Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, turned the heat up another notch today, when he approved the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) request to increase the maximum number of available reserves to 75,000, in anticipation of a possible ground war in Gaza.
Operation Pillar Of Defense continued on Friday, as the Israeli Air Force flew wave after wave of surgical strikes against Hamas backed missile crews and weapons storage facilities in Gaza. The Israeli military made every effort to avoid civilian casualties, but their task was hampered by the terrorists’ persistent use of civilians as shields for their attacks on Israel. Many of their weapons are stored in schools, private houses, and mosques and the rockets are launched from the rooftops of hospitals, factories, office buildings, and from farmers fields.
Increased fears of a possible ground war are also based on type of troops being requested by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. A large percentage of the reservists summoned are members of the Engineering Corps. The highly specialized units play a key role in assisting the movement of tanks and heavy weapons in the event of a ground war.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) spoke about the need to end the threat against the beleaguered population in southern Israel.
“The residents of the south are in the real line of fire, and only their strength will allow the IDF to meet its capabilities. Israel is passing on a clear message to terrorist organizations in Gaza that disrupting life in the South will not continue.”
While Israel would probably prefer to avoid another ground war, the tiny nation may not have a choice Despite the vast superiority of the Israeli Air Force, considered by many military experts to be the best in the world, the repeated air strikes have not been able to stop all the rocket fire from Gaza.
No one doubts the abilities of the IDF to mount a successful ground offensive and the opening strategies of the Israeli military are legendary for their crushing effectiveness. The real concern is the seeming inability of the government of Israel to maintain its political will in the face of international pressure.
There are many in Israel who feel strongly that the only reason the country is facing a ground war today is because Israel’s leaders bowed to severe pressure from the United States and the United Nations in 2008 and curtailed Operation Cast Lead before the IDF could root out all the Hamas terrorists. Others still wonder if it was just a coincidence that Cast Lead ended abruptly just three days before the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Today the world is a different place and President Obama, the Prime Minster of Canada and other important world leaders are all in Israel’s corner. No one wants a war, but one lesson must be learned from the pages of history. If a war does begin, the politicians should do their best to manage the nation’s home front and serve the Israeli people, but they should also resist the overwhelming temptation to meddle and let the IDF finish the job once and for all.
Twelve years of endless terrorist rocket fire on innocent Israeli citizens is enough. Israel must be allowed to live in peace and Jewish children should not spend their days waiting for the air raid sirens to order them back into the bomb shelters.
With the safety of her children in mind, Israel issued a warning to Hamas and all the terrorists in Gaza:
“Terrorists in Gaza should hide. Tonight won’t be calm in Gaza. We’re hitting hundreds of rocket launchers in waves of air strikes, including right now.”