No end in sight in Gaza

Gaza20map "In Damascus, Syria-based Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, on Saturday rejected any deployment of international observers or troops in Gaza.

A statement issued by the groups after a meeting attended by Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal also rejected any security arrangement that "infringes on the right of resistance against Israeli occupation."

Palestinian security officials said some of the heaviest fighting Saturday occurred on the strategic coastal road north of Gaza City, home to 400,000 Palestinians. Israeli forces moved to within about 1 mile of the city before pulling back slightly.

While Israel has largely taken control of the road, militants operate from hidden positions in the area. The road is often used to fire rockets into Israel or attack Israeli navy boats off the Mediterranean coast.

At least 15 rockets landed in Israel, the army said. One hit an apartment building in the southern city of Ashkelon, lightly wounding two people and heavily damaging the structure.

The offensive has caused extensive damage throughout Gaza.’  Yahoo News


If the Kadima Party intention was to demonstrate its toughness, stop Hamas rocketing of Israel and withdraw from the Gaza Strip before the Israeli election, then the plan is not moving along very well.

Occupation of the open areas from which Hamas usually fires its rockets has led to a predictable Hamas change in operations.  Now they are firing from within the built up areas.  It should be expected that if the IDF penetrates farther and farther into the city, Hamas will fall back before them firing from farther and farther west until the beach is reached.  The IDF will have calculated the various ranges and I am sure have some expectation that at some points they will exceed the range capabilities of Hamas to fire into Israel.  How far that might be is an interesting speculation but it is likely that to reach those points the IDF will have to be well into the city.  One would hope that the operation ("Throwing Rocks" or whatever they called it) was not launched in the hope that Hamas would simply give up on firing their rockets.  To expect that would have been very poor analysis based on past experience.

It is likely that the IDF will be engaged in occuaption of the Gaza Strip under hostile conditions when the Israeli election occurs.  Will that favor Kadima or Likud?  I do not know.  pl

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26 Responses to No end in sight in Gaza

  1. Dave of Maryland says:

    If I understand your remarks on the Israeli army correctly, a long war favors Hamas. It’s therefore possible the Israeli announcement of an upcoming phase 2 is a feint, since Hamas did not respond favorably to the UN’s cease fire.
    Palestinian rockets might be an effective close-range anti-personnel weapon. As I understand things, Hezbollah fought the Israelis to a standstill in open country. Gaza is largely urban. I wouldn’t want to be an Israeli conscript.

  2. R Whitman says:

    It seems to me that it makes no difference which party “wins”. Neither will get over 30% of the popular vote or more than 35 seats in the Knesset.
    Besides you cannot have a serious peace treaty without the concurrence of Likud and Hamas even if they are not in power.
    Again I say that if peace is really desired it must be imposed from the outside. The children can’t do it themselves.

  3. Lysander says:

    It will favor Likud. That is the logic of brutality; if some isn’t enough then more must be needed. If no one says stop then that logic will eventually reach it’s final conclusion.

  4. Pat:
    Whole cloth from the new Aviation Week:
    Israel Breaks Hamas Supply Lines
    Aviation Week & Space Technology Jan 12 , 2009
    David A. Fulghum
    David Eshel
    Tel Aviv
    Douglas Barrie
    Israel’s battles in the Gaza Strip appear to show innovation and might
    Printed headline: New War, Fresh Ideas
    Israel has reintroduced tactical surprise—an obvious missing element in the 2006 Lebanon campaign—to its invasion of the Gaza Strip.
    In Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacked where Hezbollah expected. The stateless insurgents were well armed, dug in, equipped with advanced communications and waiting. In 2009, a week of preparatory bombing using a preset “target bank” pulled Hamas fighters to the northern borders of Gaza in anticipation of the standard IDF incursion. In the past, these assaults were countered by buried bombs and other improvised explosive devices that took a fearful toll even on the front-line Merkava tanks. Careful surveillance of IED sites and preemptive strikes also helped neutralize the buried threats.
    Instead, the Israeli army and Shin Bet security service forces made two westward ground thrusts into the Gaza Strip using the classic tactical formula of cutting the enemy army’s logistics and manpower sinews while further disrupting a command structure already crippled from the loss of conventional radio and telephone communications. Unable to communicate even by foot messenger, any coordinated military response—other than propaganda issuing from cadres in Egypt—is almost impossible.
    Israel’s combination ground, air and naval assault has cut Hamas’s lines of supply and communications at the Egyptian border and both north and south of Gaza City. This should ensure diminishing supplies, ammunition and food to Hamas fighters closest to Israel.Credit: AW&ST ART DEPT.
    In fact, the Israeli offensive has broken the Hamas operational area into four parts: the missiles and munitions smuggling route in Egypt, the weapons and food storage and training complexes in southern Gaza, the command-and-control centers in Gaza City, and the forward Hamas troops along the northern border. The availability of troops, food, water, ammunition and other supplies is expected to dry up with increasing rapidity in each area starting from the north.
    One Israeli spearhead rumbled through Karni Crossing at the midpoint of the eastern border with Israel and cleared a corridor to the sea. As many as 150 tanks were reported laagering in the former Israeli settlement of Netzarim. That move separated Gaza City from its sources of supply warehouses and tunnels along the southern border with Egypt. Israeli ground forces have been reported as far south as Khan Younis, about 10 mi. from Rafah on the Egyptian border.
    The second ground strike isolated Hamas fighters—assembled to repel an Israeli invasion along the northern border of the Gaza Strip—from its reinforcements, commanders and supply caches in Gaza City.
    The Israeli air force (IAF) supported the ground tactics by attacking tunnels from Egypt and buried supplies in southern Gaza, often using 1-ton, deep-penetration bombs to ensure destruction of underground structures. Aerial weapons in use include Israel Military Industries’ PB500A1 (a laser-guided bomb with hard-target penetration warhead and laser guidance kit) and Boeing’s GBU-39 small-diameter bomb, the latter used to destroy bunkers in the “Philadelphi line” near Rafah. That effort cut the smuggling routes from Egypt into southern Gaza, thereby creating a third logistical and communications barrier for Hamas.
    New technology introduced into the air battle include an enhanced automatic gain control that enables forward-looking infrared sensors to look through the fireball caused by an explosion for instantaneous battle damage assessment. Air liaison officers with the ground troops have real-time access to UAV imagery. Improved all-weather capability is allowing the IAF to acquire targets through cloud cover. Also in use is Rafael’s Spike ER missiles modified with anti-structure munition capabilities.
    The impact of airborne surveillance was obvious even in radio news reports from Gaza. As a background to broadcasts, there was the constant buzzing of Israeli UAVs monitoring the action in Gaza.
    Israel Aerospace Industries Herons and Searchers as well as Elbit Hermes 450 UAVs are flying around-the-clock out of nearby Palmachim AFB, which is also a space-launch facility and Arrow missile defense center. Observers say Israel is maintaining about a dozen UAV orbits over Gaza.
    Hamas has been firing Qassam, Iranian-made Grad and Chinese 122-mm. fragmentation rockets

  5. eakens says:

    “Israeli ground forces have been reported as far south as Khan Younis, about 10 mi. from Rafah on the Egyptian border.”
    Gaza is only 25 miles long, so 10 miles isn’t really that sexy when put in context.
    As to your question, I suspect if the rocket attacks don’t stop, then Likud will benefit.

  6. Will says:

    it may be disinformation b/ the news reported in debka & haaretz is not good for Hamas. Casualties and desertions.
    That the local Hamas were in Egypt (Masr) to accept an unconditional truce b/ it was scuttled by Damascus leader Khaled Meshaa.
    No matter how long they hold out against the hi-tech IDF backed by W Bush, they have outlasted the combined Arab Armies’ record of the Six Day War(as the Angry Arab noted).

  7. The leaflets reflected Israeli efforts to cast Hamas as the source of the conflict that has brought additional misery to Gaza’s 1.4 million people, …Israel hopes the suffering will erode support for Hamas…
    This has been the reason for acting all along. The rocket fire is simply the casus belli. We are now going to see how strong culture and personal allegiances can overcome the bottom two levels of Maslow’s pyramid.
    We Americans seem to underestimate the power of culture. I did for a long, long time. Over the last few years, I’ve changed my view.
    This film drove that point home.
    And at what point did the Germans and Japanese finally turn against their leadership in 1945?

  8. Abu Sinan says:

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
    This is exactly what Israel is doing. They havent even learned their own lessons well. What do they expect a people to do who are completely contained in a large prison camp? They are going to fight, they are not going to give up. They have no other choice. The Israelis should think Warsaw Ghetto.
    The problem is that Israel is clearly the agressor and the occupier, mentally and spiritually, they cannot accept this role. They cannot see that they have become what they have hated.
    Hamas will not stop firing their rockets. Even if they are destroyed another organisation, maybe more effective, will emerge. Another lesson they forgot from Lebanon.
    Israel cannot win this war, Israel must try find a peace before demographics puts it into a position where there is no other option than complete ethnic cleansing. I think that is the only thing that the US would not support from Israel.
    My wife was sitting looking at some pictures of the murdered children in Israel on the laptop and my two year old walked up and pointed at them and said “baby”.
    It is almost too much to bear and I dont have any dogs in this fight really. A Palestinian poet once wrote something to the effect that there isnt anything that has been done to the Palestinian people that has been recorded in a note book.
    Israel, someday, sometime, will get a payback that will bring back memories that it wanted people to “never forget” and unfortunately, this time they will have done a lot to deserve it.

  9. JohnH says:

    Deterrence is dead. Long live deterrence!
    Israel has bet the state on being able to reestablish its illusion of deterrence. The longer this goes on, the more deterrence becomes an illusion.
    But Israel’s intellecutal cupboard is bare. They have nothing else to fall back on.
    Negotiating with the Palestinians will violate a basic canon of Israeli faith–“a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rabble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they have given up all hope of getting rid of the alien settlers.” –Jabotinsky
    What’s remarkable is that, 60 years on, Israel’s awesomely destructive killing machine has not destroyed the resilience of the Palestinians.

  10. Mad Dogs says:

    MC, I used to read AW. Even had a subscription. One thing I eventually learned is that AW tends to view the entire world through the eyes of Western, and in particular, US and Israeli supremacy.
    I view their take on things with a jaundiced eye.
    For example, the numbers of Palestinian dead are around 800 or so.
    Even if all were Hamas fighters (and they are certainly not unless Hamas drafts 6 month old babies), that is 800 from a total of 15,000-20,000 Hamas fighters.
    Given the fact that Hamas retains the overwhelming majority of their fighters, I’d say the the AW view is at best wishful thinking, and at worst, rather poor Israeli propaganda.
    Note that almost all the information that Israel has produced in the last 2 weeks, has been incessantly rah! rah! about how well their multi-stage plan has worked.
    Again, more jaundiced eyes would say that Israel has done far more damage to their image in world opinion than gained success with their military or even political accomplishments.
    While I have no love for Hamas, should the Israelis be serious about undertaking their Stage 3 – Urban Warfare, their image is not the only thing that will be bloodied.
    For all the sound and fury of the Israeli actions, in reality, I believe they have accomplished very little militarily against Hamas, they have unnecessarily damaged their standing in the eyes of the West, and they are not one step closer to real peace. The hole has merely been dug deeper.

  11. LeaNder says:

    “Throwing Rocks” or whatever they called it
    “Cast lead”. You mean?
    I can’t help, but the “image” reminds me very much of of a really horrible O’Reilly interview with Yaron Brook. Cast Lead on a landscape, what do you think happens to live?
    The video was stunning but it has disappeared from the net. Here is a transcript:
    O’Reilly: Joining us now from Irvine California is Doctor Yaron Brook, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute. Now your Institute is calling for harsher military measures in Iraq, is that what you want to see?
    Yaron Brook: Oh absolutely. We want to see the rules of engagement in Iraq changed completely. We want to see the military place the lives of our soldiers as a higher value than the lives of Iraqi civilians. The only way to win [against] this insurgency is for the military to be a lot more brutal in fighting the insurgents than it is today.
    O’R: All right, but if you do that, if you throw out the Geneva convention and throw out a lot of these rules of engagement that we have … then you alienate the whole world, you create more enemies, because Al-Jazeera [an Arab news agency – A.W.] and these people, they’re running wild now [they broadcast photos of the mayhem – A.W.], they’d ramp it up tenfold, so, you have to consider the cause and effect do you not?
    YB: It’s the opposite, Bill. The weaker we are, the weaker we are portrayed, the more we prosecute soldiers for killing injured insurgents, the stronger the enemy becomes, the more confident they are, the more emboldened they are that they can actually defeat us …
    O’R: That might be the micro-view there … but you’re not suggesting, Doctor, that U.S. soldiers execute captured Iraqis are you?
    YB: I’m suggesting that we start bringing this war to the civilians, the consequences of this war, to the civilians who are harboring and helping and supporting the insurgents in Fellujah and other places.
    O’R: By doing what?
    YB: I would like to see the United States turn Fallujah into dust, and tell the Iraqis: If you’re going to continue to support the insurgents you will not have homes, you will not have schools, you will not have mosques …
    O’R: But then we’d be Nazis. You know that’s what the Nazis d …
    YB: No we wouldn’t be Nazis …
    O’R: Well yes we would, [3] let me ask you thi …
    YB: We’re the good guys, Bill, here. There’s an enormous difference, we are fighting …
    O’R: The Nazis thought they were good guys too. All right, but look, that’s what the Nazis did …
    YB: It’s irrelevant what you think you are, the question is what you truly are.

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    I actually did know the name of their operation. “Cast Lead” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me… pl

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    Barbara Sibold
    My e-mail button is just above “archive.” pl

  14. Mad Dogs:
    I concur with your take on AW’s view of US/Israeli supremacy but they usually have their facts straight and the information was fresh.
    Again, though, your caveat emptor is spot on.

  15. J says:

    Israel’s Gaza affair only underscores the need for we the U.S. to ‘discontinue’ ALL weapons sales/loans/supplies to Israel based on their ‘continual abusing’ of the Arms Protocol agreement regarding the intended use of the U.S. supplied weapons/weapons systems — for defensive purpose ONLY. Israel has ‘continually’ abused the U.S.’s good faith regarding the supplied U.S. weapons, and ‘continually’ have misused them for their bullying/offensive/aggressive purposes.
    Time to make Israel grow up and have to accept responsibility for their cruelty, their stupidity, and their recklessness.

  16. lalla says:

    The full name as reported in Arutz Sheva is “Operation Cast-Lead Draydels”. Draydels, dreidels, are special 4-sided tops given to children to play with at Chanukah. One of Arutz Sheva’s columnists cut to the chase and called it the Chanukah War.

  17. J says:

    It’s time that AIPAC and the Israel lobby were put on notice — are you Americans or are you Israelis? No longer can you have it ‘both ways’! You have to declare ‘one’ nationality — period. If you’re Israeli, then we’ll give you a boat ticket and wish you a fond farewell from U.S.shores. If you’re an American — then shut the heck up and stop your Israeli-firster nonsense! It’s also time to end ‘dual nationality’ STUFF that Congress errantly ok’d. They are either Americans or they are not — period, no more middle of the road!

  18. Will says:

    I saw in the Israeli online newapaper Haaretz that “Cast Lead” has something to do with a nursery rhyme.
    on googling:
    Yosefa Loshitzky explains that,
    “I am not sure that most people understand the meaning of the name “Operation Cast Lead” chosen by Israel for its …. attack on Gaza. The name is borrowed from a Hebrew nursery rhyme which was (and may still be) very popular among Israeli children in the 1950s. In this song, a father promises to his child a special Hannukah gift: “a cast lead sevivon.” Sevivon, in Hebrew (A dreidel in Yiddish) is a four-sided spinning top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. …”
    It must be an inside joke?

  19. J says:

    I say that the Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Iranians, Kuwaitis, etc., — the entire mideast all deserve a ‘day of rest’ from Israel’s continual stupidity. I know we the U.S. could sure use it. Sheez Louize.

  20. Halfnhalf says:

    I think “J’s” comment re: dual citizenship is right on. Especially since Obama’s chief of staff has dual citizenship: American and Isreali. Is he for us or for them? Wouldn’t that matter in the Middle East?
    BTW, I believe Wolfowitz also has dual citizenship. It might be interesting to determine which of our supposed leaders owe their allegiance to two countries.

  21. Eric Dönges says:

    For all the sound and fury of the Israeli actions, in reality, I believe they have accomplished very little militarily against Hamas, they have unnecessarily damaged their standing in the eyes of the West, and they are not one step closer to real peace.
    But by rejecting the proposal for an international peacekeeping force out of hand without even pretending to be considering the idea, Hamas has just given the Israeli propaganda machine invaluable ammunition. Hamas has just painted itself into the “totally unreasonable” corner.
    It seems the Palestinians are simply incapable of realizing that they need to stop preaching to the choir and aim their public relations campaign at Western, not Arab audiences (who are on their side more or less by default already).

  22. WILL says:

    The Col. noted that Tsiopara Livni in her willful ignorance pronounced Hamas Chamas although Hebrew has the aspirated H.
    Now I see where Hannukah is Chanukah. I noticed that the Arakic Hukimah (wisdom) is Chukima in the acronym CHABAD.
    These are some of the ?aspirated unpronouncable vowels in Arabic/Hebrew Ain, Ghain, etc.
    I think Al Qa’ida has one in the middle of it. ???
    As Hebrew is Southern Canaanite or Phoenician, the vowel and consonantal shifts have always interested me. The loss of the P, in Arabic for instance. Moshe to Musa, Shamsoon, to Samsoon The hard G for J in Egyptian. The substitution of J for Y from Latin to the Romance languages, etc.

  23. lalla says:

    I used “Chanukah” as written in the original. In this case, the source, Arutz Sheva, is a settler-oriented publication.
    Thanks for your interesting bits on FM Tzipi’s “willful ignorance”, etc.

  24. Binh says:

    They banned Arab parties from the Knesset:
    These parties earned the ire of the Israeli establishment for daring to call for equal rights for Arabs within Israel.

  25. Curious–What does a “Win” look like for Israel? For HAMAS?

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