In order to restore quiet to the region and stop Hamas terrorism, the IDF has commenced Operation Solid Rock (in Hebrew: “Tzuk Aytan”, officially designated in English as “Operation Protective Edge”, which is a real misnomer). The presently-stated goal of this operation is to stop the incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians by Hamas and restore quiet and calm to the south. The big question is “how will this goal be achieved”?
10 July, 2014
The IDF estimates that there are some 10,000 rockets and mortars in the hands of Hamas and other terrorists in and around Gaza. In round figures, since the start of the operation on Monday night, close to 400 rockets landed in Israel. The Iron Dome missile defense system downed about 100 missiles and the IDF attacked some 780 targets from the air and sea.
During the last two days, rocket against Israel have substantially increased, along with the number of locations here that have been targeted by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. Yesterday, missiles reached as far north as Zicharon Yaacov, along the Mediterranean coastline, a drive of about 25 minutes from Haifa. Hamas wants desperately to reach as far north as possible and Haifa is its goal. In the meantime, it is firing in the direction of greater Tel-Aviv area to the north, Dimona (where Israel’s alleged nuclear facility is supposed to be located) to the east, along with Beer Sheva and other locations throughout the southwest and as far as Jerusalem (4 rockets today) to the northeast of Gaza. I tried to attach a map that shows, from a broad perspective, some of the locations in Israel that were and are affected by the rocket attacks. Even though I copied the map and inserted it into this post, when I updated it, the map was blank. I’ll try to figure out how to do this for next time.
The map would have shown that Sderot residents have only 15 seconds and residents of Ashkelon have 30 seconds in order to reach a secure location once the sirens go off. Time passes very quickly when we are pressed to grab something and/or someone and run to a shelter. A woman with two very young children will have a difficult time picking them both up and making it to an protective enclosure on time.
By now, most of the television media have shown at least one barrage of missiles coming out of Gaza. The missiles are intended to wreak as much damage and harm as possible. One of the tactics of Hamas, which was used effectively by Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War in 1991, was to send missiles against Israel during the hours of darkness, including in the middle of the night. An attempt was made to cause us to lose sleep, so that we would be less functional during the day. Indeed, our enemies love the darkness because their deeds are evil (see John 3:19).
Rockets, missiles and mortar fire are things that are finite, even if the number of available projectiles run into the thousands. Many are launched by Hamas, many are destroyed by Israel. But, a satanic ideology and intentional perversion of history are things that are more difficult to deal with militarily. There is a great deception taking place within Islam. Lies about superiority, land and destiny are spewed forth to a population that is all too willing to accept the lies as their hope for a future. Death and martyrdom are exalted by their leaders and a no-compromise position is drummed into the hearts and minds of their followers, who are indoctrinated from childhood on. To get an idea of their poisonous, hate speech, listen to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister, as he reaffirms Hamas’ commitment to military action until the “Palestinians” conquer all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, namely all of Israel, not just Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”).
The same is true of Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal.
A propaganda commercial that was broadcast yesterday (9th July) on Al-Aqsa TV, threatens “suicide attacks on every bus, café and street Wait for the rage and for revenge for Gaza, wait for the flames of the West Bank, inside you.” (translated by Palestinian Media Watch)
But, it is not only Hamas that wants to destroy us. We have Arab members of Knesset, who want Israel to cease to exist as well. Ahmad Tibi, an outspoken Knesset Member from the Arab Ta’al Party (Arab Movement for Change – you can imagine what that “change” is), while attending an official ceremony of the “Palestinian” Authority, stated: “In the history of nations and their struggles, the Shahid (Martyr) holds the height of glory. There is no higher value than Shahada (Death for Allah). It is the Shahid (Martyr) who opens the path, and with his blood draws the path to liberty and freedom. The Shahid is the symbol of the homeland… Blessings to the thousands of Shahids in the homeland and in exile. Blessings to our and to your Shahids inside the Green-Line (Israel), those who the occupier wanted to be called terrorists, and we say that there is nothing loftier than those who died for the homeland.”
And then, there is Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi. But, that is another story for another time.
Why is Hamas provoking Israel to respond?
As we come to the end of the third day of “Operation Protective Edge”, we have to stop and reflect for a moment why Hamas did and is doing everything it can to escalate hostilities between it and Israel. We’ve touched on this before. Aside from the obvious blind, religiously-motivated hatred that it has for Israel and the Jewish people, Hamas is facing major economic, social and political difficulties and needs to regain the confidence of the “Palestinian” people. Politically, it may be at an all-time low. Egypt, who was once its friend under prior leadership, wants nothing to do with Hamas and treats it as an enemy. Even within the broader Arab world, other issues have taken a front-row seat, such as the terrorist organization IS (formerly ISIS) and the rise of an Islamic caliphate in places like Iraq and Syria.
The way that Hamas rose to popularity was to show that it can fight and is willing to fight against Israel, or so it was generally believed. Having done so once and survived (Operation Cast Lead – December, 2008 t0 January, 2009), it believes that it can do so again and achieve widespread popular support by striking against Israel and causing it as much damage as possible. It is trying to accomplish this by its seemingly unceasing rocket and mortar fire into populated Israeli territory. There are other goals, as well, which Hamas hopes that it would be able to achieve by a war of attrition against Israel, which it obviously believes it could survive. This would serve to revive Hamas in the eyes of the public, and in the broader, Arab-speaking community, in the same way that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Hizb’allah in Lebanon, was able to do after he survived the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Hamas knows how much Israelis value life and that we would go to great lengths to avoid another military involvement, particularly an extended military operation. So, it is hoping that public pressure will mount against the government of Israel to force Israel to reach a compromise solution that would include both an Israeli-initiated request for a cease-fire as well as demands to restrict Israel’s involvement in the area of Gaza and the Gaza Strip. Not the least of its “demands” would be the release of “Palestinian” prisoners in Israeli prisons. In their warped mind and perverted understanding of political leverage, they believe that they will be able to accomplish this by a prolonged and bloody battle on the ground, where their soldiers are willing to martyr themselves, as long as they can take as many Israel soldiers with them. But, we need to remember the major difference between our Israeli soldiers and Hamas – we stand in front of our women and children to protect them, while they use their women and children as shields to protect their fighters.
The present, massive rocket attack upon Israel and the expanding areas that are being affected by it, are not working to the advantage of Hamas. It may gain some political clout for a short period, but it will end up losing whatever it might hope to accomplish if the rockets keep coming and Israel keeps destroying terrorist targets inside of Gaza. A prolonged military encounter with Israel will not pay the wages of the thousands of Hamas employees, the bill for which Hamas was hoping would be picked up by the Fatah branch of the “Palestinian” Authority. Nor will a prolonged conflict help to re-establish parts of Gaza’s infrastructure that are slowly be demolished by Israel’s retaliation.
Israel also knows that a prolonged war, yes, war, with Hamas and its terrorist allies would not be good for Israel. The Israeli army is trained to get in, get the job done and then get out and try to get back to normal life. When it entered Lebanon and was told to “wait” until a cease-fire would go into effect, it suffered more casualties in the last 3 days than it did in the 30 days that preceded them. Also, rising casualty figures in Gaza could easily turn world sympathy away from Israel and back to the “Palestinians” in Gaza, placing tremendous pressure on Israel to reach yet another compromise with terrorists, that would not be in Israel’s best interests.
Israel’s goals in this present military operation need to be very clear and those goals need to be vigorously pursued. The military capability of Hamas and its ilk needs to be eliminated. If we stop short of this goal, we are only delaying the inevitable renewal of hostilities as soon as Hamas can regroup and re-arm. And, if its present leadership remains in authority when the hostilities end, then Hamas will have accomplished its goal of surviving to fight against Israel another day.
Reservists are called up
Israel has called up some 40,000 reservists. It has moved tanks and equipment along the border with Gaza and we are poised and ready to enter. The present goals of Israel to end the rocket attacks and to restore calm to our citizenry will only be able to be accomplished by military action on the ground. Interestingly enough, Mahmoud Abbas, who is proclaiming to everyone who will listen that Israel is perpetrating genocide against the “Palestinian” people and has compared “what is happening in Gaza” with Auschwitz, has already prepped his populace and told them that Israel will send ground troops into Gaza. Hamas wants Israel to come in and fight it “on its own territory”. It is not interested in any cease fire and doesn’t see that it has done anything, or is doing anything, wrong. Israel needs to be doubly careful about where the feet of her soldiers tread when entering enemy territory and a totally-hostile environment.
It may be another long night for many here. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who were injured since the missiles landed, whose property has been destroyed and whose lives have been disrupted. We pray for our leadership for wisdom, for our military that their arms would be upheld and strengthened and for our population that our eyes and hearts would turn to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, Who holds out His arms towards us, for He longs to be gracious unto us. If only we would take His hand and allow Him to lead us.
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. (Psalm 34:7).