Israeli offensive enters critical stage

2012-11-19 18:02

Tel Aviv - Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip entered a critical stage on Monday, heading for either a truce which would stop the fighting, or a major escalation with ground troops sent into the salient.

Analysts said the coming 24 hours will be crucial as Egypt tries to mediate a truce between the sides, who, publicly at least, are refusing to compromise on their demands.

"The situation is now 50-50, between ceasefire and expansion of the operations," an unnamed Israeli official told the Ha'aretz daily.

Israel insists Hamas agree to stop firing rockets for a protracted period - 15 years was the figure given by the Israeli media - as well as end to the smuggling of weapons into the Strip, or their manufacture there.

Hamas for its part wants Israel to agree to end its siege of the Strip, and commit to refrain from targeting militant leaders.


Each side is also demanding that the other stop firing before any truce can be agreed on - something which so far has shown no sign of happening.

Israel launched the operation after its southern towns villages have been repeatedly targeted by rockets over a period of years.

With the offensive prompting unprecedented new missile attacks and with even the previously-immune Tel Aviv and Jerusalem now targeted, Israeli leaders would find it very difficult to sell a truce which leaves open the possibility of the violence recommencing almost before the damage from the current round is cleared away.

"We don't want to go to a ground offensive, for a number of reasons ... and if this can be avoided, great," deputy foreign ministry spokesperson Paul Hirschson said.

But he said an offensive would be launched if Israel thought it had no other way to get Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups to stop their rocket fire on Israel.

Ground troops

Israeli leaders were reported on Monday to be reluctant to commit to sending in the ground troops, even though media reports - the military would not give a figure - said 40 000 reserve soldiers have so far called up.

Any ground invasion will only complicate an offensive whose casualties -almost exclusively on the Palestinian side - are rapidly rising.

And a rise in Palestinian casualties means a concomitant rise in the pressure on Israel to end the operation before the aims have been achieved.

It also erodes the support Israel is so far enjoying from Western countries, who have already indicated they do not want Israel land forces to enter the salient.


On the other hand, Israel has made it clear that it will send in the troops if necessary and if it does not receive a firm commitment that rocket fire on Israel will not resume within weeks or months.

An Israeli government official who spoke to dpa on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media, said the ultimate aim of the Israeli offensive is to get the rocket fire to cease.

The military has a bank of targets to help it achieve this aim, he added, and these targets would be attacked - by air and if necessary by land -until the aim was achieved.

The bottom line, he said, was that Israel was going to get the militant groups to stop the rocket fire, "either via an agreement, or because we destroy their ability to do so".

  • Desilusionada - 2012-11-19 18:11

    Erm, Could we just repeat again? Stop the rockets.....

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-19 19:51

      Chantelle, you're upside down on this. Here's why. Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their unelected, self-serving neighbors declared war on Israel the very next day. In the 1960's they even invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what you wrongly call "stealing land". There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. Israel defends herself. Yes sometimes going too far, which is unacceptable, but self-defense nonetheless. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people, one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

      chantelle.fourie.71404 - 2012-11-19 20:13

      You are asking the people of Palestine to just accept their fate and live "in peace" under a system of apartheid. I don't see this happening, ever. The history of how this mess came about hardly matters anymore. The reality is that generations of kids grew up living under Israel's oppression. All this hatred is not going to just go away by itself.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-19 20:28

      You're missing the point: it's self-made oppression based on a violent desire to destroy Israel, using pseudo-victimhood as a tragic manipulation to garner sympathy and support from unwitting observers.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-19 21:22

      Chantelle, there is no apartheid. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza and all was well until Hamas took power two years later. Hamas believes that it must wrest all of israel away from the Jews and return Israel to Arab Muslims. They attack israel as an expression of holy worship and seek the death of their own children by the hands of Israel in order to garner sympathy from fools and gain aprobation for Israel. This is called PERFIDY and is a despicable war crime in itself. Israel will and must persevere in rooting out this Hamas filth.

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-19 23:32

      @chantelle.fourie.71404; Chantelle the history of how this mess came about has everything to do with it. You talk about Israel's oppression, Have you forgotten the 6 million who died under the most unbelievably horrific circumstances? Are you asking the Israeli people to lay down their weapons? Because then 7,836,000 million Jews are going to go exactly the same way. Unless of course you want them back in the ghettos of Europe. "All this hatred is not going to just go away by itself" No I am afraid it's not but point the finger in the right direction.

      chantelle.fourie.71404 - 2012-11-20 08:04

      Two wrongs does not make a right.

  • jason.sole.92 - 2012-11-19 18:26

    Today i read the Hamas Covenant of 1988, it basically explains very clearly why they shoot rockets at the Israelis. i post the link here: in the event of anyone wanting to establish facts about Hamas and institutionalized terrorism.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-19 18:26

    Religion? No matter what it is like a dog farting........cute as pie, with sharp teeth on one end and a big stink on the other... Freaking Lunatic's on both sides...

  • Edward Hall - 2012-11-19 18:31

    Yes right, Hamas rockets was only aimed at the IDF. Don't like what you dish out. Stop the rockets.

  • watchman.smith - 2012-11-19 18:31

    The Jew is the only nation to be given a piece of real estate by the Lord God almighty. The land is called Israel, not Palestine. The name Palestine was given to the land after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Now that the Jew is back there the name is Israel and will forever be called Israel. Not only this, the land that naturally was given to them by God almighty is far bigger than the land the currently control. I believe that when Jesus comes back which is extremely soon the land that rightfully belongs to Israel will be given back to them, right up to the Euphraties river!

      albert.m.burger - 2012-11-19 19:25

      They really must have pissed of God cause there is sooo much better real estate on earth.

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-19 23:13

      Can we keep the religious twaddle out of this topic please?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-20 02:44

      Planet Earth in its entirety is there for ALL its inhabitants, not any one race or religion. Extremist Muslims have to get used to this. The Jewish people have been in the area for ever. Hell, the Old Testament records this. So what's all the nonsense about stolen land. It's just sheer racism and xenophobia.

  • suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-11-19 18:38

    Clearly these people in that region don't like peace, Hamas blaming Israel and vice versa, let them all be locked up in one place and they kill each other and after that we can have peace.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-19 19:17

      Eh... That's exactly what's happening...

  • watchman.smith - 2012-11-19 18:39

    The Jew is the only nation to be given a piece of real estate by the Lord God almighty. The land is called Israel, not Palestine. The name Palestine was given to the land after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Now that the Jew is back there the name is Israel and will forever be called Israel. Not only this, the land that naturally was given to them by God almighty is far bigger than the land that they currently control. I believe this land will be restored to them right up to the Euphraties river when Jesus returns, which is extremely close. However Jesus will come back at the end of and intense 7 years of tribulation of which the last 3 and a half years will be the worse. I believe the start of this is almost upon not only Israel, but the whole world. Do you know Jesus as your personal saviour and also your Lord and Master?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-19 19:52

      Again, with respect this is nonsense.

      watchman.smith - 2012-11-19 20:55

      really, fred.frazer. Then how do you explain the massive recession the world presently affecting every country. Jesus said the things that would preceed His coming as well is war and rumours of war, earthquakes in divers places. Do you know that a few years ago we experienced 300 to 400 quakes in a month, now it is probably more. A few years ago earthquakes randomly measured 6 or 7 on the scale, now every time there is a quake there is nothing less 6, 7 or even 8. A verse in the Bible talks about people running from the roaring of the waves! Hmmmm, oh yeah sounds like a Tsunami to me. How many of those have we had in recent years. A few I think and there will be more. Oh what about the uncanny weather and flooding the world is having with greater intensity. Rivers turning blood red, red rain in three provinces of Sri Lanka, hmmmm. Was Jesus a myth or is it proven historically that He existed. Did the event of the crossing of the red sea happen or not, what about Sodom and Gomorrah? Perhaps all the skeptics should go and visit, I'm sure you will find some very interesting things there. With respect you should go and do some research on the internet. Thank you for reading this!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-19 21:24

      More nonsense.

      chantelle.fourie.71404 - 2012-11-19 21:30

      You see Fred, THIS is why there is a war in the Middle East. It is not about the land. They keep on fighting because neither side wants to see their god lose.

      watchman.smith - 2012-11-19 22:02

      Oh another good place to visit is Youtube and punch in the red sea crossing or Sodom and Gomorrah.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-19 22:22

      Chantelle, you said Palestinians are being subjected to Apartheid by Israel. I was responding to that. .

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-19 23:16

      Get a real education ffs, ever heard of the Great Depression? Go crawl backinto your cell and let the sane people comment please.

  • David - 2012-11-19 19:06

    When Gilad Shalit was released from his illegal incarceration in Gaza, 1000 Palestinians prisoners were released as part of the deal. So when the death toll is 1000 to 1 no one must complain.

  • simon.morris.14203 - 2012-11-19 20:10

    mikel kiparski has been suspended 4 spam/what spam???/most of the GAZANS are from ,now izarael ..the rockets they shoot from Gaza are landing on old Palestinian farm land now occupied by[not them].so they r only shooting AT their own properties./regards suspended mikel kiparski.put that into your pipes and smoke it........

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-19 20:32

      Study up a bit more. The land they're shouting at is the State of Israel.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-20 02:47

      What happened to Fidel and Patrick?

      mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-21 19:16

      HI SIMON THANKS 4 THE HELP/UNTIL GODS CHOSEN GET ME SUSPENDED AGAIN ,IT SEEMS GODS CHOSEN HAVE usurped the right of opinion ,and get those that differ suspended,i suppose its better than getting bombed.

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