Friday, January 2, 2009

Israel Set to Begin Ground War Against Hamas in Gaza

Curt Here....

Happy New Year everyone. This year appears to be starting off with a bang.

It appears as if Israel is poised to launch a major ground offensive in the coming hours or days into the Gaza Strip. It is beginning to sound like Israel is very serious about completely destroying Hamas and it's capabilities to launch rockets into Israel.

All of this has occured while up to this point Hizbullah, Syria and Iran have remained on the sidelines. One has to wonder if this major ground offensive by Israel into Gaza will cause these other countries and this terrorist organization of Hizbullah to act militarily. I think we will find out real soon how they will respond which could lead to some major fireworks in the Middle East.

One other thought for today. Is it possible that the reason Israel is so bent on destroying Hamas is because they know there is no possibility for peace with the Palestinians and peace in the rest of the middle east as long as the terrorist group Hamas is around? Could this all be part of a master plan that sets up a major peace agreement in the coming months after Hamas is destroyed? Remember, Palestinian leader Abbas and his political group Fatah are for a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel and have been trying to negotiate one for over a year. Hmmmm..... could be, but it is still way to early to tell. Something to look out for though.

Stay tuned.


Israel is poised to launch a major ground offensive into Gaza tonight after allowing hundreds of foreigners living in the devastated territory to evacuate.

After a week of air strikes that have killed at least 420 Palestinians and left scores of buildings in rubble, the Israeli army was set to fling hundreds of troops and tanks into a blitz to stamp out Hamas’s military wing, The Times understands.

Despite the looming onslaught, more Hamas rockets – which have so far killed four Israelis – were fired into southern Israel today.

The Islamist group vowed that its attacks, which have lasted for years and which finally provoked the massive Israeli campaign, would not stop.

“I call on the resistance to continue pounding Jewish settlements and cities,” said Sheikh Abdelrahman al-Jamal at the funeral of a hardline Hamas political leader killed, together with his four wives and 11 children, in an Israeli air strike on his home.

“We will remain on the path of jihad until the end of days.”
The funeral was held outdoors because an earlier air raid had smashed the mosque where the service was due to take place. Israel said the building had been used to stockpile weapons.
Among the mounting Palestinian death toll today were three young brothers, aged between seven and 10, who were killed in one of the 30 or so strikes carried out by Israeli warplanes across the strip.

All along the border, Israeli tanks and troops have turned fields into makeshift camps from which to launch their offensive into Gaza. The Government has already mobilised more than 6,000 reserve troops and has given the green light to call up almost 3,000 more.
Artillery barrages were also being fired into the strip while aircraft dropped bombs on open ground that the army will need to cross, and where Hamas has placed mines and dug tunnels to allow its guerrillas to outflank the invaders.

Support for Operation Cast Lead is sky high in Israel, with polls showing that almost 85 per cent of the public backing the campaign.

There is also majority support for expanding it into a ground campaign, despite the dangers of high casualties in an urban battlefield against highly trained and motivated guerrillas waging war on their own turf. Almost 42 per cent of Israelis wanted the army to move in, while 39 percent favoured a continued air campaign.

Hamas has an estimated 15,000 fighters who have used the 18 months that they have controlled the strip to hone their skills and transform a militia into a small army. Hamas’s military wing has been waiting for a ground offensive to face the Israeli army in open combat, despite Israel’s vast military superiority.

The onslaught has provoked large anti-Israeli demonstrations around the world, with protest rallies held today in India, Indonesia, Turkey and Australia.

But Hamas’s call for a “day of wrath” in the Palestinian territories produced only a lukewarm response in the face of clampdowns by Israeli security forces.

Several thousand protesters marched through the West Bank city of Ramallah, while in East Jerusalem youths threw stones at Israeli security forces and some 50 women demonstrated outside the Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque.

The demonstrators directed their anger principally at their own Palestinian leaders, and heads of Arab countries whom they felt had not done enough to stop Israel’s seven-day incursion into Gaza.

“Abbas is with the Jews, not with the Arabs. If he really was supporting and working in favour of our Arab brother’s in Gaza, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Um-Mahr, a 66-year-old resident of East Jerusalem.

Akram Jwaeibis, 58, said Arab leaders today were afraid to do more than voice criticism of the Israeli government’s actions. “Most of them just talk. That is why we are waiting for Nasrallah. Or Haniyeh to do something more than talk.”

Diplomatic efforts to contain the crisis were growing after Israel’s surprise offensive in the days after Christmas caught the world off guard. “We are working toward a ceasefire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza,” said Condoleezza Rice, the outgoing US Secretary of State.

“It is obvious that that ceasefire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a ceasefire that is durable and sustainable,” she said.

A high-level European delegation is due in the region at the weekend, as were Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Tony Blair, the international community’s envoy to the Middle East.

1 comment:

the70thweek said...

Some eye opening stuff here.

I'm not surprised Israel is moving in, that is completely understandable.

However the quote from the Hamas leader is eye popping, “We will remain on the path of jihad until the end of days.”

If I were Israel why would you believe a peace agreement or cease fire with that man/group was ever going to be honored.

I'm watching, Mike