Israel commenced a ground operation about 90 minutes ago. Our acceptance of several ceasefires was not reciprocated. Missiles continue to target our civilian population, particularly in the South. As a result, a ground operation designed to dismantle the infrastructure for firing missiles and for otherwise terrorizing Israel has begun.
This is going to be a terrible battle because Hamas deliberately operates out of civilian areas, e.g. homes, mosques, hospitals, schools, and because they encourage/intimidate their people to stay put rather than to get out of harm’s way. All Israelis regret the unnecessary death and destruction, but we have a right to live in peace.
A bitter irony of this is the fact that Hamas initiated and is engaging in this war for reasons that have little to do with Israel. The reasons are:
1. The organization’s general decline in standing in the Arab world and with its people. This is a hail Mary to try to recapture lost stature and to rally their own people and the Arab world.
2. The demand that Egypt open up the Rafah crossing into Gaza. By closing the crossing and destroying the thousands of tunnels used to smuggle in goods Egypt has caused great hardship and, most importantly to Hamas, has cut off a large part of the supply of missiles and other weapons.
(Except for relatively brief temporary closures, Israel’s crossing has never completely closed. Humanitarian goods have continued to cross, even during the worst fighting. Gazan residents, including children in need of heart surgery, continue to cross into Israel for treatment.
Moreover, Israel continues to supply water and electricity to Gaza. The electricity supply has been decreased in recent days. The reason: Hamas missiles hit electrical lines. Yes, Hamas attacks the electrical supply of its own people. And, as crazy as Israel is in terms of continuing to supply Gaza and to care for Gazans in our health facilities despite its attacks, we are not sending our repairmen into harm’s way to get the electricity back up. At least, I pray we are not doing so.)
3. A wage dispute. Yes, you read that correctly–a wage dispute. After the Hamas-Fatah unity government deal, the Hamas PM and his colleagues stepped down. They had been paying Hamas’ 40,000 clerks and other employees to run things in Gaza. Fatah had been paying their people who were thrown out of their jobs seven years ago when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup–paying them to do nothing. Some of the funds for paying the non-working workers came from the U.S. and European nations.
Something akin to an arbitration venue was supposed to decide who gets the jobs and who gets paid. But, in the meantime, the new government started paying the Fatah clerks and told them to go back to work. They quit paying the Hamas clerks. Shocking as this might sound, but fights broke out at ATM’s, banks, etc.
Qatar offered to pay the Hamas clerks to do nothing. But banks would not do the transfers for fear of violating anti-terrorism laws. Hamas previously would bring cash in through Egypt and the tunnels, but Egypt would not allow it. So, the Hamas clerks are not getting paid. The Times of Israel quoted a Hamas leader as saying this is was one of the prime reasons for firing missiles into Israel. Until the Hamas guys get paid, Israel won’t have calm. They wanted Israel to lean on Abbas, who surely takes Israel’s counsel on wage disputes.
Hard to believe, I know, but this isn’t Kansas. Or anywhere sane, for that matter.
Watching international networks such as CNN International is infuriating. They love to tally the death, and they naturally love devastation. The fact that Israel has invested millions in shelters, alert systems, and in the Iron Dome (with much appreciated support from the U.S.) seems to greatly upset them. The manner in which the media and many European compare the Palestinian death toll to the very low Israeli death and injury toll leads one to conclude that the media and the Europeans would be much happier if only more Jews were killed.
Yesterday Christian Amanpour started her CNN International Broadcast: “Israel intensifies bombing after a brief ceasefire collapses.” The fact is that there never was a ceasefire. It takes two to have a ceasefire. Israel accepted it and stopped its actions for six hours. Hamas never did. About 10 sentences into the broadcast before she ever said that Israel accepted the ceasefire and Hamas never stopped firing rockets. Later she discussed Foreign Minister Lieberman’s stupid proposal for Israel to take back Gaza, a proposal everyone here in Israel knows is nonsense and will not happen.
CNN International is bought and paid for by the Gulf States and Ms. Amanpour is misleading and dishonest, at best.
Please pray for the safety of our soldiers and for a successful and prompt end to this war that we did not seek and do not relish.