“Operation Solid Rock” gets under way; Netanyahu tells the IDF to “take off the gloves”; the Israeli Air Force strikes at military targets in Gaza; rockets continue to be launched into populated areas throughout the south; classes, examinations, summer camps and various activities within a 40-kilometer range from Gaza were cancelled; a rocket explodes in Jerusalem; sirens sounded in locations in and around and north of Tel-Aviv; two kibbutzim are behind closed doors because of possible terrorist infiltration; attempts at further kidnapping of teens did not succeed.
It would be good if the matters summarized in bold print were all that was happening here in the last 24 hours. But, that is not the case.
Tuesday, 8 July, 2014:
After more than a 130 rockets in 24 hours were launched into populated communities in Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization located in Gaza, the Israeli government took action to put an end to the missile threat – at least for the time being. Israel launched “Operation Solid Rock” and the air force bombed some 50 targets in the Gaza Strip throughout the night and into the morning hours.
As is widely known, as the negotiations between Israel and the “Palestinian” Authority were about to be buried, the “Palestinian” factions of Fatah and Hamas entered into a new agreement and formed a unity government. But, their reunification was doomed to failure before it ever got started. Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the P.A., immediately proclaimed that Hamas would be willing to go along with Fatah’s decision to recognize Israel (although not as a Jewish state). Hamas immediately denied such claims, saying that it would never recognize Israel and that it would continue to fight against it. Hamas was hoping that the reunification with Fatah would cause the P.A., located in Ramallah, to take over Hamas’ burden of paying the salaries of tens of thousands of Hamas employees, most of whom are out of work at this point due to lack of funds. But, Ramallah was unwilling. The rift began between the two factions before the ink was dried on the paper reuniting them.
Hamas needed to regain its popularity with the local population in Gaza and its position elsewhere in the Arab world, as being in the forefront of the opposition against “the Zionist entity”. The best way to do that would be to send waves of rockets into Israel, in an attempt to draw Israel into a full military engagement with Hamas in Gaza. The goal was to have Israel “over-react”, creating world sympathy for the poor Hamasnikim on the one hand, and condemnation of Israel on the other hand – similar to what happened in “Operation Cast Lead” in December, 2008, which was Israel’s response to the rocket and mortar fire by Hamas into the Western Negev and Israeli communities in the Gaza vicinity that was on-going for over 8 years. Now, 5 and a half years later, the rockets and mortar shells continue to be fired by Hamas into the same populated communities. The main differences between then and now are that the weapons in the possession of Hamas are considerably improved, have a longer range and more communities are affected. But, the Hamas terrorist organization remains a terrorist organization. Only now, it is somewhat more desperate.
As it is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so I tried to post a picture here that shows the proximity of the communities under attack in the last two days and their distances from Gaza. But, I didn’t succeed in attaching it. So, I’m referring you to one of the sites that shows it. All of the locations presented in the map shown in the above site were targeted by Hamas. But, many other locations, not shown there, were also the recipients of deadly projectiles. Jerusalem, once considered “off limits” for missile attacks, is no longer exempt. It’s residents heard the sirens and some experienced the boom and shock wave from a rocket exploding in the Pisgat Zeev community of the city. Some 6,000 people needed to be evacuated from a concert that took place at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. Sirens sounded in locations north of Tel Aviv, and only a half an hour from Haifa, where I live.
All in all, when the first day of “Operation Solid Rock” was over, 117 rockets landed in various places in Israel, including Jerusalem and even north of Tel Aviv, while the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system downed another 29.
No normal democratic society would tolerate what Israel has tolerated over the past 13 years of missiles into populated centers. That is 13 long years! There are children who live in the communities affected, who have never known what it means not to hear a siren going off, that warns of an incoming missile. Children, who know where the closest “shelter” is located and who know that they need to reach that shelter within a few seconds of the sirens going off. Children, whose education and vacation have been interrupted because of constant missile threats. What about the concerns of their parents, the effects of such missile threats on the community as a whole, on business and on the quality of life? Some things speak for themselves.
The communities, cities, kibbutzim, moshavim and settlements are our buffers and first lines of defense against terrorist infiltration and attacks upon other, major population centers, like Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa, as well as smaller cities and communities. By failing to deal with the threats to their existence, they have been relegated to second-class citizen status – the few who suffer instead of the many. If rockets and mortar shells fell on Tel-Aviv, we wouldn’t wait for 13 years to deal with it. The time has come to put an end to the threats, to eliminate the terrorist, military infrastructure, so that our citizens can live without the constant concern of missiles striking the side of their residence. Maybe this time, “Operation Solid Rock” will succeed, not to restore calm for a season, but to remove the threat that disrupts that calm and restores quality of life to communities in the south of Israel.
Hamas, for its part, continues to use the media to spread its propaganda and say that Israel’s threats do not scare them. Hamas spokesman, Mushir al-Masri, said that at this time, there is no room for discussing de-escalation of hostilities. Quite the contrary. The focus of the Hamas is on drawing Israel into Gaza, to fight us on local territory. A senior Hamas official said that said that it would not agree to a ceasefire until “aggressions against Gaza” are ended. Hamas is demanding an end to Israeli air strikes and an end to the Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.At the same time, it is hoping that P.A. President, Mahmoud Abbas, would act to bring about an end to Israel’s military response. It also was looking to Egypt to intervene to stop Israel’s military response to the rocket barrage. But, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is opposed to the “Palestinian” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has ignored them and has kept the Rafah border crossing (between Egypt and Gaza) closed.
Abbas, for his part, demanded that Israel “immediately stop its escalation and the raids on Gaza” and asked the international community “to immediately intervene to halt this dangerous escalation which would lead the region to more destruction and instability.”
While Abbas was making his demands, Hamas was trying to manipulate the international community into believing that Israel was already committing atrocities in Gaza and posted videos and photos on social media websites, that are intended to support them. But, BBC Trending, the broadcasting service of the social media department, reported on Monday that some of the images are not only unrelated to the present conflict, but are 5 years old and are from conflicts from two other countries in this region: “Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects the airstrikes. Some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.”
Various Western media have reported on the massive rocket attack from Gaza against Israel. Some even appeared to justify Israel’s retaliation as being an effort to put an end to the terrorist threat against its citizens in the south once and for all. But, if “Operation Solid Rock” goes ahead with a ground offensive, which could very well happen in the next day or two, and that offensive continues beyond a few days, it is reasonable to expect that even though Israel is entitled to defend itself, world opinion will once again turn against Israel.
In the meantime, our leadership is not completely unified regarding the goals of the present military response. Some want to eliminate the terrorist military infrastructure, others want to eliminate Hamas’s ability to function and still others want Israel to take over control of Gaza. On the other side of the political scene are those who want us not to pursue a ground offensive and not to do anything which would jeopardize a future deal with the “Palestinians”. The U.S. added its two cents, as President Obama called on Israelis and “Palestinians” to “act with reasonableness and restraint”. One rocket fell on Jerusalem this evening. By God’s grace, no one was injured. I wonder how much restraint the U.S. would exhibit if a terrorist rocket would explode in Washington.
Tuesday is now over, but as this is being written, rockets and mortars from Gaza continue to be launched into residential communities here. The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system is working overtime at seeking and exploding incoming missiles. But, as noted from the statistics mentioned above, it cannot knock out all of the projectiles, particularly in a massive attack like that which took place yesterday and again today.
Hamas has thousands of missiles, some of which are long-range. It also has anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, which it is waiting to use against Israel when it considers the time to be right.
And THAT was the day that was.
God is reaching out to Israel, His beloved. We have again strayed from the Holy One of Israel. Hamas and the rest of the “Palestinians” are being used to draw the nation back to One who drew them with an everlasting love and with lovingkindness. Our leaders need to call upon Him and to rely upon His wisdom. Our military needs prayer to rely upon His strength. Our nation needs prayer to rely upon His guidance. May it not be that we would fail to “ask for the counsel of the LORD.” (Josh. 9:15)
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper … and their vindication is from Me” declares the LORD. (Isa. 54:17).
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,