UPDATE 10 am Israel time Tuesday:
Since 6 am yesterday, southern Israel has been rocked by “at least” 58 mortars and Qassam missiles fired by Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza. As always the IDF is “officially” under-reporting the number–and, as usual, the IDF doesn’t seem to know how many of the 58 were mortars and how many were missiles. The number given in this blog is based on actual reports from here in southern Israel–not on comments from a governmental or IDF spokesman.
But the terrorism emanating from Palestinians in Gaza was not the only violence perpetrated against Israelis yesterday. The citizens of Judea and Samaria were assaulted in numerous locations by “rock” throwing Palestinians. The most serious incident was the attempt of a suicide bomber to infiltrate the Shomron Brigade post. Fortunately he was stopped and disarmed before he could detonate his vest.
The events of the last two days have been shocking.
First, a UAV drone aircraft penetrated Israel’s air defenses with ease and was not shot down until it had almost made it to Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility. Bizarrely, the IDF was so paralyzed by indecision that the only order that was generated by the IDF General Staff was one to NOT shoot the UAV down.
This order was given despite the fact that the IDF, by its own admission, had no idea whether the drone was carrying bombs or other weapons or not. To make matters even worse (as if they could be), we had the spectacle of an IDF spokesman telling us last night that Hezbollah probably has hundreds of “suicide” drones which are armed with bombs.
And to make matters even worse than this, we have the spectacle this morning of the IDF suggesting that its estimate of Hamas’ ability to produce drones may have been wrong after all–and that the drone might have been launched from Gaza (as Hamas has claimed all along). In other words, the entire narrative that the IDF churned out two days ago about the drone being launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon and traveling down the Mediterranean Coast may be nothing but fiction.
Last night the IDF announced its response to the drone incident. Will there be new “guidelines” for shooting down enemy aircraft? Of course not. Will there be an investigation of the idiotic IDF General Staff decision to do nothing in the face of grave danger? Of course not. The IDF response is to put an American Patriot missile battery on the top of Mt. Carmel. Presumably, a lowly missile battery operator will be able to act more decisively and responsibly than the IDF General Staff.
Second, as noted above, southern Israel was attacked yesterday by more than 55 mortars and missiles fired out of Gaza. Unlike in the drone incident, there is no doubt where these mortars and missiles came from. Hamas even posted videos on youtube showing the actual firing of the projectiles from Hamas’ new remote controlled underground missile bunkers (the new multiple missile launchers by the way have specifically been built to circumvent the Iron Dome which fails in the face of massive multiple launches).
Again as in numerous previous incidences of missile barrages, the IDF was paralyzed. Not one action was taken to stop the withering fire from the terrorists in Gaza. As hundreds of thousands of southern Israelis huddled in their bomb shelters and protected rooms for hours listening to explosions all around them, the IDF did nothing.
By the end of the day, we had the usual nauseating remarks from the IDF spokesman about “we won’t let anyone harm Israeli citizens” and “if Hamas does this again, just see what will happen.” My favorite comment was “The situation in which a terrorist organization is allowed to fire dozens of rockets at Israeli citizens is intolerable. We can work to eradicate the shooting, but our responses are measured and decided by the political leadership.”
For once, we have at least a partial truth from the IDF. It is the political leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak who do nothing while southern Israel is repeatedly bombed. But it is also the passive, failed leadership of IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz which has set the model for a paralyzed indecisive General Staff.
As your humble servant has often pointed out in the past, if the IDF is totally incapable of shooting down one small UAV drone until after it has flown 100 km in Israeli airspace, and if the IDF is totally incapable of stopping the missile and mortar fire coming out of Gaza, can you even begin to imagine what would happen if Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and Hamas launched 180,000 missiles against Israel? Complete and utter disaster.
Your humble servant concludes today with a letter published in a local newspaper last night that is being reprinted and read all over Israel this morning. It was written by an 18 year old girl, Omer Gabbai, who lives in an Israeli community close to the Gaza border. It appears here with my translation from Hebrew to English:
Good morning, Mr. Netanyahu and happy holidays,
Who woke you up this morning?
I want to tell you about my morning. I woke up to the sound of soldiers screaming ‘Incoming rockets!’ and sirens blaring and then explosions. Terrified, I ran with my family to our protected room. Since that moment–for over 7 hours–my family and I have had to stay within 15 seconds of that room.
I am assuming that you slept very well. But at the same time we didn’t sleep, a full family in a tiny room in a community being bombed and hoping that nothing would fall on us.
And what do you think it was? One explosion and that was it? It was one boom, and another boom, and another boom, and twenty more booms. We citizens of the region around Gaza live our lives like this everyday, under continual threats and alarms.
Can’t the state of Israel give security to our people? In a few months, I, Omer Gabbai, 18 years old, am going to the army for the one purpose of taking care of my family and the region where I live.
I wish you a happy holiday again and invite you to come and visit us.
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