Tag: Gaza

Where I Get My News about Israel

With the onset of the Israeli response to the unending Hamas rocket fire into Southern Israel, many of us have been starved for news about the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza operation. [Picture at left is from Jerusalem Post, of a border police officer inspects damage, after a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists from within the Gaza Strip hit a house in Tkuma, near the southern Israeli town of Netivot.] Here’s where I get my Israeli news:

  • Israeli Embassy in Washington DC
  • AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Lobby’s Congress and the Administration on Israel
  • Near East Report, publication of AIPAC
  • Israeli Insider, website of news, views and shmooze. Collects many Israeli news sources
  • Middle East Bulletin, a publication of Middle East Progress at the Center for American Progress (centrist)

Why Israel Had to Respond in Gaza

Time Magazine reports on The Gaza Air Strikes: Why Israel Attacked:

Israel’s strike on Gaza had been expected for days, but it was still a surprise when it finally came. Taking advantage of good weather, which is forecast to last at least three days, Israeli planes bombed some 40 Palestinian police stations, posts and other targets early Saturday morning, killing more than 150 people including a number of senior Hamas military leaders. The first strikes came in a coordinated three-minute blitz. Israeli officials say the strikes were necessary to force an end to the rocket attacks from Gaza, which is ruled by the radical Islamist group Hamas after it split from the Palestinian Authority run by President Mahmoud Abbas out of the West Bank. Palestinian militants in Gaza have long launched Kassam and other rockets at Israeli towns across the border, and in the past six weeks the number of attacks has increased dramatically. After the attack, Israeli officials said the number of Palestinian rocket attacks could now spike to 200 a day. Hamas announced that it had sent a rocket toward Askelon; one man in the Israeli town of Netivot, east of the Gaza strip, was killed. Israel also expects Hamas to launch suicide attacks against Israel. A Hamas leader promised as much Saturday. But Israel is prepared to ratchet up the pressure still further in the hope that it will force a workable ceasefire. Saturday’s attack was authorized two days previously, and though no Israeli ground troops have crossed into Gaza so far, that remains an option according to Israeli officials. Dozens of Israeli air force planes remain in the skies above Gaza. “If they retaliate they will feel it stronger and the number [of casualties] on the Gaza side will rise”, a senior Israeli military source told TIME.

Watch video of dozens of Kassam rockets fired at Israel in wake of IAF attack.

How Do You Show Restraint When Missiles Rain Down on Israel? Imagine San Diego Suddenly Coming Under Rocket Barrage

The last time I traveled to Israel – January 2007 – our Or Ami Adult Trip to Israel bypassed the southern city of Sderot because of the daily barrage of rockets raining down on it. Some days they saw four to five; other days 40 to 50. We deemed it just wasn’t safe to bring the busload of travelers to that city.

The decision broke my heart. Imagine traveling through the Southern California, and being told by your tour guide that you could not travel to San Diego or Laguna because the city was being bombarded with missiles from Mexico. We Americans would not stand for such a situation for too long.

But Israel did. In that conflict – before Hamas agreed to a ceasefire – and recently, Israel and its Israel Defense Forces (IDF) showed incredible restraint, but it was reaching the end of its patience. On Christmas Day, the Washington Post reported:

Palestinian fighters fired about 100 rockets and mortar shells across the border in two days.

Israel’s foreign minister brushed off a call for restraint from Egypt’s president, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a direct appeal to Gaza’s people to pressure their leaders to stop the barrages. But the attacks showed no signs of ending. By nightfall, three rockets and 15 mortar shells had exploded in Israel.

And…

Thursday’s rocket fire was far less intense than the barrage of 80 rockets the previous day, and there were no reports of injuries. But Israeli leaders said the continued fire — the most intense since Egypt brokered a cease-fire in June — was unacceptable.

One of the mortar shells landed at Israel’s passenger crossing with Gaza just as a group of Palestinian Christians were going through on their way to the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations, the military said. Another rocket exploded after nightfall in an industrial park south of the coastal city of Ashkelon, police said.

And yesterday, December 26th, according to Ha’aretz:

Palestinian militants fired 22 mortar shells from the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday and early morning Friday, as the Israel Defense Forces continued its preparations for military action in Gaza.

The mortars struck the Western Negev, damaging one building. No one was hurt in any of the incidents.

Remember, Israel withdrew from Gaza with a hope and a prayer: a hope that the Palestinians would use this land and its promise to create a place for its own people to live and thrive. And a prayer: that Palestinians would show themselves as potential partners for an even greater agreement with Israel. Neither happened.