A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 8, 2009--Day Thirteen of War with Hamas,Hamas Rejects Ceasefire, UN to Votes
The thirteenth day of Israel's war with Hamas began with the firing of 4 Katyusha rockets from Lebanon to Israel. One landed in at an old age home in Nahariyah and wounded three people. Hezbollah claimed that it did not fire the missile. Most observers believe that the missile was fired just to show that it could, but that there will not be any more missiles from Israel's northern neighbors.
Tonight there has been a marked increase in the ground fighting in Gaza. There are reports of significant close quarter exchanges between Hamas and IDF soldiers. Most of the Israeli troops have been in their positions in Gaza for two or three days, and this may begin to expose them to additional dangers. Three soldiers were killed today in Gaza. In previous actions in Gaza this is the point that the soldiers have started to become targets. The army is therefore pressuring for a decision whether to move forward or to pull back. The tens of thousands of reservist that were called on Saturday night have now completed their training and are available for deployment. It is up to the political leadership to decide whether to attack the population centers of Gaza or to withdraw.
The Israeli decision has not been made easier by political developments. Israeli representative Amos Gilead has come back from Egypt to report that the ceasefire plan is not really a plan, but rather it is just a framework of a plan. On top of that, Hamas has formally rejected the plan. It seems they are in no rush for a ceasefire and will not agree to an agreement that limits their ability to bring in weapons.
Today's temporarily ceasefire did not last very long. Hamas fired a missile at Israel soon after the ceasefire began, thus effectively ending it. It works in Hamas' interest to insure the suffering of the people of Gaza is great.
The pictures from Gaza shown on the Arab networks continue to increase the anger on the Arab street. The number of dead in Gaza continues to grow and is liable to grow much higher when some of the destroyed buildings are cleared.
Today the number of missiles and mortars fired on Israel went up slightly. As of 9 PM, 30 missiles had landed in Israel and a number of soldiers were wounded when a mortar round landed near Sderot.
This evening it is expected that the UN Security Council will pass a resolution with American support calling for an immediate ceasefire. The resolution seems to be balanced. It calls for an end of the missile fire and the end of arms smuggling in Gaza.
So what is Israel to do? It has two choices: announce a ceasefire and declare victory or attack the major urban forces with the reinforcements that are now ready. The Security Council decision may force the issue. We will update if and when it is determin ed what the decision will be.