A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
March 02, 2008 Gaza War
The war in the southern Israel continued over the weekend. Yesterday
and today over 70 missiles landed in cities around Gaza. There were
additional attacks today on Ashkelon. The IDF has responded by
occupying a small portion of the northern Gaza. That operation, which
took place in urban (but not highly dense) area yesterday, claimed the
lives of two Israeli soldiers. In the last three days of fighting over
70 Palestinians have been killed with an overwhelming number Hamas
fighters who died yesterday while attempting to stop the IDF advance.
Hamas has been careful to keep its troops away from Israeli troops
today and as such, their deaths are much lower. Israel has been making use of the Air Force and last night it successfully destroyed a truck with over 160 missiles in it. The real time video of the strike shows a large secondary explosion both on the truck and a little later on a warehouse. Nobody in the IDF believes that these actions will bring about the end of the fire on Ashkelon and Sderot, but the hope is that it will force Hamas to agree to a ceasefire on Israeli terms. It is
clear that Israel intends to keep the pressure up with additional
The attacks, however, are having public relations consequences, with
images of dying Palestinians children being beamed throughout the
world. The worse continues to be Al Jazeera, who has shown itself as a
thoroughly committed supporter of the Hamas. Al Arabia, based in Saudi Arabia, has been more balanced in its coverage. In the meantime demonstrations in support of the Gazans have broken out in the West Bank. How long the Fatah government can hold out is in question.
So now we have to deal with difficult dilemmas with no good answers.
Israel cannot allow the Hamas to fire on Ashkelon. The head of the
Shin Bet, at a rather heating cabinet meeting, warned that Hamas cannot be allowed to keep Ashkelon under the gun. Avi Dichter had harsh words for Prime Minister Olmert at the meeting, demanding that the army be given the go ahead to use whatever force is needed to stop the attacks. His attack was so harsh that Minister of Defense Barak came to Olmertís defense saying that verbal attacks like that have never been used in a cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, Olmert stated that a major ground operation is not about to happen. Barak on the other hand stated that anyone who thinks its not about to happen does not know what is happening- itís on the way.