Saturday, December 27, 2008

Airstrikes in Gaza

The long-expected Israeli response to Hamas’ rocket attacks from Gaza has begun. So far there has been no ground action, only airstrikes. At least 200 Palestinians are dead, and one Israeli has been killed by a Palestinian rocket fired after the fighting began.

According to Fox News:

Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing at least 205 people and wounding 400 others in the single bloodiest day of fighting in decades.

Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

The air offensive followed weeks of intense Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, and Israeli leaders had issued increasingly tough warnings in recent days that they would not tolerate continued attacks.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would expand the operation if necessary. “There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting,” he told a news conference. He would not comment when asked if a ground offensive was planned.

But asked earlier if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, “Any Hamas target is a target.”

The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
- - - - - - - - -
[…]

Streets were nearly empty in Sderot, the Israeli border town that has been pummeled hardest by rockets. A few cars carried panicked residents leaving town. Dozens of people congregated on a hilltop to watch the Israeli aerial attacks.

Israel declared a state of emergency in Israeli communities within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) range of Gaza, putting the area on a war footing. A siren went off in Kiryat Gat, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the border, but early reports that the town was hit by a rocket for the first time were incorrect.

Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said the coming period “won’t be easy” for southern Israel.

Protests against the campaign erupted in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.

Several hundred angry Jordanians protested outside a U.N. complex in the capital Amman. “Hamas, go ahead. You are the cannon, we are the bullets,” they cried, some waving the signature green Hamas banners.

World reaction has been predictable, with only the United States laying the blame squarely on the actions of Hamas:

Spokesman For Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

“The secretary general is deeply alarmed by today’s heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel.

“[He] appeals for an immediate halt to all violence [and reiterates] previous calls for humanitarian supplies to be allowed into Gaza to aid the distressed civilian population.”

Gordon Johndroe, White House Spokesman

“Hamas’ continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop. Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people.

“The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.”

Spokesman For Javier Solana, EU Foreign Policy Chief

“We are very concerned at the events in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge everybody to exert maximum restraint.”

British Foreign Office Statement

“The only way to achieve lasting peace in Gaza is through peaceful means. Whilst we understand the Israeli government’s obligation to protect its population we urge maximum restraint to avoid further civilian casualties.

“We also call on militants in the Gaza Strip to immediately cease all rocket attacks on Israel.”

Russian Foreign Ministry Statement

“Moscow considers it necessary to stop large-scale military action against Gaza, which has already led to major casualties and suffering among the civilian Palestinian population.

“At the same time, we call on the Hamas leadership to stop shelling Israeli territory.”

Amr Moussa, Arab League Secretary General

“We are facing a continuing spectacle which has been carefully planned. So we have to expect that there will be many casualties. We face a major humanitarian catastrophe.”

Syrian Foreign Ministry Statement

“Syria is following with great anxiety the barbaric Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza… a horrific crime and terrorist act.

[…]

“Syria as president of the Arab League calls on Arab leaders to hold an emergency summit to assess the dangerous situation in Gaza.”

Hasan Qashqavi, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman

“Iran strongly condemns the Zionist regime’s wide-ranging attacks against the civilians in Gaza.

“The raids against innocent people are unforgiveable and unacceptable.”

And the most useless and mealy-mouthed reaction of all comes from — surprise! — the Vatican:

Rev Federico Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman

“Hamas is a prisoner to a logic of hate, Israel to a logic of faith in force as the best response to hate.

“One must continue to search for a different way out, even if that may seem impossible.”

22 comments:

blogagog said...

Blogagog Foreign Office Statement:

"The only way to achieve a lasting peace is to utterly destroy Hamas and its supporters."

Add that one to the mix please :)

Wired Grenadier said...

Let's just say, there are supposedly more than 200 dead. We all know how Pallywood works, and half the footage I have seen today looks so staged it's no longer funny. Also funny are the statements given by the various "witnesses" shown on TV, like "I was just leaving university and then Israel fired a missile into a group of girls nearby"... because that's a priority target, sure. It's so ironic that one cn so easily discern the truth from the lie because the "Palestinians" transplant their own twisted modus operandi onto the IDF, and don't even seem to notice that.

joeblough said...

While the arabs were shelling Israel there was complete silence from the rest of the world.

Now that Israel has finally started to shoot back, all of a sudden there are calls for "peace", and the new buzzword of this campaign, "restraint".

What a curious coincidence.

Alex said...

Israel has endured a ceaseless bombardment of hundreds and hundreds of rockets from Gaza in 2008 (far fewer during July-October; Hamas declared the "truce" over Dec. 19). Each of these rocket attacks was an attempted murder of Israeli innocents, including women and children.

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: Hosea 8:7

Ex-Dissident said...

can someone please translate what the Vatican said.

Profitsbeard said...

Hamas must be destroyed.

Their "truces" are ruses.

amerisrael said...

Condi Rice has also spoken up. Calling for an immediate cease fire. No surprise. She doesn't want Israel to succeed. In the 2006 fighting with Hizbullah she had charge of the negoitiations for the U.S. in the UN Security Council meeting. She was quick to agree to the weak 1701 Resolution with no teeth in it.

Vladtepesblog.com said...

If the 'palistinians' and Muslims stick to their time honored tradition of 'retaliating' on soft targets every person that can be identified as Jewish, especially in the west should consider themselves unsafe. At this time I think its reasonable to say that the words of the creator of the JDL, "Every Jew a .22" may have some credibility although I would think a .32 or larger would be the way to go. I do not wish to be alarmist. I'm simply looking at the history of Hizbolah, Hamas, Al Queda etc. even the recent and barbarous acts we saw last month in Bombay show a clear design and to ignore it is foolish and maybe even suicidal. At this time, jews need to be armed and prepared. They will not retaliate to Israel. They will to Jewish community centers world wide and Jewish people wherever they can.
Argentina.
Bombay.
France.
England.
Did I forget any?

Henrik R Clausen said...

Hamas doesn't enter 'truces', they enter 'hudnas'.

That's Islamoweaselspeak for "We need time to recover and restock before we resume fighting. Please don't shoot at us while we prepare to shoot at you again in the future."

Israel is doing the Right Thing, participating on a practical level in the War on Terror.

Good.

Afonso Henriques said...

I am neutral on this.

While I support the right of Israel to exist, I cannot say they are doing "The Right" thing but they for sure have the right to retaliate. In fact, I look to this as an interal affair of Israel.

What is strange is how things are portraid in the media. For some weeks the TV has said that Israel was preparing a massive offensive against rhe Palestinians. They say that for five minutes and in the middle throw a little sentence that must be ignored, saying that there were one or two rockets fired from Gaza to an Israeli desert or something. And that is why the Israelis will launch a massive offensive;
Today, the TV said Israel attacked the Palestinians for 30 minutes and managed to say that one Israeli was killed presumably due to the rockets falling from Gaza.

I may be naive, but I did not noticed any anti Israeli bias, just the usual poor journalism.

"can someone please translate what the Vatican said."

The Vatican said that Hamas has to stop having the killing of Jews or the destruction of the state of Israel as its raison d'être. And I agree. Then, they say that Israel shall not attack the Hamas, they should "give the other chick" instead. And meanwhile, stop following Judaism. This, I believe is stupid.

And then the Vatican says what they usually say: Don't worry and let's make love because that's what Jesus would do... :)

Lazar of Serbia said...

Lazar of Serbia

Kick them haaaaard!

Avery Bullard said...

Lazar of Serbia

Kick them haaaaard!


You do, of course, realise that when Serbia was fighting Bosnian Muslims and Albanians the Israel supporters in the media, especially America, were calling for air strikes and worse against the Serbian people.

I have not forgotten Elie Wiesel wailing like a Banshee on the day the Washington Holocaust Museum opened demanding Clinton do something about the poor oppressed Muslims of Europe. (I was angrier on that day than I was on 9/11). Who could forget when uber-neocon filth Bill Kristol said it was time to 'crush Serb skulls' over Serbia's alleged mistreatment of Albanian terrorists? Fox News Zionist columnist Morton Kondrake, a supporter of leftist NATO airstrikes screamed about 'Serbian bastards' on the McLaughlin Group around 1994-5. Israel fifth columnists from Commentary to VP-Elect Joseph Biden are almost to a man Serb-haters and proponents of mass Muslim immigration to the West.

As long as Israel's most passionate supporters in the West support Muslim domination of Christian societies and as long as they insist that opposition to mass immigration from Muslim countries is 'racist' I see no reason why we Westerners should support the non-Western society known as Israel.

babs said...

Wow Avery - How about if you don't support them but stop actively working against them? Do you think that if Israel weren't under attack from all quarters; their neighbors and the rest of the world through the U.N that they just might not be as beligerant as you seem to think they are?

And where did you get the idea that "as long as they insist that opposition to mass immigration from Muslim countries is 'racist' I see no reason why we Westerners should support the non-Western society known as Israel."

That is a new one on me...

islam o' phobe said...

I would criticse the Israelis for not fighting back sooner and harder. The Israelis are in the right in every way but even if they were not they would still be entitled to military self-defence against their aggressors.

I would also like to point out they were NOT prevented from fighting back by the two boogeymen of the American conservative blogosphere:

1) The World - Sorry but the U.S. and its State Department is the only entity with the power to restrain Israel, force it to accept ludicrous land-for-peace deals and legitimise Hamas as a "democratic" government.

2) Europeans - See above. Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post makes hash of this 'argument' in her column all the time. "The French hating Israel is nothing that keeps anyone here awake at night." - Caroline Glick

The supporters of Israel in the American media who were gung-ho about crushing the Serbs are very bad.

However I don't think the term fith-columninst is appropriate as neoconservatives such as Bill Kristol are happy to compromise Israel's security in order to advance their demented democracy-for-all agenda to the advantage of Hamas.

The blogger Israpundit recognises the shared suffering of Jews and Serbs in WWII and since.

[WARNING: The following link contains graphic photographs of murdered corpses.]

Israpundit on Balkan Genocide

kbarrett said...

Vlad: you can hide a .22 lr pistol damned near anywhere.

Some of the jurisdictions Jews live have strict victim-disarmament laws, so discretion is needed.

If even one of the jewish victims in Mumbai had had even a .22 pistol, there would have been less casualties ( and torture ) ... nothing disrupts terrorism quite as effectively as a terrorist getting shot in the back.

shire said...

For more than 50 years the Arabs have refused peace with Israel. They demand that the country cease to exist and have been trying to kill any Israeli and for that matter, any Jew they can find. They send murderous rockets into Israel not caring who they kill or injure. When retaliation occurs, they cry about suffering the same abuse they deliver. Let them stop and become partners in peace instead of continuing on their mad ways. Then there will be peace and prosperity for them too. They kill and if they continue they should be treated as they treat those they are killing and trying to kill.

laine said...

I apologize in advance if this is not allowed, but I have repeated a comment I made on another thread that appears dead as it applies here, perhaps more so.

Israelis are basically caught between a rock and two hard places. If they appease, Hamas or Palestinian rocket fire rains down demoralizing even citizens not yet within range with not a murmur of protest by the West's leftist media. If they retaliate, they receive fresh bad PR. Lastly Arab opposition to the Jewish presence is adamant.

"I disagree that it is mere envy driving the Palestinian derangement at having Jews in close quarters (though it may have been the case in Germany). It is something even more intractable than that - their religion and their definition of honor.

The Koran has many examples of Mohammed's commands to ostracize and even kill Jews as a result of bitterness at his documented failure to woo the Jews of Medina to his "new improved" religion at a time when he felt weak and vulnerable.

Arab "honor/shame culture" is also poorly understood in the West and surprisingly by Israel. The surrounding Arab countries were so sure they would overwhelm the new apparently weak kid on the block, that they instructed Arabs to depart Israel's borders "temporarily". The humiliation of being beaten by what Mohammed made clear are their inferiors can only be wiped clean by wiping out Israel, not signing pacts with her. Any pacts signed are mere takiya, lying to gain strategic advantage for Allah. Meanwhile, Israel may have won the war, but has lost the PR battle that ensued as Arabs purposely left Palestinian refugees to fester for world sympathy with the collusion of the UN.

Palestinians have evinced no desire to emulate the Israeli standard of living so it's not just a matter of envying the "Joneses". Handed the financial goldmine of Jewish greenhouses by Californian donors as Gaza was turned over to the Palestinians, they reduced them to rubble rather than continue to run them. They have less interest in handing their children clean water and education than a neighborhood free of Jews. They indoctrinate their pre-school age children in Jew hatred with Sesame Street type programming.

Unless Mohammed himself makes a reappearance and says he got it wrong the first time, Arabs and Muslims will continue to consider Jews a burr in their side to be eliminated.

If Jews had realized the intractability of this belief system, they would surely have had second thoughts about moving into an exclusively Muslim and Arab neighborhood. Now the situation is impossible.

As an addendum, Jews in the West are primarily left wing and have strongly aided the establishment of multicult allowing the recent flood of Muslim immigrants.

Another bad miscalculation.

babs said...

Heh, and I will now chase you from one thread to another with my reply...
Laine - I think you summed it up way better than I might have. The question is where do we go from here? Other than wiping the Gaza and the West Bank off the face of the map, I really don't see a solution. Do you?
I have hoped for many years that "Allah" in the guise of the Saudis would come to the table and offer a solution, the likes of total aid to the Palestinians by fellow Muslims. By that I mean jobs and health care, enforced stability of their gov't, etc. It just doesn't seem to be happening. I don't think any western brokered settlement will have an enforceability... In the final analysis, I guess I believe that only a Muslim power broker will be able to solve this, not the west. And that seems rather unlikely. Maybe if oil drops below $10/barrel will the Arabs be willing to do something about this. I know, it seems strange that I might peg negotiations to oil but I think the lower oil goes the more willing Arab nations might be to entering into a settlement of the Israel/Palestinian problem.
I'm not sure about much of what I say, I only am sure about the fact that this will not be solved by westerners. I don't care how many times Condi or Hillary charge over there, only the Muslim nations will be able to solve this.

Bilgeman said...

Ex-Dissident:

"can someone please translate what the Vatican said."

Hmmm:

"Rev Federico Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman

“Hamas is a prisoner to a logic of hate, Israel to a logic of faith in force as the best response to hate.

“One must continue to search for a different way out, even if that may seem impossible.”".

Uhhhh, nope.
It probably sounded a lot better in the Latin.

That aside, it distresses me no end that the Deiocrats of Pope Benedict appear,(and it might be the translation, mind you), to be using PC-speak.

"Logic of hate"?

What happenned to "Evil"?

Has the Holy See decided to get out of the "Good and Evil" biz?

Siddharth said...

well done israel...

-a Hindu

J said...

For too long those terrorists have been attacking Israel. Again Israel will be forced to stop before it has been allowed to finish the job. At least for now, they are able to punish the bastards.

As for civilians - for decades the bastards of Hamas and Hizbullah have launched rockets, mortars, missiles and artillery from civilian areas. It is not Israel's fault that civilians die. It is the fault of those that fired the rockets and missiles first and those that built their military, intelligence and command centres surrounded by homes, schools, hospitals and alike.

laine said...

Babs, I do not see a solution to the Israel Arab problem (though I have plenty for other parts of the world). Israel moved into a bad neighborhood for sentimental reasons. She was away too long from "the family home" and will forever be seen as an interloper by the squatters. It's kill or be killed there.

You're right that no Western power can solve this murderous situation and it would require a Muslim power broker and guarantor to strong-arm Muslims into the way favored by the West (2 nations at peace with one another). My point was that this is also impossible without a second coming of a repentant Mohammed. No devout Muslim following their holy book and prophet's example looks on a nation neighboring Jews as a legitimate solution, merely a takiya step closer to Israel's total annihilation.

The Western Left in muddying the waters with sham similarities (We all want peace. We all love our children etc.) have retarded full realization of just how intractable the differences are between Muslim and non-Muslim. They do not love their children in a way that a westerner comprehends. They think a Jew-free environment is the greatest gift they can give their children and if their children lose their lives in the process, being trained martyrs or collateral damage, well "inshallah/so be it" they go straight to Muslim heaven AND get their parents an express ticket as well.

Non-Muslims around the world whether Christian, Hindu, Buddhist whatever, have demonstrated in deeds their preference and ability to live in peace with other religious groups. One so-called religion is not like the others. It is supremacist. It co-operates only as long as it is a weak minority to squeeze out as many privileges for itself as possible, among them the right to sharia law. When it is a sizeable majority through immigration and over-breeding, the mayhem begins (ask India). Wherever it dominates, other religions are oppressed.

Where is the spokesman for the West who will point out this elephant in the room? That it is Muslims and Muslims alone who prove time and time again that they will not play nicely with the other religions? That their bogus ecumenical initiatives are all about securing more privileges and protection for Muslims with ABSOLUTELY NO RECIPROCITY?

The Saudis last inter-religious gabfest was not held on Saudi land which would be polluted by the attendance of non-Muslims. They should have been called on the blatant hypocrisy and told that until they host such a thing on their own ground, they have no business pretending tolerance while demanding it of others.

Back to Israel. Well, I guess the scenario of starting Israel II somewhere with enough sparsely populated land that they can buy a similar geographical area in a better neighborhood is out? So is packing their bags and emigrating to the Jewish diaspora in the West who should welcome hard working educated immigrants? Though both these proposals make Muslims the temporary victors, they at least remove the first target for Iran's nuclear arms.

Then of course there's the kill before being killed option or the kill after sustaining a lethal first strike. If committed to these solutions, Israel has to go big. The Arab mind respects force. They read all appeasement and negotiation as weakness.

I think if I were Jewish prime minister, I would use some kind of Socratic method to lead the world into admission of the Palestinian/Muslim true agenda.

Firstly, not nearly enough has been made of the controlled experiment of Gaza. Is it a pilot study for a functioning Palestinian state or a fortified outpost for attacking Israel at close quarters? Where is the famous Jewish know-how and gift of the gab to get out the correct message?

Make a generous high profile offer to give technological expertise to help set up a hospital in Palestine (preferably in an area that Israelis would like to be free of Palestinian bombs) with the proviso that Palestinians provide all the manpower, including Arab doctors and nurses returning from the West to help their community, materials provided by Arab nations etc. Call the Muslims' bluff. Put the onus on them to do something remotely constructive. Then shine the news light brightly. If there is legitimate co-operation by Muslims with Jews to build a state of the art hospital...that will cause much gnashing of teeth in the Arab world but joined with modest successes in Iraq may indicate an alternative way, a tempting way to any rational actors remaining among Palestinians. If Muslims fail at this, hiving off with money and materials for nefarious purposes, no medical personnel willing to lift a finger to help their fellow Muslims etc. then quod erat demonstrandum - the Palestinians are not a people at least in the modern sense but merely a barbaric tribe that cannot be trusted nor negotiated with.

Israel should widely advertise the experiment, its progress or lack thereof and in the end after the most likely outcome say "See? They are not really interested in building a nation but in destroying ours. We will now act accordingly"...and to hell with what "the World" meaning the left wing media thinks or says after that.