Friday, January 02, 2009

War With Hamas: Day 7

“Knocking on the roof,” is the Israel air force’s method of warning of an impending bombing. Israel knocked on the roof of Hamas leader Mufti Nazir Rayen on Thursday, but the radical Islamic cleric refused the warning. Reportedly Rayen had devised the tactic of sending residents of a building marked for attack to the rooftops to wave off the Israeli war planes, be them jet fighters, helicopters, of pilot-less drones. The air force has in the past fired warning missiles at a corner of the rooftop to disperse the residents. Now they’ve taken to “sound bombs,” to achieve the same results.

After the bombing of Rayen’s home, which claimed the lives of his four wives and eleven children, Israel continued the practice of warning Hamas leaders and then bombing their buildings. Two more leader’s homes were bombed today, but the leaders were absent.

The ground offensive has still not taken place, with pundits speculating that this was just another chess move by Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak to unsettle the Hamas leadership.

The international diplomatic efforts are to continue within 72-hours, and according to Yaacov Katz of the Jerusalem Post, speaking to Sky TV news, if Israel is to do anything, this is the window of opportunity.

Hamas sent over 20 rockets into Israel, including several into Beer Sheva, with no injuries reported. Israel has continued the bombing of the Gaza Hamas facilities, including the tunnels beneath the Philadelphi route.

One Hamas supporter in the Egyptian town of Rafiah said he has relatives in the Gaza side, and that his family had a tunnel in his house which exited in their house. They both work in the smuggling business, everything from cigarettes to refrigerators. He said the cement reinforced tunnels run 20 meters below ground. Israel has been pounding these tunnels with bunker-busters. According to this source Israel has been hitting the tunnels smuggling weapons, missiles, and fertilizer used as fuel for the rockets, but not the smuggling tunnels. This, he said, points to Israel’s intelligence information in Gaza.

Demonstrations continued in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against the Israeli attacks. Rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israelis near the West Bank Settiment of Ariel, and in East Jerusalem.

Rossane Bar, a Jewish comedian and TV star, was on a boat bringing in humanitarian supplies to Gaza. But the boat was turned back. Bar called the Israelis “Nazis.”

One political observer said that Israel must have a positive outcome to this incursion or the Arab countries, including Iran will see this as another sign of Israeli weakness. Israel reportedly wants to end the conflict as fast as possible, to turn their attention back to Iran. “Cast Lead” wrote one columnist, is preferable to enriched uranium.