Very impressive video from Hamas showing their new underground rocket launchers. This is a major advance for the Palestinian fighting force. They probably got the idea for making these things underground from Hezbollah, who has perfected the art of underground launchers. As you can see, there is a heavy metal door protecting the launcher from attack. The door opens and the launchers fire. Then the door closes, and the launcher goes back underground.
In addition, Hamas and other Palestinians have dramatically upgraded their missile arsenals with Katyushas and Fajrs. Most of those are coming via Iran and possibly Hezbollah. No doubt they are smuggled in from the Sinai.
Now their missile launching capability is much upgraded, as the new Fajrs have a range of more than 25 miles. Recent attacks have hit Tel Aviv and its suburbs itself. A missile was intercepted over Holon by the Israeli Iron Dome, and shrapnel landed on a car, setting it on fire. A town just south of Tel Aviv was also hit, but the missile landed in an open area.
Another couple of missiles hit the sea off Tel Aviv. Missiles hitting the sea are actually quite dangerous because that is the flight path for the jets arriving and leaving Tel Aviv airport. Hence a number of countries are cancelling their flights to Israel.
The greater Tel Aviv area is called Gush Dan.
Another missile was launched at Jerusalem itself, instead hitting just south of Jerusalem in the Gush Etzion colonial settlement block on Arab land in the West Bank. However, this also landed on open land.
Hamas has also been trying repeatedly to hit the Israeli nuclear reactor in Dimona with missiles. However, all of these missiles have landed outside of the town of Dimona in the desert. It’s uncertain what sort of damage a missile might do to a nuclear reactor.
Hamas and other groups are indeed shooting these rockets willy-nilly at Israeli towns. However, they are also targeting the Israeli military. A rocket hit a truck carrying tanks on a highway leading towards Gaza. An underground tunnel under the border was packed with explosives and detonated under a group of Israeli military trucks, overturning them. No one was in the trucks at the time.
Before the recent attack, an anti-tank rocket was fired by the PFLP at a jeep just over the Gaza border, wounding 3 soldiers.
In truth, Hamas and others lack good intelligence of where Israeli soldiers even are, though they may have some idea of where Israeli military bases are. The missiles are quite inaccurate. So even if the Gazans knew where Israeli bases and troops were, it would be hard to target them due to their inferior intelligence and accuracy of their weapons.
On the other hand, firing missiles willy-nilly at civilian towns and cities is definitely terrorism all right, even if Israeli casualties have been very low so far. Thus far, 3 Israelis have been killed, all civilians. The number of Israeli wounded is hard to figure, and I have had a hard time coming up with good figures. The best figure I can come up with is around 24 Israelis wounded so far, 21 civilians and 2 soldiers. If anyone can come up with better figures, let me know.
Casualties on the other side are even harder to figure. Hamas lists ~60 Gazans killed so far, but Israel says only 17 have been killed. Hamas has already been caught faking a video for propaganda purposes. A civilian was shown being carried away on a stretcher amid screaming civilians, but the same man was shown on another video walking away from the scene 10 minutes later. Propaganda like that is disgusting, but all sides do it in wartime.
I must say it is amazing that Palestinian rockets are hitting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv!
The killing of the commander of the Hamas armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, set off this recent war. It’s true that quite a few rockets have been fired at Israel lately for whatever reason. The assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari and his son while they were driving in a car in Gaza City has got a lot of news. Israel was quick to describe him as an arch-terrorist, but the truth is more complex.
It is true that al-Jabari has led the group since 2002, and is responsible for many suicide bombings in the early days before the Wall was built. In recent years, he has been behind many of the rocket attacks that hit Israel.
However, other groups have also been shooting rockets. Recently, most rockets were fired by the Resistance Committees, the Al Qaeda Salafist groups and Islamic Jihad.
The truth is that al-Jabari has been Israel’s enforcer in the Gaza. There has been a relative truce since Operation Cast Lead, and it is al-Jabari who has enforced that truce. His job is mostly to keep nignogs from these other groups from shooting rockets, but that’s easier said than done. In many cases, Hamas has been able to get these groups to stop shooting rockets.
But that’s hard to do. For one thing, Hamas has only shaky control over Gaza, and the last thing they want is a civil war between them and the other armed groups. Another point is that resistance to Israel is very popular in Gaza, and Hamas looks like the bad guy by shooting it down, even against nignog-firing rocketeers. If Hamas comes to be seen too much as Israel’s enforcer, they can lose ground to other groups in Gaza, particularly Islamic Jihad.
By killing al-Jabari, Israel sent him a message. The message was that as far as enforcing the truce and getting clowns to quite shooting rockets, he wasn’t doing a good enough job.
Hamas predictably reacted with fury to the assassination, and the hot war was on. Frankly, Hamas is getting its ass beat in this war. Many of their rockets have been intercepted, and there have been few casualties and little damage on the Israeli side.
There are risks to both sides in backing down from this war. The first side to give in, capitulate and call for a ceasefire risks being seen as weak, and neither side wants to give that impression. However, Hamas is being badly beaten here, so Turkey and Egypt are busy trying to get a ceasefire going. There’s little call for a truce on the Israeli side.
Israel is massing a huge force outside Gaza, and the idea is that they may go in there in a ground operation. That doesn’t seem like it would solve anything, and it may just make matters worse.
Coinciding with the rocket barrage, there have been many rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on cars driven by colonial settler invaders in the West Bank. Casualties from these attacks have been minimal.
I fully support armed actions against adult colonial settler invaders in the West Bank. They have no business being there, and they need to go home. I can’t support attacks on Israeli citizens inside the Green Line nor on Israeli minors in the West Bank. Attacks on kids are never right – minor civilians of any type are never a military target.
My attitude is that this whole war is pretty stupid. Hamas’ shooting of rockets is futile and will accomplish nothing but the destruction of their infrastructure and arsenal. Israel is already trying to kill the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
On the other hand, what can Israel do? There are 2 million Arabs in Gaza, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Israel has created an open air prison since Hamas won the election, and its arguable that Gazans might be justified in attacks for the imposition of this prison itself.
Most Gazans are refugees from the surrounding Israeli towns in South Israel. The former Arab towns were razed, their residents thrown out, and Jewish towns filled with Jews were built in their place. It is on these very towns and cities that these former refugees in Gaza are presently firing their missiles.
By far the best source for up to date information on the War is Israel National News, or Arutz Sheva. This is an outlet for the Far Right in Israel, the national-religious crowd. Nevertheless, no one does a better job of covering the conflict.