Heights were hit again, Israel fired back at a Syrian artillery launcher and apparently wounded two soldiers.

Although it is tempting to see the Gazan and Syrian fire as related prongs of a larger assault, the lack of any further Syrian response suggests the shells that hit Israel were fired randomly. Jerusalem’s assessment is that Bashar Assad has enough trouble on his hands without getting Israel involved as well—though that could change if he gets desperate enough.

In any case, things are heating up. No doubt, it would be better for Israel if the White House had a more sympathetic occupant, and if European capitals could not be counted on to put oil prices over Israeli lives.

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  • jackflash

    Commitment comes together with cooperation. So why should the US and Europe feel committed towards Israel in issues Israel refuses to cooperate with the US and Europe on? And even if they did – What would be in such a deal for the US and Europe?

    Sounds like Israel, once again, wants a free ride without any obligations.

    • PaulRevereNow

      Why should Israel not do the things–such as building on its own land–that Washington demands; when its Washington that won't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital? Why should Israel go back to the 1949 armistice lines? Israel doesn't want "a free ride without any obligations." What Israel wants is to be recognized as sovereign within its borders; which the Obama admin. and the UN won't do. Since there's nothing in this deal for Israel, why should Israel cooperate?

      • jackflash

        Right on spot PaulRevereNow. Why should Israel cooperate with the US and Europe when both have nothing in common and neither side profits? You take the words right out of my mouth my dear friend. I've often wondered whoever came up with this "special relations" notion.

        The problem with articles like these is that the author bemones the US and europe not supporting Israel but never bemones israel not supporting the US and Europe. A one track pony so to say.

        • SCREW SOCIALISM

          jackassflash, Eurabia is a lost cause. Islamofascists are about take over the chicken turd Europeans.

          SCREW EURABIA!

        • Drakken

          Hey dumbazz, the Israelis are a western ally, the effing muslims are not and never will be, so goes Israel, so the muslim scourge will come to us. So if your so hot and bothered and love your muslim friends? Go bloody well live with them and good riddance.

        • Mary Sue

          What exactly is it that Israel is NOT supporting the US and Europe on?

        • PaulRevereNow

          If Israel doesn't support the U.S.; then why doesn't the U.S. just get out of the Middle East entirely? To take your logic one step further, maybe the U.S. should go back to an isolationist stance, that we took in the 1930's. However, the problem with that is that the world is much too complex in so many ways. So the U.S. DOES have an interest in the Middle East; and Israel, by its very presence, supports our interest there. In addition, Israel is a reasonably free country, where rights and freedoms are generally respected(which described the U.S. until recently). Israel cab also offer the U.S. a very strong infornation gathering capability. Up until recently, the US and Israel had a lot in common, and your comment couldn't be more wrong.

    • Mary Sue

      Europe and USA (currently) don't know what the hell they're doing. Their solutions are useless ones, as they fail to grasp the militancy of the Palestinian terror organizations who literally want to wipe all Jews off the face of the earth.

      HOW IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO YOU EVEN BEGIN TO COMPROMISE WITH THAT?!

      "Hi, I am PLO, I want to kill you."
      "I'm Jewish, I'd appreciate it if you don't."
      "And I'm American, can't we find some common ground?"
      "I will kill the Jew. No exceptions."

      • BS77

        Not just Jews….the Coptic Christians in Egypt are under seige…it's the Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, non believers, secularists….and American ambassadors, US citizens…all on the hit list. The west needs to wake up and face reality.

        • Mary Sue

          Yup, though Jews are #1 with a bullet on their hit list.

    • jackstraw

      Why do the nations of the world not call it an outrage that the tiny sliver of land in the Middle East called Israel is constantly bombarded by Rocket attacks from it's enemies? And these rockets are aimed at civilians…schools and hospitals. This has been going on for decades but the world doesn't seem to care. And when Israel actually defends herself, she is accused by the nations of the world of being a bully. And the world media and the UN always side with tiny Israel's attackers as victims of occupation. But arabs and people of all races are welcome to live in Israel and receive equal rights — while infidels – Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., are subjected to dhimmitude status if living in a Muslim Nation. What's this all about? Could it be that Jerusalem is the Epicenter of the world's spiritual battle? Is God angry with the nations for trying to divide up his land? Interesting times I'd say. Interesting indeed! Oh no, I hope I don't get blacklisted from facebook because of this post. For not being politically correct. Ha!

  • Silver Zionist

    Israel, with all my prayers , pleeeze lay waste to Gaza; every man, women and child because that is exactly what they would do to you!

    Do not listen to the UK, Canada, the USA nor any Latino "country"; they are all built on lands stolen from the natives then renamed their countries or territories with native names; from Ottawa, Seattle, Bogota, Peru to Chile.

    • ukjdl

      Silver Zionist, we agree with you. Raze Gaza to the ground and fumigate it afterwards so that no evil may sprout from it again.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      INSHALLAH!

      G-D BLESS CANADA!

    • Mary Sue

      Listen to Canada if it's smart people that know what Israel has to do. Don't listen to the Liberals or the brainwashed, PLO-dazzled NDP.

  • Western Spirit

    Of course the land was stolen from the natives. This is the way of the world. In Britain the Celts were over run by Germanic tribes and France the same. No one holds this against them, only in America does conquest get sticky because of the politics of the Left.

    But I agree with you about the rest of your post.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      And Canada, Australia, New Zealand…

      SCREW EURABIA!

  • Drakken

    No other country would ever tolerate a rocket or mortar fired into its territory,period! Screw world opinion and do a Shermans march to the sea and killem all and let allah sortem out.

    • Jim

      I think our own country would allow such murder against us.

      Especially with the liberals and their imitators the moderates running every thing.

  • jfshaughnessy

    Has been a little activity since this article was published. Get some, get some: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=2917

  • victor

    This time, Israel should flatten Gaza and have a decisive victory. Anything short of that will give the so-called Palestinians the impression that next time will work out better for them so long as they survived the onslought. They do not hink of Victory as winning, they think of it as surviving ti fight another day and inflict any damage to Israel and Jews. Plain and simple. I know those god-forsaken people I lived among them, I know how they think.

  • Mary Sue

    Man if I were the President of USA, I'd be phoning up whoever's the head of the Hamas and Hezbollah and all those and say, "LOOK. You stop those rockets RIGHT EFFING NOW or I'm going to come in and LEVEL THE PLACE. Dresden will look like a Sunday School picnic in comparison, GOT THAT?! You have 24 hours to GTFO of Gaza before you get blown the eff up."

  • JacksonPearson

    What is there to mull over when over 700 rockets are lobbed into your neighborhoods by people that want you dead. It's way, way overdue for Israeli to retaliate. I say bulldoze Gaza back to eternity.

  • Ghostwriter

    The Palestinians have been screaming for the blood of Israelis and Americans for years. It's long past time for payback.