Monday, November 24, 2008

Gaza Operation Soon?

I believe that it is now a matter of a short time before Gaza explodes once more. The uncertainty that pervades this interim period prior to elections is bound to be exploited by Hamas. Close to 100 90 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip, including 35 on Nov 5, since the June tahdiyeh (calm) was announced between Hamas and Israel.

According to a blogger at
pajamasmedia a recent analysis, terror groups in Gaza have undergone a massive buildup in training and arms, and have expanded their tunnel networks for smuggling.

One representative for the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees told the London newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that terrorists have used the tahdiyeh “to train in the abduction of [Israeli] soldiers and martial arts,” and he threatened Israel with “unpleasant surprises.”

It is quite clear that just as Hizbollah has been rearming under the noses of the UNIFIL there is now a massive stock of rockets in the hands of Hamas.

So, as our blogger goes on to say “renewed conflict draws nearer”.

One option being considered for defending the citizens is the Iron Dome defensive missile shield seems irrelevant in the scheme of things until, maybe next year or even into 2010.

A reestablishment of the tahdiyeh (period of calm) could be considered after it officially expires on December 19. However, an extension of the ceasefire, much like the development and deployment of Iron Dome, would only provide temporary security and would not end Israel’s rocket problem.

Gaza operations: The third option is for Israel to launch a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. This option would be very unpopular among the Israeli public, as it would be dangerous and almost certainly result in many casualties.

Public sentiment notwithstanding, both sides of the political spectrum seem to agree that a military offensive in Gaza should be undertaken if rocket fire persists.

Yuval Steinitz surmised earlier this year, “The only way to eliminate rocket attacks is for Israel to launch a military operation.” He added that because Gazans elected Hamas, this gives Israel “the full right and duty to react.” In May, Labor leader [15] Binyamin Ben-Eliezer agreed, stating that Israel has “no choice but to destroy all the nests of terror.”

Let us not forget that Hamas’ charter, never changed, states that the aim is to destroy the Jewish state. This is repeatedly called for in the Islamist group’s speeches and sermons. Hamas sees its struggle with Israel as a zero-sum conflict. Thus, Israel can employ the first two options to temporarily protect civilians living in the south, but the attacks will almost certainly continue. While it is the least appealing, the third option will ultimately be necessary for Israel to experience a lasting quiet on the Gaza border.

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