Thursday, November 15, 2012

War with Hamas

After four years since the last outbreak of major fighting between Israel and Hamas, Operation Cast Lead in 2008, the IAF hit many targets throughout Gaza yesterday.  The major strike was the assassination by missile of Ahmed Jabari, whose car received a direct hit and he was obliterated.  This was a measure of Israel's amazingly accurate intelligence on terrorist activity in Gaza.  Jabari as the head of the Izzadin Kassem military wing of Hamas was responsible not only for the barrages of hundreds of missiles fired into Israel, but also for the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit for 5 years and then his exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The IAF destroyed many underground caches of long-range missiles too, thus removing a greater threat to all of Israel.  
In retaliation, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations fired more missiles into southern Israel, causing a million Israelis to take shelter and hunker down in corridors and bunkers.  All schools and universities were closed and all gatherings of 50 or more people were banned by the Home Front Command.  The Operation termed Pillar of Defense will continue until Hamas stops firing missiles into Israel, and might require an IDF ground offensive.  
Egypt recalled its Ambassador to Israel, who only arrived recently, and warned Israel against its "aggression."  But, noone expects Egypt to directly support the Hamas offensive, partly because its military is in a mess and partly because it desperately needs US financial support in order to feed its 80 million people. Pres. Morsi also fears Hamas becoming too powerful an influence in Egypt. The US under Pres. Obama supported Israel's right to defend itself.  UN Secty Gen Ban ki Moon urged restraint on both sides. 
The Iron Dome anti-missile system, the first of its kind in the world, operated effectively, destroying many missiles en route to populated areas.  With the early warnings, the population taking shelter and the anti-missile system, Israel has so far avoided any civilian deaths.  But, the situation takes a heavy toll on people's lives, especially for children, who tend to suffer nightmares and nervous conditions.  Hopefully this outbreak of fighting won't last too long, and Hamas, taking heavy blows from the IAF, will quickly realize that it risks being destroyed and will soon call a halt on the missile firings.  To our family in Beersheva we wish you all to be safe.


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