Morning brought news that the IDF hit numerous rocket launching sites overnight, particularly those for the long-range Iranian Fajr missiles. There were fewer reports of rockets landing in Israel, and in particular no further sirens in the Tel Aviv area. Could this be a trend?
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 showing wounded 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!