Friday, July 18, 2014

The ground invasion begins

On Thurs evening, PM Netanyahu ordered the IDF to initiate ground operations against Hamas in Gaza.  There were several reasons for this, most notably the continuation of barrages of rockets from Gaza against civilian centers in Israel, including a salvo of at least 20 rockets fired against Tel Aviv Thurs evening.  Also, Thurs morning before the 6 hr humanitarian ceasefire went into effect, a group of 13 terrorists from Gaza entered Israeli territory via a tunnel and were en route to the village of Sufa, but were detected and intercepted by the IDF and were mostly killed.  Also, Hamas launched a second drone over Israeli territory, but this too was shot down.  All these hostile and aggressive actions, and the rejection by Hamas of the ceasefire on Tues, were enough to convince even the most pacific of Israeli politicians that the time had finally come to launch a ground offensive. 
After 10 days of battering by the IAF in response to the continual firing of missiles into Israel and the last day of intense action in northern Gaza, as well as the dropping of leaflets for 2 days warning civilians to leave their homes in northern Gaza and go to safe areas, the ground invasion finally started.  Both Israel and Hamas have representatives in Cairo with Egyptian Pres al-Sisi and PA Pres. Abbas, acting as intermediaries, and various other well-meaning countries, including Turkey, Qatar and the USA wanting to facilitate a ceasefire.  But, the reports of a possible agreement for a longer ceasefire on Friday were apparently unjustified.  Both sides have conditions for a ceasefire, but it is extremely unlikely that either side will acccept the other's conditions.  Israel is not looking to destroy Hamas altogether, even if it could, but Israel must insist that all missiles and rockets be removed from Gaza and/or destroyed under international inspection, and that rocket making facilities be removed (just as in the case of the chemical weapons in Syria).  If this is not done then the Israeli counter-action in Gaza would have been in vain, since as before the terrorists will simply start another war in a few years. 
On the Hamas side, they are looking for concessions from Israel, the removal of the naval blockade against Gaza, the permanent opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt (this must involve Egypt), the release of Hamas prisoners held by Israel (some in the wake of the murder of the three Israeli teens) and allowing Hamas operatives to transit Israel to the West Bank.  It is extremely unlikely that Israel would agree to any of these conditions.  By making the ground offensive, Israel is upping the ante and will be putting Hamas to the test, at some point they will see that they have no alternative and they will be forced to accept Israeli conditions for a ceasefire.
Note that the pressure from the international community is on both sides to come to terms, and even the Arab League has proposed that Hamas accept a permanent ceasefire.  Anyone with any understanding of the situation knows that Hamas is the aggressor and that all the casualties, including the Gazans, result from the fact that Hamas made no provision to protect its civilians, as well as firing rockets from civilian areas, telling civilians to stay in areas when warned to leave by the IDF and Hamas refused the initial ceasefire agreement that Israel accepted.   Under these circumstances the IDF will be busy destroying Hamas missiles caches and infrastructure (tunnels, underground bunkers) and no doubt killing as many Hamas military leaders as they can.  By then, Hamas will either accept a permanent ceasefire with Israeli conditions or they will no longer function effectively.    


Post a Comment

<< Home