Israel invades Gaza
Thirteen years of pseudo-war, continued terrorism, and lately unprovoked attacks came to an end today. Israel has now invaded Gaza, from land, sea and air. The only remaining question is: will they stay?
Israel, Gaza, and irony
Thirteen years ago, Israel pulled out of Gaza completely. They left in place a treaty by which Israel has given electric power to Gaza ever since. This is one of the palpable ironies of the situation: one side kept shooting rockets at the other, and the other side gave them power and light!
Hamas, of course, started a desperate barrage of long-range missile fire. Your correspondent spent ten days in Israel in 2011. Of the sites he visited, only a few (including Galma in the Golan Heights) were beyond the reach of those missiles. But in all this, Hamas managed to kill only one Israeli citizen. He was bringing food to Israel Defense Force (IDF or Tzahal) troops in the western Negev. A missile hit and killed him instantly.
Two days ago, the Egyptians brokered a cease-fire. Israel accepted it; Hamas did not. Hamas kept firing. This was when they killed the one Israeli citizen in the western Negev.
This morning a five-hour cease-fire ended the same way, with Hamas missiles. Also, a Tzahal patrol captured a full Hamas sabotage team, complete with missile launchers and high explosives, coming out of a tunnel well north of Gaza.
For the last twenty-four hours, the Tzahal broadcast message after message into northern Gaza. Their message was plain: get out of that territory.
And this afternoon, or in the dark of night in Israel, the Tzahal at last made their move.
The invasion begins
Fox News Channel is in continuous news mode, and has been since about 15:30 UTC (11:30 a.m. EDT, or 19:30 hours MSD). Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed, burned, and killed all 295 souls aboard in eastern Ukraine, immediately west of Russia.
And while FNC’s newscasters were covering that, other news broke.
The Israel Defense Forces started to hit Gaza from land, sea and air, beginning at 19:30 UTC (3:30 p.m. EDT, or 22:30 hours IST). They likely cut the power – ending that particular irony. Then they moved in.
The prime minister and defence minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel.
Remember: the Tzahal had taken a full Hamas terror squad prisoner coming out of just such a tunnel. And confiscated missile launchers and similarly dangerous equipment.
The Telegraph lists several targets that Israeli intelligence already knew about: private houses and mosques where Hamas stored missiles, other weapons, and explosives.
In 2002, Yair Lapid wrote in the French outlet Terre Promise (The Promised Land) that any Israeli knew the sensible thing was to recapture Gaza. In May of 2011 Terre Promise reprinted that essay. CNAV translated it from French into English:
What does it mean to be an Israeli? You say, “They’ve got to go back in there,” without knowing who “they” are. You say, “We can’t go on like this,” but know that’s probably just how you’re going to go on. You say, “They’ve got to retake Gaza,” just to hear yourself say the words. You understand that any solution will not be simple, but you hope, all the same, that someone will find one.
Today, someone did.
Will Israel stay in Gaza? No news outlet can say. The government of Israel probably haven’t made up their minds. But CNAV heard another ironic thing directly, three years ago, from an employee of the Ministry of Tourism. While Israel occupied Gaza the first time, they set up farms and gardens. They gladly left these in place, in keeping with long-standing national policy. (Israel grants no patent having to do with agriculture. They release all their drip-irrigation and land-reclamation techniques into the public domain. They do it to forestall the inevitable global war over water.) Within weeks, those farms vanished. Arsenals and terrorist training grounds took their places.
Israel would thus have two reasons to stay:
- To make sure those arsenals and training grounds would go away and stay away, and
- To replant the farms and gardens to feed the local residents.