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AMERICA IN ISRAEL'S POSITION?

Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon: 'IDF needs another two or three days to complete its search and destroy mission for Hamas tunnels in Gaza'

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: 'this is a war to defend our very home and we are determined to win it'

IsraCast Assessment: Thirteen Golani infantrymen killed in firefights with Hamas in Sajaiya will only strengthen Israel's resolve to destroy terror tunnels

Hamas Tunnel uncovered by the IDF (photo credit: IDF)

 The deaths of 13 Israeli infantrymen killed in house-to-house fighting with Hamas in Sajaiya has shocked and saddened Israel. In a news conference with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared: “We are fighting for our very home and we are determined to win this battle. No other war has been so justified as the IDF's campaign to halt Hamas rocketing of Israeli civilians.” Make no mistake, Israel is determined that the deaths of the Golani soldiers will not be in vain. The country's leaders and people are resolved to follow through and prevent another rocket blitz of Israel or tunnel attack whenever the Hamas Islamists in Gaza decide to do so. Netanyahu noted that many world leaders, starting with U.S. President Barack Obama, had expressed understanding for Israel's right of self-defense. Even more telling were the countries in the region (Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan) who were also in Israel's corner. The only two countries rooting for Hamas were Iran and Qatar. 

Apparently the IDF and the Shabak Security Service have captured several top Hamas commanders who have disclosed the sites of the tunnels.

   Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz have declared the IDF will continue its campaign to destroy the Hamas tunnels for infiltrating underground to launch surprise attacks on Israeli civilians. How long will this take? Defense Minister Yaalon has surprised everyone by saying: 'The IDF will need another two or three days to complete its mission'. It had been estimated the complex operation of finding and blowing up the tunnels could not be wrapped up for another several weeks. Apparently the IDF and the Shabak Security Service have captured several top Hamas commanders who have disclosed the sites of the tunnels. Gen. Gantz has also said that despite the IDF casualties, the ground operation is proceeding as planned. Israel has signaled that the sole purpose of its massive ground operation into Gaza is to eliminate the tunnels, and it follows that the Israeli government would again accept another ceasefire proposal after the mission is completed. 

 

 Previously, Israel accepted an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire, which Hamas rejected on July16th, before the IDF invaded Gaza. At that time, some 200 Palestinians, including Hamas terrorists, had been killed. Therefore, Hamas actually bears responsibility for all the Palestinian casualties that have been killed since Hamas ignored the offer for a ceasefire, including the estimated 100 Palestinian civilians killed in Sajaiya in the bloodiest clash of the war.

 

 What happened in Sajaiya? 

 

 IDF intelligence had identified Sajaiya as a major Hamas stronghold. Rockets were stored there under Palestinian homes and launched at Israel. An underground complex may also be linked to terror tunnels into Israel. Two days before the Israeli offensive on the town, the IDF started warning the civilian population to leave. (It recalled the U.S. Army warning to Iraqi civilians before it attacked the city of Fallujah. When that battle was over, the Red Cross estimated that 800 Iraqi civilians were killed). Attacking an urban area like Sajaiya means house-to-house fighting at close quarters and booby traps all over the place. Defenders, in this case Hamas, have the advantage of laying ambushes and preparing positions for launching their deadly Kornet anti-tank rockets, as well as sniper nests. Hamas knew the IDF would be coming and were well prepared. Urban warfare is considered to be the most dangerous warfare. 

 
Hamas again exploited civilians as human shields by ordering civilians to stay put in their homes, and many of them did.

 Hamas again exploited civilians as human shields by ordering civilians to stay put in their homes, and many of them did. According to IDF Gen. (ret.) Israel Ziv, who talked with Israeli commanders after the battle, Hamas had built an underground defense complex in the town similar to the Vietcong model. Hamas fighters would suddenly pop out, open fire and then retreat underground. In one case, a Hamas fighter fired an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) at an IDF armored personnel carrier, killing seven soldiers. This might have been averted. Other troops were killed in an old APC that does not provide the enhanced protection of the newer model. Somewhere in the IDF, an officer fouled up by assigning the vehicle for action inside Gaza. An IDF enquiry will likely investigate the screw-up. 

 

 During the Sajaiya battle, Gen. Gantz said dozens of terrorists had been killed. The race is on, and Israel is determined to carry on the IDF's mission to search and destroy as many Hamas terror tunnels as possible before a ceasefire goes into force. This crucial interest was made abundantly clear by the second tunnel that killed two soldiers and wounded four more when Hamas fighters again popped out of a second tunnel and ambushed an IDF motorized patrol driving along the security fence inside Israel. The attackers, disguised in IDF uniforms, hit the commander's vehicle with an RPG. One assailant was killed while the others jumped back inside the tunnel and made it safely back inside Gaza. 

 

 An Israeli '9/11' 

 
But after their rocket strategy failed, Hamas resorted to the ace up the their sleeve...[terror tunnels]

 The Israeli developed Iron Dome missile defense system has stymied the Hamas attempt to launch over some 1,800 rockets at Israeli towns and villages as far north as Haifa. Five million Israelis are in the crosshairs of Hamas rockets. But after their rocket strategy failed, Hamas resorted to the ace up the their sleeve. Three days ago, the first tunnel attack failed when an alert IDF soldier, a young woman, spotted the terrorists coming out of the tunnel in time and pressed the alarm button. Those terrorists had apparently planned on carry out a massacre of Israeli civilians in the adjacent kibbutz Sufa. If any further proof were needed, this second tunnel attack stresses the crucial need to destroy these terror tunnels, which are proving to be more deadly than the Hamas rocket barrages. 

 

 Now operating inside Gaza, the IDF has uncovered more tunnels and is in the process of destroying them. However, no one, except Hamas, knows how many more tunnels they have dug under Israel's security fence along the border to reach Israeli communities. There could be another twenty or more, and they pose a clear and unacceptable danger, virtually a ticking time bomb. Just imagine in the future, if Hamas launches another rocket war on Israel while simultaneously sending teams of Hamas fighters through the tunnels that exit near Israeli villages and kibbutzes, where they could massacre the civilians. No Israeli government can accept such a situation. The only reason they didn't do it this time was because their tunnel program was not completed. 

 
Why did they jump the gun? Simply because Iron Dome was shooting their rockets out of the sky, and they were desperate for some victory before they accepted a ceasefire.

 Why did they jump the gun? Simply because Iron Dome was shooting their rockets out of the sky, and they were desperate for some victory before they accepted a ceasefire. Israeli cabinet minister Naftali Bennett stated: ' The IDF has averted an Israeli 9/11 (similar to the al Qaeda destruction of the twin towers in New York). And Bennett added: ' It would have been ten times worse than the Gilad Shalit attack (which Hamas also carried out via an underground tunnel'). But Hamas is learning - its attackers, who got the jump on the IDF patrol, were disguised in IDF uniforms, giving them an extra element of surprise in the ensuing firefight. This also creates a problem for IDF troops now looking for more Hamas tunnels just over the Gaza border. 

 

 'A hell of a pin-point operation!' 

 
Although there is no doubting Kerry's good intentions, he begs the question of what America would do in Israel's position, or better still, what has America done when faced with ferocious Islamic terrorism?

 What can be said about US Secretary of State John Kerry's cynical crack on a live microphone, that he thought was dead, about Israel's counter-offensive into Gaza: 'It's a hell of a pin point operation!' Perhaps it falls under that saying about 'People in glass houses...' Although there is no doubting Kerry's good intentions, he begs the question of what America would do in Israel's position, or better still, what has America done when faced with ferocious Islamic terrorism? Moreover, is there another army in the world that has a systematic code for warning innocent civilians about where it is about to attack so they can get out of harm's way, and then has to face an enemy who exploits those same civilians as human shields? (When this round is over, Israel should recommend that its military code of ethics be added to the Geneva Conventions, which should also update its provisions about exploiting civilians as human shields. Interviewed on Israel Radio, American Ambassador Dan Shapiro was asked, if the U.S. were in Israel's position would it halt a similar military operation? The American diplomat evaded the question and talked about Israel's right to self-defense and the need for a ceasefire. 

 

 

 

 David Essing

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