Gaza terrorists have fired their second rocket in 24 hours on the Ashkelon coastal region in the umpteenth round of a gradual escalation of attacks on Israel that IDF commanders have said over and over are only a prelude to an assault on Tel Aviv.
No injuries or damage was reported Thursday night after Code Red early warning sirens wailed south of the port city of Ashkelon, home to strategic oil, gas and electric infrastructures.
A rocket last night hit the same area in what has been a rapid escalation of attacks from Gaza the past month. Sniper fire earlier this week killed an Israeli civilian working for the IDF on the security fence at Gaza, and the IDF immediately went into its usual mode of making headlines with attacks on terror targets, accompanied by the huffing and puffing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that “we will strike those who attack us, and “there will be no immunity for anyone.”
Of course, that is really true only when the missiles threaten Tel Aviv, which is what set off Operation Case Lead exactly five years ago, and when the missiles actually hit Tel Aviv, as in November 2012, when the army launched the Pillar of Cloud counter-terrorist operation.
Every assault on the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza ends up in a draw. Israel halts fire, surrenders to international pressure to be a nice guy and encourages Hamas to make peace by allowing dual-purpose item such as concrete and metal to flow into the area.
The next step is that Hamas used the materials to build hospitals and schools, which are great shields when launching missiles that it also builds with the same materials.
The “calm” gives U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry an opportunity to plow ahead with his program for a piece of peace paper between the Palestinian Authority and Israel while Hamas uses the lull in violence to build bigger and better missiles.
While IDF scurried this week to move Iron Dome battery systems to protect Sderot and Be’er Sheva, the threat on Tel Aviv is not propaganda and is not imaginary.
Israel destroyed Iranian-made M-75 medium range missiles in 2012, but Amos Harel, military analyst for Haaretz, wrote Thursday that Hamas no longer has to depend on Iran. Gaza has its only military-industrial complex to boost the economy and produce made-in-Gaza missiles destined for metropolitan Tel Aviv.
“Israel must take into account that in the next conflict, if and when it breaks out, Hamas will present a more significant ability to hit the Greater Tel Aviv Area, even if it is still marginal as compared to the abilities of Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Harel wrote.
All it takes is one missile, God forbid, to hit a factory, office building or high-rise apartment building, and Game Over.
All of the calls by the international community for restraint won’t get past the Mediterranean Coast.
If all of this does not seem like déjà vu, guess when the following statement was made by Maj. Gen. Tal Russo, who at the time was head of the Southern Command.
Another counter-terrorist operation in Gaza “depends on the other side. We are trying to enable residents of southern communities to live as normally as possible.”
He made the comment on March 26, 1911, between Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud.
A year later, then IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Mordechai said, “What will be different in the next war is the understanding that the IDF will need to operate a very large force at the start of the operation, and achieve objectives in as short a time as possible. The longer the operation goes on, the greater the challenge we encounter—also in terms of public opinion.”