Hamas has fired missiles close to the Israeli city of Ashdod, something that they previously had been unable to do. It confirms that Hamas had been stockpiling longer range rockets and missiles than they had used previously. They also managed to injure several more Israelis with their attacks. Israel believes that Hamas is still hiding longer range missiles and rockets to lull Israel into stopping short of its security goals.
The death toll stands at roughly 280 - nearly all of whom are Hamas terrorists, although media outlets will call them Hamas police or security forces. I will do no such thing because all those Hamas thugs are part of the terrorist group Hamas, an Islamist group that uses terror to maintain power, and is fully dedicated to using all the means at their disposal to attack Israel - especially terror. The media will also focus exclusively on the civilian casualties inflicted in these airstrikes and blame Israel for disproportionate force.
That's to be expected as well, and is especially ironic given that many of those speaking out would not wait as Israel had done for months enduring mortars and rockets on a near daily basis during a so-called ceasefire before launching reprisal attacks designed to eliminate Hamas' ability to operate. These outspoken world leaders would not target just terrorist meeting points. Many would pound all of Gaza into dust and do so with a callous and reckless disregard for all people living there.
Russia did not care who was in the way of their armies as they invaded the Republic of Georgia. Syria didn't care that there were civilians in Hama. The rest of the world shrugs as genocide really occurs in places like Darfur and Congo and Rwanda and dictators hold on to power throughout much of the Middle East. But they so easily vent their outrage when Israel defends itself and goes after the terrorists who bring so much misery to Israelis living fully within Israel's borders.
Where was all the feigned outrage when Israel was bombarded by Hamas and the other terrorists from Gaza on a daily basis? The UN, being the UN, is calling for a halt to the violence. Where were the calls when Israel was being attacked? Only now, when Israel fights back, do these nations and international organizations find their voice to condemn Israel.
That's really what this is about after all. Israelis can't live safely and fully within Israel's borders because many of these so-called outraged thugs and dictators consider Israel's existence to be outrageous. They see Israel as a threat because of what it has been able to accomplish in economic and technological terms even without oil and petroleum reserves. They see freedoms that rarely exist elsewhere in the Middle East except for a nascent Iraqi state. And these countries and entities back genocidal leaders in Hamas who continue their destructive policies towards the Palestinian people and seek to bring down still more violence on all around them.
Israel is sending reinforcements to the border, and could signal a prelude to a ground operation, although it is also just as likely that they are being positioned to prevent Hamas from attempting to storm the border, just as they had done against Egypt earlier this year. Hamas is also blaming the Palestinian Authority - Fatah, and Egypt of colluding with Israel. They might have a point actually. No one likes Hamas, least of all Fatah, who still remember watching and learning that their Fatah thugs in Gaza being tossed from rooftops because they were being ousted from power there. The PA is sending signals that it is ready to take over in Gaza should Hamas be ousted. That's still a bad outcome given that Fatah is no more interested in peace with Israel than Hamas, but their corruption and decadence over the years has slowed their interests to war; Fatah seeks to kill Israel with thousands of diplomatic papercuts, demanding concessions while offering nothing in return, and inciting intifadas when no results are forthcoming.
Egypt wants nothing to do with Hamas, especially after Hamas invaded Egypt's Sinai after breaching the border with high explosives.
Let everyone keep in mind the following:
But for Hamas not firing all those rockets and mortars at Israel, Israel would not have attacked with such force.
For Hamas, but for Israel's existence, Hamas would not have fired all those kassams and mortars and plotted all those terrorist attacks, infiltrations, and ongoing calls for Israel's destruction.
That is the calculus of this conflict, distilled to its essence. Hamas sees this as a war based on its ideology and its very identity. Hamas was formed with one purpose in mind - destroy Israel at all costs. Hamas is well on its way to destroying everything around them, but will continue to call for Israel's destruction.
So far, the massive bombings haven't affected the Gazans to consider sending Hamas packing. I wouldn't expect that to happen after a day and a half of attacks. After a month perhaps, but not so quickly. The Gazans, and Palestinians in general, have been conditioned to think that Israel is a paper tiger and that it cannot defend itself, and that Palestinians will ultimately bring down Israel and supplant it. They need to be fully and harshly disabused of that notion, and a day's worth of bombing is not going to get it done.
Some in the media will complain that Israel struck at a mosque. Big deal. As we've seen from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and from the West Bank and Gaza, terrorists love to congregate and use mosques as meeting points and to store their weapons and equipment. They're fair game.
Even Shimon Peres is noting that Israel is using restraint, which is surprising since he's usually outspoken against Israel's use of force to defend itself.
Hamas is preventing the wounded from going to Egypt for care. They want to stoke the humanitarian conflict, and are purposefully doing everything imaginable to increase the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Meanwhile, for all the talk about how Israel is carrying out "genocide", everyone knows that it is doing no such thing. A nation engaging in genocide against the Palestinians would not admit the very wounded terrorists and civilians caught in the airstrikes for medical care at Israel's most advanced facilities and still allow humanitarian aid to flow to the very people who seek Israel's destruction. Israel's enemies, including Iran, throw around the terms of genocide and holocaust to destroy the very meaning of those terms.
At the same time, Hizbullah must be wondering what to do next, and they're sitting on the sidelines for now. Some of their leaders may want to rush to assist Hamas, but they must know that Israel has learned lessons from the Hizbullah war in 2006 and will not make the same mistakes twice.
Hamas used the hudna to increase the range and capacity of its rockets to fire deeper into Israel. The attacks are no longer limited to Sderot and Ashkelon but are striking deeper into Israel. That's the folly of ceasefires and hudnas; the terrorists will always take advantage of the situation and rebuild and regroup their terror capabilities at the expense of all else.
The US media continues its disinformation campaign as well. The Washington Post (HT: Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades) notes that the Israeli reprisals have undermined President Elect Obama's chances of a peace deal. Never mind that Israel would not have had to attack Gaza had Hamas not been breaking the cease fire for six consecutive months and launched massive barrages this week in response to Israel's airstrikes against a terror cell in Gaza. They think that Obama will succeed where all others have failed?
Hamas doesn't want peace. It never has.
You cannot impose peace on someone who doesn't want it unless they're defeated in war. This is the war Hamas chose and they are getting exactly what they have deserved for far too long.
This isn't the first time that Hamas or the other terrorists have done this. They have purposefully located rocket launchers in civilian areas so as to maximize the chances that civilians are injured or killed should Israel strike.
Despite the terrorists purposefully locating their hideouts and bases and equipment and weapons in civilian areas, the overwhelming majority of those killed or injured are the terrorists. Meryl Yourish notes that 94% of those killed are terrorists. That's a mighty impressive figure. Even if the percentage is lower - 80%, that's still an incredible display of restraint and targeting efficiency.
Today's airstrikes included raids against the Gaza border smuggling tunnels that lead into Egypt. Israel claims that they hit 40 of these tunnels, but I suspect that they didn't get nearly all of them. Only a concerted ground effort and reestablishment of the Philadelphi corridor running adjacent to the border will result in a cessation of the terrorist supply lines.
At the same time, Scott Johnson notes there are those in the Arab World who no longer think that Israel is the main threat. They see Iran's true colors and while they'll pay lip service to the Arab-Israeli conflict, they know that the real problem lies in Tehran. They also see Hamas and Hizbullah as the proxy armies that Tehran can use to destabilize and attack their own interests. Hot Air has much more on Hamas' miscalculation.
A search of Getty Images shows the usual media bias. Throw Gaza or Israel into the search field and you see plenty of carnage from Israeli attacks on Hamas, but photos of Israelis praying near tanks (gee, evil Joos praying near their weapons of the genocide). No photos shown of all the kassams and mortars and the damage they have done to Israel. Just lots of wailing Gazans.
All the violence is what Israel has done in response to the Hamas actions, but you'd never know that Hamas carried out hundreds of attacks before Israel responded. You wouldn't know that Hamas has killed and injured Israelis even today - firing their rockets even deeper into Israel.
No one should expect the media to play this straight. They're too vested in seeing Israel diminished.
Jules Crittenden notes the planning and tactical measures Israel undertook to carry out the current operations. Others blogging the ongoing conflict: Aussie Dave, Carl in Jerusalem, Mere Rhetoric, and Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit.
Instapundit notes that this isn't something you see every day - Egypt criticizing Hamas. Well, I beg to differ with Instapundit on that, especially since Hamas invaded Sinai earlier this year.
MSNBC notes that Israel is busy pounding Hamas targets throughout Gaza and mentions that Hamas is busy firing its rockets and mortars at Israel. The White House puts the onus for the violence on Hamas, which is precisely where responsibility lies. The terrorists have carried on with their attacks all through the hudna. They deserve what they get, but the White House still manages to play both sides by calling for restraint.
Restraint is what got Israel into this mess in the first place. Israel has steadfastly refused to crush Hamas and destroy it, rather hoping that they can settle into an uneasy state of existence where there are still kassams hitting Israel, but not so many as to demand a response.
Meanwhile, Carl in Jerusalem notes that Hizbullah is making rumblings that might portend the opening of a second front.
At the same time, Gazans have once again invaded Egypt, breaching the border. That's a developing situation that bears watching.
Thousands of Gazans have breached the Rafah Crossing and illegally entered Egypt. This is the second time this year that Hamas and Gazans have breached the border with Egypt; the first was this past January. Egypt wants nothing to do with Hamas and the Gazans.
Egyptian forces opened fire on the Gazans who invaded the Sinai. Where's the international condemnations of Egypt for this violence? You wont get any, or it will be shifted onto Israel. This is the second time this year that Gazans have invaded Egypt and engaged in acts of war; Egypt's response is the same this time as last - firing on those breaching the border and trying to prevent more Gazans from entering their country.
An Egyptian security official said there were at least five breaches along the nine-mile border and hundreds of Palestinian residents were pouring in. At least 300 Egyptian border guards have been rushed to the area to reseal the border, the official added on condition on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.UPDATE:
A resident of the Gaza Strip side of the border, Fida Kishta, said that Egyptian border guards opened fire to drive back the Palestinians.
Residents have also commandeered a bulldozer to open new breaches.
Palestinians reported several people were wounded by the gunfire.
Israeli aircraft earlier bombed the border area in an apparent attempt to destroy cross border tunnels used to smuggle weapons and contraband into the Gaza Strip.
This is reason alone for Israel to continue hammering home the brutal lesson of Hamas waging war against Israel and not ever attempting peace. Israel expects Hamas capable of resuming significant rocket attacks. Well, they're still firing the kassams and mortars, so they haven't yet learned the lesson.
At the same time, it looks like Israeli intel was pretty good at targeting high level terrorists, including Hamas' so called chief of staff. Other top terrorists were also hit.
Oh, well this changes everything. A Palestinian infant died in one of the latest Israeli airstrikes. I guess Israel must call off the war, even as Hamas continues firing the kassams.
I guess we should all ignore the terrorists use of civilians as human shields - hiding behind women and children. I guess we should ignore the terrorists firing kassams and mortars throughout the entire duration of the hudna.
The world finds its voice when Israel strikes back, and yet couldn't muster even a weakly worded retort when Israel endured hundreds of kassams and mortars during the hudna.
Is it sad that civilians are dying in the fighting? Yes, but all the blame resides squarely on Hamas, who chose this outcome by refusing peace and seeking unending war with Israel. It is their ideology. It is their indoctrination. It is their very existence that is based on unending hatred of Israel.