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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘ground’

Winning ‘Defensive Shield’ Will Be Messy and Lengthy, But We Must Win, Now

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Assuming that the term “Pillar of Cloud” wasn’t selected at random by an IDF computer (which does in fact happen sometimes), we have a problem.  I have to hope that the name refers not to a strictly aerial operation, but to aerial bombardment preceding the entry of infantry and armored forces on the ground in Gaza, just as the pillar of cloud and fire preceded the Children of Israel in the wilderness.

If indeed the latter is the true meaning of Operation Pillar of Cloud (the Hebrew name for Operation Pillar of Defense), then it is going to run into opposition from Amram Mitzna and other high-ranking leftist officers, who already this week came out against a ground invasion to put an end to the terrorism.  They claim that the right tool for the job is aerial bombardment—and even that, only so long as it is restrained and limited to very specific targets, as in the assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari this week.

These are the same people who came out against a ground invasion during the Second Lebanon War, thus ruining that campaign.  Eliminating Hizballah as a military force simply wasn’t on their agenda, and whatever goals they did set were not formulated with any clarity.

The left’s argument is that it is necessary to contain the conflict in order to allow a peaceful resolution, to try to lower the flames and apply low-intensity conflict doctrine.

And what about the ongoing terrorist activity?

One of the leading proponents of this approach, a very senior commander who used to be identified with the right, recently told me that because it is possible today to the dirty work precisely and aerially, there is no need for Israeli control of Judea and Samaria.  The Mossad, he said, has managed to eliminate targets even in distant countries—obviously it can do the same thing in our backyard when necessary.  So, he concluded, there is no problem with establishing a Palestinian state.

The sort of operations you’re describing, I said, are special ops that require significant preparations and investments, not a general military solution for eliminating whole battalions and divisions of terrorists.

He maintained that it is sufficient to eliminate the heads and leave the armies.

Just, and Pragmatic to Boot

Whether we like it or not, the Arabs aren’t stupid.  There are enough of them who are capable of staying in bunkers for extended periods, such as Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who barely leaves his hiding place but manages to run operations against Israel from there.

There have been aerial attacks on specific targets in Gaza in the past, notably the one that eliminated Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.  Yet simply eliminating terrorist commanders isn’t enough.  Every time one senior terrorist is eliminated, he is succeeded by another.  So operations to take out the terrorists are important, but they have to be carried out generally, not specifically.  This not only serves to mete out justice to the murderers, but also is very much a practical necessity, because even with the head of the snake gone, the body keeps killing.

So how is it possible to identify every team of terrorists that sets out to strand a million Israelis in bomb shelters, or to identify all the little rocket launchers in Gaza, without having forces on the ground?

For that matter, without effective control of the territory, how is it possible to gather comprehensive intelligence on the entire hierarchy of murderers in a terrorist organization?

Anyone who aims to make do with targeted attacks, containment, and low-intensity conflict until peace is brought about by negotiations with the terrorists ought to keep in mind that we tried that in Judea and Samaria prior to Operation Defensive Shield, practicing restraint and waiting for a whole year while an unprecedented wave of terrorism engulfed the country.

This brings us to comments made by Colonel Moshe Hagar.  Hagar is not only a senior combat officer who worked on Defensive Shield, but also a great Torah scholar, head of the pre-military academy system, scion of a Chassidic dynasty, whose sharpness comes courtesy of the Torah and of his father Yehoshua, who died this year after finishing a book on the halachot(laws) of war and the redemption of captives.

Hagar argues that Defensive Shield must be brought to Gaza.  He acknowledges, though, that it will be messier and take much longer than in Judea and Samaria.  The delay in acting and the “Disengagement” have given Hamas two decades to build up forces that are more numerous and better equipped than those the IDF fought during Defensive Shield.

Even that was not easy, and the results were not immediate.  It took two years for the IDF to eliminate or arrest the terrorists, confiscate their weapons, and rehabilitate the intelligence infrastructure that had been destroyed when we gave the Palestinians overall security responsibility for the area in the Oslo Accords.

Hagar’s assessment is shared by Treasury Minister Yuval Steinitz.  Even with his familiarity with the difficulties, earned during his tenure as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset, he has long argued for a long-term ground operation in Gaza.  The minister is a philosopher by training, and as such is not disinclined to voice an unpopular opinion.  For years, since he was head of that committee, even before the revolution in Egypt, he has been arguing that it is necessary to put an end to the present situation on the southern front, including the border with Egypt and the Sinai Desert.

Lieutenant-General Yaakov Amidror, chairman of the National Security Council at the Prime Minister’s Office, says the same thing, but only off the record, due to his position.

Time is not working in our favor.  The longer we wait, the higher the price we will pay.  We need a ground operation, and now.  We need to do what we did in Judea and Samaria.  We need to take back control of Gaza once and for all.

Originally published in Makor Rishon, 16 November 2012. Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg.

Meir Indor

A Pillar of Fire at Night: Iron Dome in Action Over Be’er Sheva (Video)

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

We invite you to view a slice of ordinary/extraordinary life in Israel in this video.

Be’er Sheva is an ancient/modern desert city that most people visit, if they ever go there, because of its first-rateuniversity (Ben Gurion) and its hospital, one of the busiest in Israel. But like many forgotten places in various parts of the world, it’s also home for a certain number of people, nearly 200,000 of them.

Now that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and practically every other Israeli community in the southern half of Israel have experienced the blood-chilling sound of air-raid sirens in the past three days (and in some places, many repeats of the experience), it may be interesting for people living far from here to see and hear what it feels like from the ground.

We don’t know the exact number, but the residents of Be’er Sheva have experienced dozens of incoming missile warnings since Wednesday night. The one captured in this video involves multiple rockets flying in from Gaza. Through the magic of videography, they appear here as floating fairy lights in an ink-black sea of heavens above the ground-level festivities of an ordinary shopping center.

Then one after another in rapid succession they are extinguished. The reality of what is happening is much less poetic, but astonishing when you pause to think about it: an anti-missile technology that did not exist anywhere in the world is now knocking these terrorist flying bombs out of the sky as the ordinary folk who are the actual targets of an attempt to kill them in quantities watch from below and quietly applaud.

It’s larger than life. But it’s life. Our life, for now.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Gaza Op Likely to Continue for Weeks, not Days

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The IDF had hit numerous rocket launching sites in Gaza, particularly those for the long-range Iranian Fajr missiles. Before the weekend, there were fewer reports of rockets landing in Israel, and in particular no further sirens in the Tel Aviv area. If felt like it could be a trend. But it wasn’t.

IDF sources have indicated that the campaign will likely take weeks, not days. Its intention is to continue until the threat hanging over residents of southern Israel is ended, and indicated that a ground operation is not out of the question. The IDF is making concrete preparations for an invasion, although we have no way to know if a decision has been made to go ahead with it.

There is reason to think that both sides are interested in continuing the conflict at this point. Daniel Pipes lists several reasons why Hamas is prepared to fight, despite its comparative weakness:

* Test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s reelection. * Rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally. * Refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned “resistance.” * Remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza. * Rile up Israeli Arabs. * Pre-empt Egyptian plans to destroy Gaza tunnels, as Cairo cannot be seen helping Israel in a time of crisis. Israel, on one level, cannot allow its population to continue to be threatened. With the acquisition of longer-range missiles, the number of Israelis in range of Gaza more than quadrupled (not that the increasing pressure on the south could be allowed to continue).

Other advanced weapons in the hands of Hamas — anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles from Libya, for example — pose new threats. It is essential to restore a posture of deterrence against Hamas and the other terrorist factions in Gaza.

But there is another issue. The Iranian nuclear program hasn’t taken a break. The ‘secret’ negotiations with the US can only reduce the pressure on Iran. An Israeli attack on Iran is likely at some point. Even if the US takes action itself — which I doubt — Israel will be a major target of Iranian retaliation. A castrated Hamas will be less able to open an additional front at that time.

This suggests that maybe Hizballah — Iran’s main proxy against Israel — will be next. We have to remember that despite the damage that Iran’s proxies can do, they are ultimately proxies in the real conflict, which is with the genocidally antisemitic Iranian regime. Pulling some of Iran’s teeth in advance is a good strategy.

Israel is definitely not out of the woods yet. I can’t see any way to complete the operation against Hamas without a ground invasion. There will be casualties on both sides, and there will be accusations of massacres, war crimes, murdering children, etc. We’ve already seen some of the propaganda with faked photos, even some showingwounded in Syria that they claim are from Gaza! Hamas may have had most of its long-range rockets destroyed, but it still has numerous smaller ones. It still has the ability to perpetrate terror attacks inside Israel by means of its cells in Judea/Samaria/Jerusalem.

May the soldiers of the IDF, who are fighting not only for the state of Israel, but for all the Jewish people, finish their job in safety and success!

Visit Fresnozionism.org.

Vic Rosenthal

Shabbes Schlaf

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

An Israeli soldiers attending a training simulation of the ground war in Gaza, at a training base near Mount Hebron, Shabbat, November 17, 2012.

It’s been a tense Shabbat, up here, outside the range of the Hamas rockets. Although, supposedly, two rockets fell in Rammat HaSharon, well north of Tel Aviv and only about ten miles from Netanya.

Friday night we listened to the F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers flying over Netanya on their way south.

Shabbat in Shul, when the Ba’al Tefila before Musaf got to the part about asking God to watch over the IDF, everybody was silent, and said a very loud Amen. Normally that’s the part where you catch a brief schmooze about this and that with the guy standing next to you.

Some of us in shul were suspiciously better informed than the rest about what was going on, because they’d left their radio or TV on. Makes sense. When your own flesh and blood are in it, you must know.

So far, other than 1000 sorties of the IAF, there has been only a volley of artillery fire on Gaza, and the Navy has been targeting specific addresses in Gaza. Otherwise, no ground war yet.

Yori Yanover

Netanyahu Offers Temporary Cease Fire

Friday, November 16th, 2012

IBA News reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to acquiesce to the Egyptian request to not shoot at the Gaza Strip during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, which is expected to take place Friday morning and last about 3 hours.

A diplomatic source says this was the message that was transmitted back to Egypt, that the IDF will not shoot, provided that during the visit there will not be firing from Gaza into Israel.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio that the IDF is prepared for a ground operation in the Gaza Strip if Hamas refuses to commit to along-term ceasefire. “We’ll wait and see when Hamas will understand the message; if the message does not get through via the Air Force – we will expand the operation, ” Ya’alon told Aryeh Golan on the “This Morning “show on Channel 2.

Ya’alon added that operation “Pillars of Defense” is being managed well and emphasized that one of the goals is the destruction of Hamas’ more advanced weapons they’ve acquired in recent years, especially the Iranian “Fajr” missiles which can reach Gush Dan (Tel Aviv). He said that only has a few missiles remaining of this type, and the IAF is now operating to also destroy the Grad rockets.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Rockets Target Rishon L’Tzion and Updates

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

6:05 PM Official Statement from the Rishon Municipality:

We request from the public to adhere to the directives of the IDF Homefront Command. When hearing a siren, enter the nearest secure area; bomb shelter or room with the least amount of external walls, windows and doors. It is forbidden to leave the safe area till 10 minutes after the siren was sounded.  The municipality is now, at this very moment opening all the public bomb shelters

6:01 PM Since the rocket launch at Rishon, there is severe cellular service disruption.   5:59 PM 4 Grad rockets that were shot at Beer Sheva region were taken out by Iron Dome.  Ambulances are scouring the area.

5:51 PM 6 explosions heard in Beer Sheva region, Sirens in Chatzeirim (IAF airbase) 

5:49 PM IDF combat soldiers and ground troops positioning themselves near Gaza, preparing for ground incursion.  Waiting for “go ahead” from Government.  Soldiers continue to stream southwards in preparation… 

5:45 PM Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch confirms rocket launch towards Rishon LZiyon, says it landed, but not “in” Rishon. (Channel 2 TV) 5:42 PM Tzeva Adom / Air Raid Sirens in Sderot. 

5:36 PM No reported injuries in any of the recent attacks.  Waiting for confirmation of any rockets strikes (this time) in the Southern Edge of Gush Dan.  As of now, none identified by Israeli sources.

5:33 PM Another barrage of rockets at the Kissufim area (adjascent to Central Gaza strip)

5:30 PM Sirens all over the southern edge of Gush Dan / Greater Tel Aviv: Holon, Bat Yam, Rishon…rockets launches seen…. 

5:12 PM Mira Sharf HY”D, of Kiryat Melachi, killed this morning by rocket fire. Her husband Shmulik and and one year old son were also seriously injured. Their neighbor Aaron Semdaje HY”D was also murdered in the attack.Mira and Shmulik were planning to go to India to serve as Shluchim for Chabad. 4 years ago today (Rosh Chodesh Kislev) the Chabad Shlichim in Mumbai, India were murdered by Islamic terrorists.

5:03 PM Another barrage of rockets fired over Ashdod, air raid sirens sounding.

4:58 PM One of the rocket sites destroyed by Israel was dug in between an elementary school and a mosque. (Channel 10 news) 

4:53 PM CONFIRMED: Grad missile lands in open area near Rishon L’Tzion.No injuries or wounded.

Jewish Press News Briefs

War Knocking at Israel’s Door, Update on Upcoming Israeli Elections, and an Update on the Situation in Syria

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Mordecai Taub, an advisor for the Likud party and formerly involved with the Republican National Committee. Together, they talk about rocket attacks on southern Israel and the thought of a potential ground incursion by the Israel Defense Forces being used as a political movement by top Israeli leadership. They move on to talk about upcoming Israeli elections and how for the first time, Israelis are generally unsure of what party they will vote for in the elections. They end the segment by talking about the unsettling situation in Syria and how the Israeli government is working to ensure they aren’t drawn into the civil war that is raging there and also by discussing up and coming candidates to Israeli politics.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

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