For the third time in a month, the civilians of southern Israel are under rocket attack from the Gaza Strip. The IDF launched operation “Pillar of Cloud” to eliminate these attacks. Hamas’ chief of staff Ahmed Ja’abri was killed yesterday afternoon in an IAF attack. Over 100 rockets have been fired at the Israeli civilian population since, resulting in three Israeli civilian casualties this morning.
The current attacks began on Saturday night (Nov.10) when an anti-tank missile was fired at an army jeep traveling on the Israeli side of the border fence. Four IDF soldiers were injured. Since then, over 120 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians. The lives of one million Israeli civilians are being threatened and daily life in southern Israel has been totally disrupted. The residents of communities near the Gaza border suffer constantly from rocket and mortar shell attacks. These attacks occur almost on a routine basis, as do escalations of other types of terrorist activities carried out by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that operate under Hamas’ protection.
The breaks in between the waves of rocket attacks have become shorter. In the past month, Israel has been subjected to three separate periods of escalation. Since the beginning of the year, more than 800 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel, a record amount since the end of Operation Cast Lead (January 2009). This peak is similar to the attacks that occurred in 2007-8. The IDF and the Israeli Government have finally decided to put an end to this unbearable reality. Last night, the IDF eliminated Israel’s Osama Bin Laden.
The goal of Israel’s operation is clearly defined and is aimed at removing a strategic threat to Israeli citizens. Israel is not interested in a deterioration of the situation, but will do what it takes to defend its citizens and sovereignty. Israel has demonstrated great restrain for a long period, but cannot stand for the recurring attacks on its citizens. It’s clear no other country would accept a similar reality. Israel is acting in self-defense and out of its duty to protect its civilians from terrorist attacks.
It is the Israeli Government’s stance that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip and therefore is responsible for all that occurs in Gaza and all that is launched from there. It must be noted that Israel disengaged completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The result of Israel’s disengagement is that Gaza has become a massive terrorist base and giant ammunition dump. In addition, it provides a breeding ground for terrorist groups from around the world to organize and to operate, including groups associated with al-Qaeda and Global Jihad. All this under the rule, responsibility and sponsorship of Hamas.
Weapons smuggled from Libya, Iran and Sudan accelerated the process of Gaza turning into a terror base. These weapons also increased the danger posed to the Israeli population.
Hamas and the other terrorist organizations hide among the civilian population of Gaza. They also deliberately direct their fire at the civilian population of Israel. These acts constitute a double war crime. On the other hand, the targets of the Israeli operation are all military. Israel makes every effort to prevent harm to the civilian population of Gaza, sometimes endangering its own soldiers while doing so.
All this said, the border crossings from Israel to the Gaza Strip still remains open, allowing for the routine passage of goods and humanitarian aid to the citizens of Gaza.
Time and again, Israel has warned that it would not tolerate these attacks. Now it has finally acted on these warnings, fighting to defend its citizens and sovereignty, like any other normal country would do.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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