We heard a siren in Jerusalem just before Shabat. First one since 1991's Gulf War. Rockets caused no damage or injury. Then tonight another siren in Tel Aviv, but the rocket was destroyed mid-air by the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. This system captures about a third of all the incoming rockets, and then only those aimed at dense population centers, not aimed at those projected to fall in open areas.
As for Gaza, I think Israel is hoping the Egyptians, with US prompting, will call for a cease-fire to take effect in a few days.
Israeli government officials, like Minister of strategy Boogie Ayalon have hinted strongly at this. Ayalon says Israel has a list of targets it is checking off its list as the hours pass and the jets continue their work. He hinted that once these targets are destroyed Israel will have competed the plans it has for this operation. However he also said should Hamas not back down then Israel was prepared to continue the operation and expand it. A call up of 30,000 reserve soldiers is meant, he hinted, to prepare for an expansion should it be necessary, but the impression was this was not something Israel wanted to do. Also, all the politicians surprised me by saying they weren't interested in toppling Hamas. Ayalon said the Palestinians chose Hamas and it was up to them to replace them if they wanted. Hamas was in the hearts of the Gazans, as Hezbollah was in the hearts of the Lebanese. If that's the government the Palestinians wanted, then the results would be what is currently happening. Asked where the Hamas leadership was Ayalon, hiding a slight smirk, said that Hamas' leadership was now hiding, just as Hezbollah's Shiek Nasrallah was hiding.
Reports so far that Hamas has sent over 550 rockets into Israel. Most either landed in open fields or were shot down by the iron dome. Three people killed yesterday in Kyriat Malachi when the rocket slammed into their apartment building. All were part of the Chabad community.
Egypt's Prime Minister visited Gaza today to show support with Hamas.
The Western World still supports Israel, understanding no normal country can suffer daily rocket attacks on their population. Israel's patience wore thin. The current action is a result. Where it leads is anyone's guess.
Rockets falling in Tel Aviv are upsetting the population that makes decisions. My kids were there. My son reported hearing a bomb. The army won't say exactly where the missiles land because then the enemy.
This is response to an e-mail referring to a link to a NYTimes article.
RESPONSE TO E-MAIL:
Most Israelis agree that Hamas isn't going to back down. Ideology and Arab pride won't allow a cessation any time soon. But also, that no matter what the Arab professor said in Beirut, a place that hosts no friends of Israel, Israel has no options but to defend itself. This isn't the old which came first the chicken or the egg. Both Hamas, a terrorist organization by international standards, and the Palestinian Authority, that was kicked out of Gaza by Hamas, have turned down generous proposals for a peace agreement. Once an Palestinian told me in an interview that the Palestinians are like the cat waiting and watching on the ground for the pigeon in the sky to tire, come to ground, and then the cat would pounce. Unfortunately, what seems obvious now is what the former IDF air force commander said, Israel has no choice but to keep flying, and when it tires and comes to ground, comes down armed and ready for battle.
Update over 700 rockets sent at Israel. 31 today near Beer Sheva, 16 shot down. Israel has flown 350 missions against Gaza.
Now it seems as if a cease-fire is on the near horizon.
Meanwhile, Israel TV reported that a leading Islamic Jihad commander in Rafiah, Gaza Strip,
was attacked by an Israeli missile in his car and killed. Also, during the day, the Hamas headquarters in Gaza was razed by Israeli bombs a few hours after the Egyptian Prime Minister visited the building.