The Gaza Hamas rocket attacks that killed three Israelis has triggered a reprisal resulting in air strikes from the Israeli military. If the Israeli offensive continues, it could culminate in an open ground war in the Gaza area.
According to Reuters, the Israeli offensive “began on Wednesday when a precision Israeli airstrike assassinated Hamas military mastermind Ahmed Al-Jaabari, and Israel shelled the enclave from land, air and sea.” Israel waited to respond until over 200 rockets had been fired into Israel’s civilian areas.
Six Hamas fighters were killed in Gaza, including eight civilians, bringing the death toll up to 15 lives lost. The civilian deaths included a pregnant woman with twins, an 11-month old boy, and three infants. The wounded number 130 according to medics at last report. On the Israeli side, multiple civilians were killed, with one rocket in Kiryat Malachi injuring two babies, one child, and another man.
Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian deaths by using a technique called “roof knocking” where they target a building “with a loud but non-lethal bomb that warns civilians that they are in the vicinity of a weapons cache or other target. This method is used to allow all residents to leave the area before the IDF targets the site with live ammunition.”
Those living in the Gaza area really do not have a chance if this conflict turns into an open ground war. Gaza has an estimated 35,000 fighters, which is no match for Israel’s standing army of 175,000, with 450,000 in reserve. Israel also has access to United States military technology such as F-16 fighter-bombers and Apache helicopter gunships.
“The Israelis must realize that this aggression is unacceptable and would only lead to instability in the region and would negatively and greatly impact the security of the region,” Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said.
Mursi was brought to power in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood after the downfall of Hosni Mubarack. The Muslim Brotherhood is seen as supporters of Muslim terrorist organizations like Hamas, which controls the local government in Gaza. As such, Mursi is supporting Hamas by calling for a “Day of Rage” in Arab capitals this Friday.
The United States condemned Hamas, which like all Islamic terrorist organizations refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate state.
“There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organisations are employing against the people of Israel,” said Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman.
President Obama is now openly supporting Israel during these Gaza attacks. Similarly, close US allies are accusing Hamas of being the problem and not Israel. British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a statement:
“Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza. The rocket attacks also risk worsening the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which is already precarious.”
On Wednesday evening, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting, calling for a halt to the violence, but taking no action to interfere.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious said, “It would be a catastrophe if there is an escalation in the region. Israel has the right to security but it won’t achieve it through violence. The Palestinians also have the right to a state.”
According to CNN, “[a]t least 196 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel ‘since Operation Pillar of Defense began yesterday,’ the Israeli military said. In response, the Israel Defense Forces said, it has targeted ‘156 terror sites.’”
As the Gaza attacks escalate we just have to hope that other Muslim nations do not decide to interfere, which would lead to an all-out ground war.