Sunday, January 04, 2009

Operation Cast Lead: Day 9

Israeli ground forces have effectively bisected Gaza and split the area into two sections. MSNBC wants people to focus on the death and destruction without reminding people that the reason that Israel is back fighting inside Gaza is because Hamas refused to stop firing rockets and mortars against Israel during the hudna and increased the level of attacks throughout the six-months that just ended.

The MSNBC lede says it all, 500 Palestininans killed, 4 Israelis killed. As though that is a tangible sign that Israel has used disproportionate force. I'm sorry, but there's no such thing as disproportionate force in war. There is either sufficient force to win or there is insufficient force. The number of dead Palestinians don't tell the whole story either. Nearly all are terrorists. All the Israelis killed thus far are civilians. Hamas had more than ample opportunity to fire and target Israeli security and Israeli military forces arrayed against Gaza over the past week; they've targeted Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Beersheeba instead. They are purposefully attempting to hit cities and civilians.

Had Israel fired indiscriminately against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the death toll would be in the tens of thousands. Israel warns Gazans residing in close proximity of airstrikes to get out of the way - giving away valuable time and opportunity to strike with the element of surprise. Hamas just fires indiscriminately.

Of course, no one would expect otherwise.

So far, more than 50 Hamas terrorists have been killed in the fighting according to IDF officials. That's a good start. There's plenty more Hamas to dispatch. Hamas leaders have warned their terror minions to switch out of uniforms and wear civilian clothes. They've also told their terror thugs to hide their weapons and watch how they move through Gaza to avoid Israeli detection. The terrorists know that an open fight between uniformed forces and the Israelis would mean certain destruction. So, they continue to hide in and among civilians.

Jerusalem Post reports dozens of terrorists have been killed, including still more commanders. 30 Israeli soldiers were wounded in mortar attacks, two seriously.
Dozens of Hamas gunmen have been killed by IDF troops. Gaza health officials said around 20 civilians had also died in airstrikes and shelling, including a 12-year-old girl, five members of the same family, and another eight civilians killed by a tank shell in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. The new deaths brought the death toll in the Gaza Strip since Saturday to more than 500.

Residents of the small northern Gaza community of al-Attatra said soldiers moved from house to house by blowing holes through walls. Most of the houses were unoccupied, their residents already having fled.

On Saturday night, 30 IDF soldiers were wounded in clashes with Palestinian gunmen, encountering fierce resistance from Hamas forces entrenched in fortifications just over the border.

Two of the soldiers were seriously hurt, three were moderately wounded and several others were listed as lightly hurt after they were hit by a mortar shell. Most of the wounded were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for treatment.

The IAF bombed some 45 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, including seven tunnels, several mortar firing cells and Kassam rocket launching cells.
Anti-war protesters continue to slam Israel's role in the conflict. Then again, this isn't really anti-war protesters agitating for world peace, but rather anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protesters who wouldn't mind seeing Israel gone. Their silence over Hamas' role in the conflict showcases their true intent. They ignored months of terror attacks on Israel, but only found their voice when Israel fought back. Their moral debasement is all too evident.

Israel is attempting to do a better job of managing the media and cutting off Palestinian propaganda. To that end, the Israelis cancelled Hamas TV.

I consider this a serious problem with Israel's plans: the Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is not considering entering Gaza City or the refugee camps. That means that Hamas will continue to operate freely in those areas and can continue to use civilians as human shields as they fire on Israel's citizens. I understand that the IDF wants to avoid civilian casualties if at all possible, but the terrorists have purposefully used human shields and Gazans are seen as cannon fodder for Hamas purposes. The dead are props to Hamas, nothing more. Allowing Hamas any breathing room is a mistake since it will mean continued misery for Israelis within rocket and mortar range.

The Muqata, Aussie Dave and Carl in Jerusalem continue their liveblogging and analysis of the situation.

For now, the US has blocked the UN from issuing a statement against Israel. The anti-Semites in the UN have long opposed Israel defending itself, and will demand Israel stop well short of any opportunity for true peace.

New York City officials are heading to Israel to show their solidarity with Israel, including Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Rep. Gary Ackerman. They were in Sderot, which has been the prime Hamas target for months.

Muqata's Twitter feed is reporting sad news; the first Israeli military casualty has been reported. Stay tuned for more details and additional information.

China has been providing weapons to Hamas. Other weapons, including heavy machine guns, used by Hamas were originally purchased by the US and Israel for use by the Palestinian Authority for security forces. However, they ended up in Hamas' hands when Hamas took over Gaza in 2006.

RS McCain derisively notes that Hamas will fight to the last Palestinian civilian as the terror masters are holed up in their bunkers surrounded by civilians.

Remind me again how the Hamas rockets, designed to inflict death, destruction, and mayhem are amateurish? The latest barrage of 45 kassams injured another six Israelis. 18 Israeli soldiers were injured during the first day of ground operations, along with one casualty.

The Israeli ground operation has split Gaza into three areas of operation. Egyptians and Jordanians leaders have expressed their displeasure over the ground operations. It figures. They have their own Islamists to placate, and are double dealing. They know that Israel needs to take this action - not only to protect Israel, but to save themselves from the rising tide of Iranian dominion in the region.

The Palestinian phone system is near collapse. That's a good thing for the Israelis since it means that the terrorists capabilities to communicate becomes that much more difficult. Of course, the media will also proclaim that this is yet another reason that Israel is engaging in war crimes or other such nonsense.

Hamas says that they've used only 5% of their capabilities so far. That doesn't bode well for them because Israel has used only a fraction of the military force against them. Israel also doesn't use wanton destruction to kill Hamas. They'd rather not engage targets in Gaza than inflict civilian casualties. No matter what the anti-Israel crowd might say, if Israel really and truly intended to kill Gazans, they could inflict such a bloodbath that it would rival what Syria's Assad did in Hama or what Saddam did during his decades of murderous rule. Their restraint is a double-edged sword as well, as the restraint gives the terrorists hope that they can simply outlast Israel's operations and that the world will tire of Israel's efforts to defend itself.

Syria is pressing Russia to stop Israel's defensive operations. That's rich given that Syria has looked the other way for decades as terrorists have used Syria as a base of operations. Hamas thugs consider Damascus home while they plot attacks on Israel, including Khalid Meshaal, who continues to make statements calling for Israel's destruction from the comfort of a Damascus address.

There were actually pro-Israel demonstrations in Paris today.

Israel had no choice but to engage in ground operations because of the underground stockpiles and caches of weapons and equipment used by Hamas in terror operations.

This is an excellent primer on the current conflict:

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