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Palestinians In Gaza Strip Have Escalated Qassam Rocketing To Forty Per Week

Israel Responds With Counter Strikes

PM Olmert: Those Who Launch Rockets At Israel Must Expect To Pay

Photo: rafahpundits.com

Since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip last summer, that area has been used as a launch pad for mounting rocket attacks at Israel. Recently, the terrorists have been launching an average of forty a week and Israeli civilians in the area are fed up with having to run with their children to bomb shelters. The IDF has been ordered to step up its counter-terror campaign in what is turning into a ballistic intifada.

It has turned into a ballistic intifada - Palestinian terrorists are launching 40 rockets weekly into Israel. The IDF has hit back with helicopter missile strikes and shelling. Some 15 Palestinians have been killed in the escalation this weekend. Speaking at the weekly cabinet session, Prime Minister designate Ehud Olmert warned that whoever launches rockets into Israel must expect to be in Israels crosshairs.

That is what has been happening. Since Israel evacuated all of the Gaza Strip last summer, the terrorists moved in and converted it into launch pad to launch more Qassam rockets at Israeli towns and villages just across the border. They have launched more than 400 rockets into Israel since then. In addition, a more deadly Katyusha rocket has also been launched. Israeli civilians in the area have been clamoring for a stiffer response to the rocketing. This is apparently happening. The IDF has been responding with artillery fire and helicopter strikes against the terrorists. Miraculously, no Israeli civilians have been killed in the rocketing but clearly it is only a matter of time until they are, unless a stop is put to the attacks. Among the Palestinians killed was the three-year-old son of a top terrorist leader. His father had taken him for a drive inside the terror base when it was attacked by Israeli helicopters. The IDF says it was unaware the child was in the car when the terror base was hit.

Israeli security officials say the terrorists have stepped up the rocketing because they find it tough to penetrate the security fence with suicide bombers. At todays cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said there are some 11 terror alerts. Labor MK Matan Vilnayie, a former deputy IDF Chief of Staff, says that if the rocketing continues, Israel must send ground troops back into Gaza to stop it.

A senior IDF officer in Northern Command also warns that Hezbollah in south Lebanon may launch a major attack in the near future. Until now, Hezbollah has been trying unsuccessfully to abduct Israeli civilians or soldiers to be used as bargaining chips. Both Hezbollah and Hamas are supported by Iran and the Iranians have been pressuring them to escalate attacks on Israel. The Hezbollah threat is likely to mount in light of the growing international pressure on Iran over its nuclear weapons campaign. As for Hamas, it is conducting a two-track program. It is doing nothing to halt the terror attacks although its political spokesmen have toned down their rhetoric about destroying the Jewish state. But this is only for consumption by the western media. In Arabic, Hamas like Iran vow to wipe Israel off the map. Hamas appears to be taking a page out of Irans book. When you want to buy time to build your strength you offer tojaw-jaw as Winston Churchill once put it. Hamas has added another twist. By allowing Islamic Jihad, Fatah or whatever, to rocket Israel at will, Hamas may be scheming for another houdna cease-fire with Israel, in order to retrieve international funding and prepare for the next round. Israel is serving notice it will not fall for this tactic again and that enough is enough!

Footnote: The International Football Federation has complained to Israel about a missile strike on a soccer field. But whats to be done when the Palestinians use the soccer field as a launch pad for rocket attacks on Israel?

David Essing

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