As hundreds of rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and it’s suburbs today, killing a number of Israelis, it was clear that Hamas decided to escalate the conflict, crossing Israel’s redlines. Israel will be planning a major operation against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza in the coming days. Air strikes will be immediate against any firing positions, because rocket launchers cannot be allowed to remain, wherever they are, including in populated areas, because they are firing AT populated areas in Israel. The IDF will go through a pre-planned series of strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets as well.
BUT a substantial portion of both terror organizations’ infrastructures are located below ground and in some cases, beneath vital civilian facilities that Israel cannot attack. In previous conflicts, Israel has been content to “mow the grass” so to speak, to periodically reduce the capacity of the terrorist organizations ability to strike against Israel and discourage them from doing so for a period of time.
Now, however, it is likely that reserves will be called up, incursions into Gaza are likely, and even an invasion is a possibility. This will be a protracted engagement. Barrages of rockets aimed at Tel Aviv was the precise redline that Israeli officials have indicated would necessitate a major ground incursion in prior years. The impact of shutting down Tel Aviv and the surrounding area is such that nothing but whatever level of response it takes to prevent that from happening again, including the possibility of a full scale invasion, can be the IDF’s ongoing plan.
Another awful aspect of today has been the rioting by Israeli Arabs and the torching of synagogues in Lod in particular. Many years of development of coexistence evaporated today. This will have an ongoing impact on relations between Jews and Arabs in many cities, but it also will obliterate any possibility of even moderate left leaning, much less right wing, political parties being in a coalition supported by Arab parties. This now assures either a new Netanyahu led coalition or new elections.
Many, even on the left, will be very content with the latter option, knowing that Benny Gantz is the current Defense Minister and will have the confidence of much of the left to help guide a response to the current crisis.
In the coming days, as the situation develops, I will write more. For tonight, our thoughts are with the people of Israel right now as well as with all of those innocents in Gaza, who are being exploited and endangered by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with the backing of Iran, as Israel is forced to respond.
Am Yisrael Chai!