UPDATES 10:00 pm:
**Your humble servant has been unremittingly harsh in his continued criticism of PM Netanyahu and his so-called “Security” Cabinet.
This should in no way be interpreted as criticism of the brave soldiers of the IDF who have fought through booby-trapped neighborhoods, suicide bombers, endless snipers, and a myriad of other obstacles to accomplish every assignment that has been given them.
Thousands of terrorist targets have been destroyed, more than a thousand terrorists have been killed (perhaps many more), and tens of incredibly dangerous tunnels have been destroyed.
The spirit and motivation of these soldiers have been a wonder to behold. They deserve our unending admiration and thanks. They are an everlasting credit to Israel.
**What is the situation as this day comes to a close?
Most IDF soldiers are out of Gaza and inside Israel. However, other soldiers remain in Gaza, especially in Rafiah where new tunnels have been discovered in the last 12 hours.
The IAF has severely curtailed air strikes on Hamas targets. Israeli airplanes have hit no more than 20 targets today.
Here is an excerpt from an article in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonot that appeared a few hours ago. It illustrates how quickly those outside of southern Israel have fallen back into the same mindset they had before the war:
“The IDF has withdrawn the majority of its ground forces back to staging areas outside Gaza on Sunday, with the IAF striking only 15 targets in the Strip since midnight after a relative decline in the number of rocket launches on Israel – yet the residents of the south remain under attack.”
This article was written at a time this afternoon when “only” about 75 missiles had struck Israel. At that time, there had actually been no “relative decline” in the number of missile launches on Israel–there had merely been a decline in the number of rocket launches on central Israel.
And here we sit at 10:00 pm with a missile count of somewhere between 110-120.
And here we sit with the IAF not returning fire, again.
We are back to “silence will be answered with silence”, with the problem that Hamas has no interest in silence. They, unlike Israel, have been remarkably consistent and adamant in declaring what it will take for them to stop launching missiles at us.
But our government just doesn’t get it.
A few hours ago, Netanyahu cabinet member Yuval Steinetz issued this bizarre statement: “Hamas is waging a war of attrition. If the rocket fire continues another two days or more, other options are open.”
What nonsense. What in the world makes Israel think that Hamas will stop firing? They have been firing ever since the day they took over Gaza almost a decade ago–and they certainly are not going to stop now.
Here’s a news flash for Steinetz: now that we are out of Gaza, there few options still open–and Hamas knows it.
UPDATES 12:00 pm:
**Do you want to have a glimpse of the future?
Take a look at the israelstreet breaking news ticker (over in the right hand column of this page) since about 7:30 am this morning.
Every 30 minutes, more or less, the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have launched missiles and mortars into the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon regions of southern Israel.
In the next few hours, or perhaps later in the afternoon or in the evening, we will get the token Hamas shot at Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport, and a few volleys at Beersheva, Ashkelon, and here in Ashdod.
With IDF seemingly committed to a unilateral withdrawal without taking out the Hamas rocket arsenal, this is what we have to look forward to. We are back to situation we were in 4 weeks ago with the exception that Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion, Beersheva, Ashkelon, and Ashdod are firmly in Hamas’ sites.
**You may remember that your humble servant reported that a French-German “peace delegation” under the auspices of the European Union arrived in Cairo for talks designed to open the six border crossings into Gaza.
You may remember that your humble servant suggested that it was inconceivable that Egypt would ever agree to European oversight of the Rafah Crossing.
An hour ago, an Egyptian diplomat greeted the Europeans with the declaration that Egypt “will never accept international or European monitors at the Rafah Crossing.”
Now they will come to Israel where PM Netanyahu will undoubtedly say “Let’s talk about it.”
**Following the discovery of war materiel in shipments of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, the IDF COGAT unit has increased shipments into Gaza.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In the midst of a war in which Israeli soldiers and civilians are getting smashed by Hamas mortars and missiles every half hour, the IDF delivered allowed 200 truckloads of supplies to Hamas this morning.
UPDATES 7:00 am:
**Where do we stand at this hour?
Netanyahu held up the white flag last night and said that the IDF is starting the process of withdrawal from Gaza. The tunnels, he said, will never be completely destroyed, and the missiles. . . well . . . silence from Hamas will be met with silence from the IDF.
Silence for silence.
What a joke. The same silence for silence that led to thousands of missile and mortars exploding in southern Israel before the current war began.
If anything, what we can now expect is an intensification of missile fire from Gaza as it tries to kill IDF soldiers on their way out.
This withdrawal will not be accomplished in one or two days, but likely in one or two weeks. Meanwhile, the IAF will continue to strike “Hamas infrastructure”–in other words, empty buildings and houses.
Will Israel leave a residual force in Gaza to control a buffer zone? It’s possible, but Israel seems anxious to comply with Hamas’ primary demand–the removal of all Israeli soldiers from Gaza.
And what about the “ceasefire” talks in Cairo? Whether Israel will even attend is problematical. Certainly we have nothing to gain by going except international approval for doing so. However, given that international approval is what Netanyahu so desperately craves, don’t be surprised if Israel shows up.
**Israel’s “captured” soldier, Lt. Hadar Goldin, has been declared dead by the IDF, and the Goldin family has accepted the IDF’s decision. Whereas israelstreet had postulated that Lt. Goldin had most likely been killed, there was always a hope that he had somehow survived.
As it turns out, the Givati soldier who bravely followed the retreating terrorists into the tunnel found significant pathological evidence that Lt. Goldin was dead. Once that evidence was analyzed by IDF forensic pathologists, the determination was made.
**It is worthwhile repeating that Hamas’ killing of Lt. Goldin and his fellow Givati soldiers was an egregious violation of a “humanitarian ceasefire” that Israel had naively agreed to. The cowardly way that Hamas used the truce manifestly shows Hamas’ depravity.
At first, Hamas claimed that the attack took place before the humanitarian ceasefire went into effect. When this was shown to be demonstrably untrue, Hamas quickly shifted gears and claimed that they never agreed to the ceasefire.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Three soldiers are dead.
**A final note.
It was already difficult, but now it will be impossible, to ever hear PM Netanyahu speak again without thinking what an indecisive, hollow, and deceptive person he is.
He cannot be believed.
Here in the South, we had thought that maybe this time would be different. Maybe all of the tunnels really would be destroyed. Maybe the endless terror of the rockets would finally–after a decade–come to an end. We thought it might be true because stupidly we believed what Netanyahu promised.
Even last night, Netanyahu was still making meaningless promises, as he had the gall to stand in front of the cameras and claim that he would still “pursue his objective of restoring quiet” to our communities.
This morning, on Israeli television, a reporter asked the IDF spokesman: “What answer do you have for all of the residents of the communities in the South who are refusing to ever come back?” His answer was so Netanyahu-esque as to be grotesque: “Once we explain what we did in Gaza, they will come back.”
No, they won’t.
Because all of the explanations in the world will not disguise the fact that missiles and mortars are still falling like rain in the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon regions, and that Hamas terrorists are still coming out of undiscovered tunnels to kill Israelis.