Wednesday 23 March 2011
The war on Israel's civilians
While the eyes of the world are fixed on Libya and other parts of the Arab world (and rightfully so), once again aggression against Israeli civilians is overlooked.
According to the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), In the last few days Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip have sharply escalated rocket and mortar attacks into Israel with fifty mortar shells being fired at Israel on Saturday alone. This has led to increased violence over the Gaza-Israel border. An Israeli shell fired at the source of a Palestinian rocket launch on Tuesday 22 March inadvertently killed four Palestinian civilians, whilst four Palestinian militants were reported killed in a separate strike.
Whilst Hamas is not believed to be seeking a full-scale escalation, its intentions remain unclear. The organisation faces grassroots pressure for the reunification of Palestinian factions, having rejected President Mahmoud Abbas's call for new elections in September.
Israel's policy is balanced between wanting to avoid escalation, whilst at the same time maintaining the deterrence which has kept the border relatively quiet and protected Israeli civilians since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.
For a full report, go to the BICOM web site.
Just a few minutes ago, I received the following message from a colleague in Israel:
"...scuds have been shot on Beersheva [pictured]and Ashdod, all the schools and kindergartens in Beersheva are closed today. A family in Gaza, including two children, was killed by an erring missile, which hit their house instead of the scud launching pad in a nearby grove. Things seem to be escalating.
"A newspaper article today reads "Israeli communities near the border are receiving a daily dose of mortars and rockets, and the Israel Air Force has been attacking Gaza. What began as a local escalation is steadily transforming into a broader conflict that the sides will apparently have difficulty stopping, though it's doubtful either side has an interest in reaching that point."
"Please pray for a restoration of peace in our area, and for the protection of innocents on both sides of the green line."