Rockets Pound Israel on Seventh Day of War

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


Tuesday, by the evening, had been the roughest day so far for Israel since launching Operation Pillar of Defense against Gazan terror last Wednesday.

A soldier and a civilian were killed by fire from Gaza. A rocket with a heavy warhead hit and severely damaged a building in the city of Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv, causing injuries and panic attacks. Another person was injured when a rocket hit a building in the coastal city of Ashkelon not far from Gaza. Two more rockets were fired at Jerusalem but missed the target considerably.

Altogether about 140 rockets had been fired by evening. On a personal note, my city of Beersheva (25 miles from Gaza) was startled awake in the morning by a salvo of rockets; about 20 hit the city in the morning, damaging a home and vehicles, and the fire continued in the afternoon and evening.

While the celebrated Iron Dome kept downing projectiles launched during the day, Israelis were reminded that no defense is good enough to seal the skies hermetically. By evening Israeli forces had unleashed heavy fire on terror targets in Gaza.

Later in the evening it was reported that an Israeli woman in the West Bank was seriously injured in a terror attack.

But it was also a day of frenetic diplomatic activity, with the international big hitters all converging on the same goal: a ceasefire, warding off a possible Israeli invasion of Gaza.

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle paid a visit, as did UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. President Obama reportedly worked the phones to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu till late at night from Cambodia. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was dispatched to the Middle East; a commentator on Israel’s Channel 2 TV called it “an antitank missile against an Israeli ground operation in Gaza.”

The most reliable reports said Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were, for their part, hoping as well to avoid a ground operation. With Israeli elections coming up in two months, a Gaza campaign that goes wrong—costing too many soldiers’ lives and/or not achieving enough—would be a liability. An international climate almost totally inimical to such a campaign is also not encouraging, though the New York Times reported that, according to U.S. deputy national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes, “Obama had not asked…Netanyahu to hold off a ground incursion into Gaza.”

Rumors were flying about a temporary truce to be declared in Cairo that, if it held, would turn into a longer ceasefire. Former Obama adviser Dennis Ross claimedMorsi was eager to help guarantee such a deal because an Israeli invasion of Gaza would spark heavy popular pressure on him to scrap Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel—a treaty that enables Egypt to get cash infusions for an economy on the verge of collapse.

For many Israeli citizens, talk of a ceasefire evoked bitterness amid the ongoing rocket sirens, the disruption of normal life, the casualties and wreckage. Military analyst Yoav Limor gave a more upbeat assessment, claiming that

if the international community manages to broker a ceasefire, its breach, whether by Hamas or some other group that fires rockets on Israel, will have broken a promise made toward the West and the Arab world, creating legitimacy for Israeli action.

In other words, the unofficial truce that appears to be in the works in Cairo will serve as the foundation for the next IDF campaign. The agreement will try to make it very hard for terrorists to act against Israel from the Gaza Strip and will provide Israel with significant international backing.

This is, of course, disputable, considering that similar undertakings were made after the 2008-09 Gaza War, including talk of the international community putting a stop to the smuggling of Iranian weapons into Gaza—claims that can only arouse derision four years later as Gazan rockets reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

More likely is that such a ceasefire would remove legitimacy within Israel for any further passivity once the inevitable breaches begin, compelling the government to finally take decisive action.

And the other possibility is that no such deal will be reached and, in the coming days, the Israeli ground forces now massing and training at the Gaza border will go into the Strip. At least in southern Israel if not in the country in general, it’s what most of us want.

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  • Shalom Freedman

    All this is accurate. There is good reason from the Israeli side to want some kind of decisive military action which could completely halt rocket- fire on Israel. But the risks of such an operation are great. And at the end of it all, no matter how successful such an operation is,Gaza with its fanatic Islamic population will still be there. Israel will not want to occupy it again.
    It seems to me a better solution, and of course I am not sure I am correct, is a kind of complete separation between Israel and Gaza. And this also should mean the end of Israel's being chief supplier of Gaza's Energy and other supply needs. Gaza can become whatever it wants so long as it keeps apart from Israel. Once it doesn't and if it attacks again then once again they can see their society devastated by Israel's overwhelmingly superior military power.

    • EthanP

      Won't happen. They don't want peace. They want dead Jews1

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    David is well acquainted with my thoughts on the subject. They are mostly in line with his.

    As to the recent showdown – 'cease fire' or not – here is some additional food for thought – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/21/ceasedeath-fi

    And those who haven't walk a mile in our shoes would do well NOT to judge, as it is our sons going into battle, and our fellow citizens who are being battered. Not since last week, but for years!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • EthanP

    Another worthless ceasfire will be imposed from the outside. So the issues will remain unsolved Insanity is doing the same thing again and again, hoping to get a different result. It never happens.

  • pierce

    I doubt that Hilary Clinton's presence in the Middle East will amount to a hill of beans. The ARABS do not want peace, well maybe a certain few do, but we have witnessed over the past few years what the ARAB SPRING is all about. It is a total shame, what has transpired.
    One question I have. Did not the ARAB SPRING start when Barack Obama made his NOW INFAMOUS APOLOGY TOUR in 2009? Some one clarify that, rather provide clarity for me.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    MORSI'S COMING POLITICAL TRAIN WRECK?

    If and hopefully when Bibi Netanyahu orders the IDF to invade Gaza the pro-Hamas government of Mohammed Morsi could collapse and the Moslem Brotherhood discredited as the last Islamist hope for Egypt's renewal as a great regional power. After emboldening Hamas to its present campaign of Islamic terror Morsi, with an economy in shambles and inferior military, is virtually helpless to come to Hamas's rescue should the IDF invade. Indeed, already embarrassed when Hamas continued its assault on Israel despite Egypt's prime minister in Gaza Morsi is headed toward political extinction if Hamas doesn't stop its attacks.

    continued

  • ApolloSpeaks

    Perhaps foreshadowing Morsi's political train wreck was an actual train wreck in Egypt on November 17th. Indeed, on the very day that Cairo at Morsi's request hosted an emergency meeting of the Arab League (see) to discuss the Israeli-Gaza crisis (and when Egypt's political factions also met (see)) a train collided with a school bus at a railroad crossing in Southern Egypt killing 49 children (see). Coming on the heels of two trains colliding six days earlier which killed 4 Allah is giving Morsi fair warning that unless he reigns in Hamas and stop the attacks on Israel his presidency is doomed.
    here!

  • ApolloSpeaks

    CORRECTION: reins in

  • Hank Rearden

    Israel has to endure. There won't be a final victory, at least not now. Bibi's problem is to take an action that Israel will support on an ongoing basis. What military action has to do is reinforce Israel's status as a nation state. A ceasefire may help to build the Israel narrative in the larger world. That has to be Israel's grand strategy.

    If the major players sign off on a ceasefire, then when the ceasefire is broken, Israel has strengthened its moral position. But for that to happen, Israel has to make its case – again and again and again. The Left will never accept Israel because it hates normality. But Israel's narrative still need to be sustained. A concomitant part of that is that Israel should not let missile firings on it build up. ONE should be the trigger. Otherwise, the COUNT of the missiles becomes the question. ANY missile should be the question.

    Lastly, Israel needs to advertise the actual status within Gaza – the hotels, the markets, the beaches, etc.

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    The simple question that no one wants to ask is – WHY does Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire rockets at Israeli cities? The answer – because they cannot do otherwise. Their religion commands them to do so. Jihad is an obligation in Islam . So what is the solution? Well, the best we can hope for is a hudna (a cease fire) which cannot last more than 10 years but which can be extended. So if there is a cease-fire tonight let's see for how long will it be declared .

    It cannot be overstated that Israel just wants them to stop firing rockets, not for a few days, months, but decades ( a few back to back hudnas), and until Israel gets that in the cease-fire terms there will be no cease-fire.

    A question for Brits. Two months ago I was in London visiting the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms (King Charles Street) and going through the Alan Turing exhibit at the Science Museum. As I read the British papers and comments from readers on Israel, I wonder at what point has the country that saved western civilization from the Nazis in 1940 turned into one that finds every argument to attack Israel for defending itself from Hamas who shoot 16 Grad salvos at Israeli cities while at the same time executing their own "collaborators" in the streets of Gaza? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • Horace

      Britain is in a state of collapse morally, ethnically, economically. They have given up to the amoral left and their country is going to hell and will soon have their own Hamas to surrender to.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    .
    גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר Golda Meir,
    born Golda Mabovitz ( 3 May 1898 — died 8 December 1978)

    QUOTE:

    ~ "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."

  • Ghostwriter

    The only peace far too many Palestinians want is the peace of the graveyard. And that graveyard is filled with Israelis.

  • JacksonPearson

    Gaza is just a preview of horror events if the West Bank ever become an independent state.

    Suggestion to Israel:
    *War have to have consequences;
    *NO MORE LAND FOR PEACE DEALS;
    *Flip off world opine;
    *Keep on building settlements on the West Bank;
    *Boot ALL savages out;
    *Move your capitol to Jerusalem, and take over every inch of land;
    *Play taqiyya and/or kitman on the Temple Mount, aka known as the location of the Al-Aqsa mosque, aka the Al-Aqsa mosque…BULLDOZE IT;
    * If Egypt renege on their peace accord, take back the Sinai…100%. and start building more settlements.