Sunday, January 04, 2009

Israel Sends Ground Troops Into Gaza

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A tough battle in a densely packed area lays ahead. According to Olmert, it will not be over real soon:

GAZA — Israeli troops advanced into Gaza on Sunday under cover of heavy air, tank and artillery fire after opening a ground war against the militant group Hamas on Saturday night.

Witnesses said the Israeli forces had punched across Gaza, bisecting its northern and southern parts, and had taken over certain strategic areas, including what the military has described as rocket launching sites.

The ground campaign came after a week of intense airstrikes. Israel’s stated goal was to destroy the infrastructure of Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza’s government, and to significantly decrease the threat to southern Israel from Palestinian rocket fire.

In a telephone briefing for a group of foreign correspondents, a senior Israeli military official said that Israeli troops would hold the areas they have taken inside Gaza at least for the duration of the operation to prevent militants from returning to fire rockets from there.
Smart for PR purposes as the reason to attack was to prevent rockets from being launched into neighboring towns like Sderot.

Tactically, this is going to be tough for the IDF; Hamas members will hide among the civilian population much as al-Qaeda and the Fedayeen did in Iraq. It seems the Israeli's have something that we did not however, excellent intelligence. I would venture that intel collection has been ongoing since they vacated Gaza in 2005 and judging by the accuracy of hits on senior Hamas leaders, it appears the Mossad has been pretty successful.

Allah asks some important questions:

Question: Are we to infer from the timing that Obama greenlit the operation? I remember people like John Bolton speculating months ago that the IAF would make a run on Iran sometime between the election and the inauguration, partly to avoid putting the new president on the spot and partly to eliminate the possibility that he’d stop them from acting once in office. This ain’t Iran, but the principle still applies. Did The One sign off on this, or did Israel act now precisely so that he wouldn’t have to?

Isn’t this operation destined to be finished by Inauguration Day or very shortly thereafter? Obama’s not going to complicate his peace plans by tolerating a long Israeli incursion right out of the chute. They’re on the clock.
I wrote that President Bush had increased attacks on al-Qaeda in the case Obama was elected. Could the same thing be happening here? Israel as a nation is not quite sure how Obama will view them and given the latest poll, it doesn't appear that they can count on many Dems to go to bat for them. So they invade now and kind of take Obama off the hook since he's not been inaugurated but also in case he has misgivings about the operation, they won't be stopped or have weapons withheld.

Bush seems more than ready to let the IDF do what they can to eliminate Hamas over the next several weeks going so far as to stop Arab nations from halting the operation:

The U.N. Security Council ended emergency consultations that began late Saturday without reaching an agreement on the situation in the Gaza Strip.

France's U.N. ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said there were "strong convergences" among the council's 15 members about the need for a fully respected ceasefire.

But diplomats said the U.S. blocked Libya's attempt to call for an immediate halt to the fighting.
Exit thought: How long until we see Nasrallah and his Hezbollah goons start making some noise to try to relieve some of the pressure on Gaza?

More updates here and here.

Update: You can never underestimate the venom of liberals when it comes to Israel defending their citizens from rocket attacks.

Update: Hamas terrorists are taking out Fatah to preclude them from filling the power void. Yeah, they should have their own country.

Update: There's a lot of good commentary on this around the blogosphere. This would be among them.


Anonymous said...

Let us pray for the safety of Palestinian civilians who held hostages by Hamas and the safety of Israeli soldiers. May this campaign end swiftly and may Hamas be annihilated. May moderate Muslims emerge victorious in the struggle for Gaza!

Jack Steiner said...

Thank you for the link, I appreciate it.

Scott said...

It took Hamas to make Fatah look "moderate".

I hope civilian deaths are as low as possible and the Israeli's follow US doctrine when targeting.

Anonymous said...

I as an American, stand with Israel. Hamas is a bunch of thugs who our cowards and won't face Israel in open battle. They hide among the Palestinian people like cowards. I feel sorry for the Palestinian people but unitl you realize that Hamas and other terror groups like them are the problem, you will continue to live the way you do. I hope Israel wipes out Hamas and any other terror group that stands between them and freedom. Long live the USA and it's allies.

Anonymous said...

i hope the innocent people in gaza pressure hamas to cease firing rockets, to have a one sided cease fire is absolutely ridculous, israel has every right to bomb hamas into he stone age, they tried every other option, hamas asked for it, now they got it. the poor children. the citizens need to run hamas and any other violent entity out of gaza for peace to last. until all these violent cowards are eradicated off this planet, peaceful people have to defend ourselves with progressive levels of violence. they dont understand we dont want it to be this way,they begged for it, stand up gaza citizens !

Anonymous said...

"i hope the innocent people in gaza pressure hamas to cease firing rockets"

Unfortunately, innocent Gazans have no power to pressure anyone into anything. It's IDF's job to destroy Hamas in order to protect Israeli and Palestinian civilians.