Skip to comments.Israel steps up Gaza offensive as rockets fall and diplomatic efforts get underway
Posted on 07/09/2014 8:38:38 PM PDT by robowombat
Israel steps up Gaza offensive as rockets fall and diplomatic efforts get underway JOSEF FEDERMAN
Published Wednesday, Jul. 09 2014, 2:41 AM EDT Last updated Wednesday, Jul. 09 2014, 7:17 PM EDT
With rockets raining deep inside Israel, the military pummeled Palestinian targets Wednesday across the Gaza Strip and threatened a broad ground offensive, while the first diplomatic efforts to end two days of heavy fighting got underway.
Egypt, which has mediated before between Israel and the Hamas militant group, said it spoke to all sides about ending the violence. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in touch with Israel to try to lower tensions. And the United Nations chief warned of a deteriorating situation ... which could quickly get beyond anyones control.
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Israel said it hit more than 300 targets and Hamas positions throughout Gaza, including rocket-launchers, weapons-storage sites and tunnels that it said the group uses to carry out attacks. The military said 74 rockets landed in Israel, including one that reached the northern city of Hadera, the deepest rocket strike ever from Gaza.
Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing toward Israeli citizens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. The operation will expand and continue until the fire toward our towns stops and quiet returns.
Israel began the offensive Tuesday in response to weeks of rocket launches, and officials said the airstrikes would continue until the firing stops. At least 20 civilians were among the 61 deaths reported by the Health Ministry in Gaza. There have been no serious casualties on the Israeli side.
Thousands of Israeli troops massed near the Gaza border, the possibility of a ground invasion grew larger along with the risk of heavier casualties on both sides.
Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly, we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army, Yuval Steinitz, Israels intelligence minister, told Israel Radio. If you ask my humble opinion, a significant operation like this is approaching.
The government has authorized the army to activate up to 40,000 reservists, and Israeli TV stations said about a quarter of those forces had been called up, signalling a decision on a ground invasion could still be days away.
A ground offensive in Gaza would be a risky gamble for Israel. It could lead to heavy civilian casualties on the Palestinian side and trigger strong international criticism, as was the case during one that killed hundreds of Palestinians in 2009. Israeli troops would also be at much greater risk if they enter Gazas crowded urban landscape, home to 1.8 million people, especially for a long-term presence.
Tal Russo, a former general who retired last year as head of Israels southern command, said a ground offensive did not guarantee success. There is no such concept as decisive, and that needs to be understood, he told Channel 10 TV.
Aaaand where were those diplomatic efforts when Hamas was first sending those rockets over?? Hmmmm? Oh, sorry, it was working for Hamas until Israel retaliated, now we have to be diplomatic and bring pressure on Israel to desist and all that.
Israel faces a very difficult strategic situation. These Hamas rockets are merely a prelude. Soon Israel will find it necessary to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. When they do they could be subject to a devastating counterattack. Iran has long range ballistic missiles it can launch from Iran and no doubt short range mobile ballistic missiles in forward Syrian locations. It is not clear if Israel’s Iron Dome defense system can stop a critical number before severe damage and causalities occur. In fact if an Iranian counterattack is even partially successful, Israel’s enemies will now have a new way to bring chronic mayhem to Israel.
The response is DEFENSIVE.
Who knows what the future holds. Not just Iran, this whole ISIS/ISIL thing could turn nasty for Israel too.
Not to steal the thread topic but boy what a waste the whole Iraq war was if we let it fall to a militia. We could have divided Iraq, or just killed Saddam and let the militias fight it out before without risking so many American soldiers. Instead we tried to reform the country, left way too early, and look what happened. We needed decades to reform Europe and Japan after WW2, why would we think Iraq would reform in 25% the time?
And in retrospect it should have been predictable because the EXACT same thing happened with the so-called Palestinian Authority. Israel propped up the PLO and Arafat and put them in charge of West Bank (when Arafat in fact may have never in his life stepped foot in that land before Israel put him there) and within a few years Hamas became more powerful and eventually overthrew the PA. Funny we expect Israel to trust that this plan will work when it failed several times already. Israel can’t trust a negotiated deal with the PA - it needs Hamas to deal, which they say they wont - and for security reasons it cannot withdraw from the territory unilaterally. Tough spot. Maybe they can encircle it - take back the Philadelphi corridor (and/or flood it, to destroy the tunnels) and the Jordan Valley strip to control the borders and let the Palestinians manage their affairs. But as long as the are attacked they will need to occupy and/or fight back.
There are no cililians in Gaza. Gaza is all enemy, man, woman, grandmother and child