Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israeli Airstrikes Target Hamas

Israel launched a major series of airstrikes against Hamas targets throughout Gaza, killing at least 150 people and wounding another 300. It's the single largest number of casualties in recent memory, and no doubt that Hamas will claim that the majority of those killed were innocent civilians. The Times reports that the overwhelming majority of those killed were terrorists (Hamas members as they call them), but there were some civilians killed, including children. That was to be expected given how Hamas purposefully hides behind women and children.

Israel targeted Hamas facilities including "police stations" and Hamas admits that all of its "security compounds" in Gaza were destroyed. While the numbers are staggering, the Israelis likely didn't hit all of the caches of rockets and mortars, which are hidden among civilian populations purposefully to maximize casualties should Israel defend itself.

It's also not unexpected that Egypt and the Palestinian Authority denounced the attacks, even though Israel has endured hundreds of terror attacks during the hudna in the form of kassam and mortar attacks that neither Egypt nor the Palestinian Authority nor anyone else for that matter would ever allow to occur beyond the first volley without massive reprisals. Egyptian authorities were quoted as saying it was a massacre. Hardly. Terrorists attacking Israel for years on end and who continued to attack Israel during the hudna were targeted and killed - just as surely as the Egyptians or anyone else in the Middle East (or the rest of the world) would target terrorists who seek to destabilize the regimes or carry out terror attacks. I don't seem to recall Egypt or anyone else complaining when the kassams were raining down on Israel.

Hamas resumed their kassam and mortar attacks, killing one Israeli and wounding several others. No doubt that Hamas will attempt to carry out many more attacks in the coming hours and days.

Watch for Hamas to trot out the dead women and children for the cameras to show the world just how barbaric the Israelis are; even as the media ignores the fact that the terrorists had been firing on Israel for years on end with the intent to kill and maim Israelis. Israel targeted the terrorists; Hamas targets everyone, including Palestinians with their actions. All the casualties are the fault of no one but Hamas, who refuses to accept Israel's very existence and whose actions are war crimes for targeting civilians, hiding behind civilians, and exploiting the casualties as propaganda against Israel.

Israel's chief of staff is considering the next step in attacks on Hamas in Gaza, but I think the delay is going to give Hamas breathing room and the opportunity to play up the casualties to gain sympathy from the usual suspects who find Israel's self-defense reprehensible.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Saturday's strike was, in fact, the first step in Israel's response to Hamas' breach of the ceasefire: "Following Hamas' violations of the truce agreement and the nonstop attacks on citizens in southern Israel, a decision was made on Wednesday, December 25, by the National Security Cabinet, to instruct the Israeli Defense Forces to take action in order to stop the rocket fire and terror attacks emanating form Gaza.

"The cabinet has tasked the prime minister, foreign minister (Tzipi Livni) and defense minister (Ehud Barak) with deciding on the time and manner of the said action. Following a unanimous decision, the three have decided on the Israeli Air Force strike which took place this morning. Israel stresses that it will continue to take action against the terror attacks and rocket fire emanating form Gaza against Israeli citizens," an official statement by the PMO said.

Saturday morning's strike targeted multiple marks in Gaza, reportedly killing dozens of Palestinians. The IDF said that Israeli fighter jets struck several Hamas infrastructure targets, including its headquarters, warehouses and weapon caches.
Where was this kind of attack after the first kassam striking during the hudna? It would have shown Hamas that Israel meant business and that they would no longer tolerate any kind of attacks at all. Instead, Israeli communities like Sderot had to endure months (years really since the 2005 disengagement) before Israel struck hard and fast against the Hamas terror infrastructure. Still, Hamas leaders have not been hit in any serious fashion, and Hamas can always regroup and rearm as they have in the past.

Also, note how Reuters and other media outlets are already showing the grim toll in Gaza from the airstrikes. Many are not for the faint of heart, but such is what war is about. These terrorists deserved their fate; they sought Israel's destruction and wanted to initiate a conflict, and that's precisely what they got.

More than 100 targets were hit, and is more than a little disappointing that French President Nicholas Sarkozy thinks that Israel's response is disproportionate. Where was his statement denouncing the hundreds of kassams slamming into Israel over the past three days that precipitated Israel's response? The world finds its voice only after Israel defends itself and kills terrorists; not before.

I expect (and got) the Arab world reaction, which is typical. Iran calls Israel's actions barbaric, which is laughable considering that Iran regularly calls for nothing less than genocide and the annihilation of Israel.

Via NJDHockeyFan at LGF, Reuters has world reaction, and most of it is expected. It's the typical moral equivalence from the Europeans, and the phony bravado of terrorists who call for Israel's destruction on a daily basis regardless of what Israel does - it's the existence of Israel that bothers them and forces them to fire rockets, carry out terrorist attacks, and otherwise cause mayhem and misery for all.

According to Hamas own spokesthug: 140 Hamas were killed:
Later, some of the dead, rolled in blankets, were laid out on the floor of Gaza's main hospital for identification. Hamas police spokesman Ehad Ghussein said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that three major Hamas thugs were killed:
The bombing hit and destroyed Hamas security structures across Gaza, the group said. A training base of the Hamas military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, was pounded in the north.

Hamas said three of its senior officials -- the Gaza police chief, the police commander for central Gaza and the head of the group's bodyguard unit -- were killed in the blitz.
Ed Morrissey notes that Hamas got the war it was looking for, and now has to suffer the consequences of their actions. They were long overdue for getting precisely what they deserved.

Both Carl in Jerusalem and Aussie Dave are keeping tabs on the situation. Carl wonders when the ground operation will begin. I don't have any special insight on that, but wonder just how long the Israelis will manage to keep the airstrikes going before they cave to the inevitable pressure to stop (which always comes just before the terrorists efforts collapse).

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