Friday, July 18, 2014

Tzuk Eytan (Protective Edge) Day 11

Tzuk Eytan (Protective Edge) Day 11

One Israeli soldier was killed and two lightly injured, probably by friendly fire, when Israel invaded the Gaza strip at approximately 10:00 Thursday night. According to most experts, Israel was drawn into this war by Hamas continuing to ignore the cease-fire. Thus Israel was drawn into a 'limited' incursion in Gaza.

“The easy part iOS over,” said Alon Ben David, military correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 TV, summarizing the first day of Israel’s land assault on Gaza. According to Ben David Israel has encountered and killed fifteen armed Hamas fighters, and destroyed approximately 10 underground tunnels. “But the hard days are ahead.”

Most analysts say that Hamas fighters were underground in their bunkers when the Israel Defense Forces entered the Hamas controlled Gaza strip on two fronts, both from the north, and from the south. Reportedly approximately 18,000 Hamas fighters came out of the bunkers at first light and began engaging the IDF, rising up like “mushrooms after a rain.”

Commentators say that Israel is taking extreme precautions not to harm innocent civilians. However, according to Ben David, many Gaza residents refused to evacuate the areas the IDF entered, even though they were warned in advance about the invasion. “They’re afraid to leave their homes hoping that if they stay the homes won’t be destroyed.” A dangerous risk, analysts say.

Hamas has yet to stop firing their rockets into Israel, approximately 160 a day. More were fired at Tel Aviv in the afternoon, but caused no injury or damage. Most of the most dangerous are intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Most pundits say that destroying the  all the missiles and their launchers before a cease-fire is declared is highly unlikely.

Israel’s cabinet met on Friday and decided that the incursion into Gaza would end within ten days.
The objectives, according to pundits, is to enter only a few kilometers from the Israeli border, search for and destroy tunnels that can be used to infiltrate Israel, or hide and then fire missiles, and pull out. Israel has made clear there is no interest in unseating Hamas from their position of authority in Gaza.

However, there are those who believe that the IDF may also lose patience with Hamas’ continuing to fire missiles into Israel, and ignore calls for a cease-fire,  and take down the leadership, allowing Mohamad Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, to assume control of Gaza. In 2011 the PA competed for control of Gaza with Hamas. The PA was soundly defeated, not only in the polls, but also physically. Hamas operatives literally tossed PA representatives off  the roofs of high-rise buildings. Or raided apartments of PA supporters and assassinated them.

Ben David said that Israel is also not interested in risking the lives of the soldiers in this limited operation. Israel’s army is much more organized in this incursion than in that a year and a half ago. They are aware of the dangers lurking in each apartment and around each corner and take the necessary counter-measures. Still, the fighting takes place in urban areas where identifying the enemy from a fellow soldiers is not always easy. “Careful, careful, careful,” a former general said, “is the order of the day.”

Diplomatic measures are on-going. One analyst said that the conflict has to be viewed in a broader perspective. “The is a fight between those who want a Moslem Caliphate running the Middle East, and those against.”  Saudia Arabia and Egypt are against, but the Moslem Brotherhood, Qatar, ISIS, and Iran, supported by Turkey, are in favor.

Israel is fighting against only one of the clients of this pro-caliphate movement. (Caliphates want an Islamic ruler functioning according to Sharia law to control all of the middle east. Essentially a Moslem dictator.) The Saudis, according to experts, have warned Qatar not to transfer money to Hamas.

In June 2013 the 33-yr old leader of Qatar, Crown Prince Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, overthrew his anti-Caliphate father, Qatar’s Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 61, and has since been a pillar of support for Hamas. Qatar is also the financial backer of Al Jazerra, the Arab news stationIn June 2013 The leader of Qatar, Crown Prince Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, overthrew his anti-Caliphate father, Qatar’s Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 61, and has since been a pillar of support for Hamas. Qatar is also the financial backer of Al Jazerra, the Arab news station.

The downing of the Malaysian airlines and the nearly 250 people aboard, stole the headlines from the Gaza fighting. With one missile terrorists managed to murder more people than died in the eleven days Israel has been fighting Hamas in Gaza.

Israelis are nervous. Nearly everyone knows of a family with a son in the army, either in Gaza or ready to go in.

So far no Iron Dome system has been discovered to detect the tunnels. Once that happens, in tandem with the Iron Dome,  the main weapons of  terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah will be neutralized. So far that hasn’t happened.The goal of terrorists goal is to invoke terror. Sending millions of Israelis into bomb shelters is an accomplishment, but as long as none of the missiles strike a rich target, or the  incursions by tunnels, or the  armed drones continue to fail, this entire exercise was a big waste for Hamas. One can only hope this failure will be the precursor to their disappearance from Gaza.