Mon, 2008-12-29 06:18
Special to The Asian Tribune by Dr. Richard L. Benkin
On Saturday, December 27, 2008, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out a massive air strike on Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the terrorist group’s continued rocket fire on Israeli civilians. The attack, dubbed "Cast Lead" was directed at Hamas security installations, training camp, weapons manufacturing plants, and other Hamas military facilities. Sources from both sides of the conflict admit that there was not a single Hamas facility that did not suffer major damage.
A report by Israel National News said that experts called it "the most
lethal single day of bombing in the region in at least 41 years." The
casualty count is 282 dead (including several top Hamas commanders) and 330
wounded, but that should rise as more bodies are recovered from the rubble.
Even Arab sources are admitting that
It was hoped that the agricultural bounty provided by the hot houses, along
with the extensive Gazan employment in
Moreover, in January 2006, Hamas won an electoral victory in
Israeli defensive efforts put an end to Hamas’ suicide bombers and terror attacks on the Jewish state and so Hamas and its surrogates began firing rockets and missiles indiscriminately into Israeli civilian areas located in the Negev region in Israel’s south.
After the Hamas-Hezbollah War in the summer of 2006, the
In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an address to the nation Saturday night that the Gaza operation’s aim is "improving the lives of citizens in the South and giving them a normal life." With Hezbollah—the terrorist group occupying Lebanon—and Iran threatening to intervene, he warned that Israel would not hesitate to fight off any aggression. Olmert also addressed the people of Gaza saying that Hamas not they were not Israel’s targets.
In contrast, Hamas television on Sunday extolled the indiscriminate killing of Israeli civilians, showing pictures of injured Israelis and medical evacuation scenes. These scenes were overlain with include pictures of bloody skulls captioned, "let them taste violent death” and narrators screaming "send them to hell" and "tear them to pieces."
There was more evidence of the contrast between the two parties as the operation moved into its second day. Hamas responded by firing more rockets on Israeli civilians, killing one man and injuring several children. Israel, on the other hand, dropped leaflets in Gaza Saturday night and Sunday warning people to stay from the areas from which rockets have been launched and which the IAF was targeting. It flattened Hamas’ main security compound and started operations in southern Gaza. Hamas also has promised “hundreds” of suicide bombings in Israel, although they have been impotent in carrying them out for some time.
Israeli commanders are cautious not to be complacent with the air strikes’ success. That is what happened in the 2006 war, and it led to a much delayed and therefore much less effective ground campaign in Lebanon. Thus, Israel has called up 6,500 reservists and moved tanks close to the Gaza border. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would launch a ground offensive if necessary to end the Hamas rocket reign of terror; but has not to this point. The first objective of a ground war would be to destroy the complex of tunnels that were built with Iranian help and traverse almost the entire area. Although it was widely reported that they “shook a lot” during the air strikes, the tunnels were able to keep about 15,000 Hamas fighters safe. The second objective would be to cut of Gaza from Egypt at the Philadelphi border.
As a result of those assurances, many Hamas fighters emerged from their
underground lairs to participate in a public ceremony at which many Hamas
fighters were killed. On the second day of the offensive,
- Asian Tribune -