About two hours ago my husband said "Listen: there's going to be a Gaza operation". We heard planes going over for about 10 minutes. Israel is so small that an F-16 jet needs just about all the east-west width of the country just to turn around in. Our son-in-law, who belongs to an elite police unit similar to a SWAT team had been told last night to be ready to be on call; the formal "on call" notice arrived about the same time as we heard the sound of aircraft.
Tim Marshall, on Sky News, not particularly fond of Israel or Israelis, said a little while ago that he'd counted the number of rockets Hamas had fired from Gaza since announcing the "end" of the truce they'd never kept, and "I couldn't see how Israel wouldn't respond within a week". He also said he hadn't thought the Israeli response would be as severe as it is. The real problem, of course, is that it isn't severe enough. As I write this, three more rockets have fallen in Israel.
If you're watching TV now, Israel has taken out, with pinpoint accuracy, ALL the Hamas police [read: "army"] stations in Gaza. Since they have been deliberately sited in civilian areas, to provoke the greatest world sympathy, there are civilian casualties. The bodies of the unwilling Palestinian women and children are their greatest defense in the public opinion game; it is a completely callous decision on the part of Hamas.
What OUR government should do, RIGHT NOW, is get on TV with a news conference. Olmert, Livni, it doesn't matter. Both speak good English. That would pre-empt the Palestinian spokespersons who are already moaning on about the poor innocent women and children "slaughtered" by the inhuman Israelis. And what our government should say is this: this has been just a warning. One more rocket, at any time, anywhere, within Israel's borders, and we ratchet up the bombing. 2 rockets, and we will begin to target more and more civil facilities: power stations, water pumping facilities, everything short of hospitals. And NO more food, NO more fuel, NO more electricity, NO more water [Gaza is dependent on Israel for all these]. Nothing will be allowed in by sea, either. You cannot continue to bite the hand that feeds you. Total, and we mean total, cessation of hostilities against Israel is the only response we will accept. And our diplomats in Egypt should make it clear that supporting the Palestinians is regarded as a hostile act, not in accordance with the peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel.
It won't happen of course. Israel will be castigated for being nasty to the Palestinians [their nastiness to us is of course understandable, we being dirty Jews and all] and urged to relent, to allow ourselves to be bombed [Jews traditionally run and hide anyway, why not now?] and make yet more concessions to appease the poor, downtrodden Palestinian "victims" of "occupation" [in Gaza?]
It's happening now for several reasons. One is that Obama is perceived in the Arab world as being more favorable to them than to the Israelis, or at least, because he wants to "talk"[talk is for women; men act], as being weaker than Bush. And Bush is on his way out, what can he do? Another is that Hamas now claims it can hit Beersheva and the outskirts of Tel Aviv, and wants to see if it can. It has been using the so-called truce [during which rockets were fired continually into Israel anyway] to stockpile and increase the power of its weapons, a good deal of which came through Egypt, by the way, via tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza.
Husband and I will be travelling to Ashkelon later this evening, to pick up a client of Husband's, a mentally disabled veteran of the Yom Kippur War who stays in a Jerusalem institution during the week but with his relatives on the Sabbath. I'll try to update the situation later.
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