|Rocket launched from Rafah, Gaza towards Tel Aviv|
The battle for the South has begun -Yaakov Lappin
Nearly four years after Operation Cast Lead, a new battle to restore security for the South has begun. The deterrence levels gained by Israel in the 2009 operation have run out, in great part due to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
With Hamas feeling confident over the ascendancy of its fellow Islamists in the region, and the emergence of a new patron in Cairo, it and Islamic Jihad chipped away at Israeli deterrence, attempting to set new rules by preventing the IDF from carrying out vital security missions on the Gaza border.
As it built up its rocket arsenals, Hamas and the other factions responded to Israel’s measures to secure the border with more and more indiscriminate rocket barrages on the long-suffering South, filling the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians with dread, trauma and disruption.
Hamas has overplayed its hand. It mistook Israeli restraint for weakness.
The current operation underway in Gaza is based on a flexible approach. It began by sending a strong message to Hamas: that it must choose between the survival of its members and the continued firing of rockets at southern cities, towns and villages. At the same time, Israel has left Hamas with an exit. Should it decrease the rocket attacks, the IDF will scale back its operation.
The aim is not to topple the Hamas regime – at least not at this stage.
Israel once again has proved that its intelligence capabilities in Gaza are superb not only by targeting the head of the rocket- launching machine, Ahmed Jabari, but also by removing most of Hamas’s long-range underground rocket launchers in the first wave of air strikes.
The ball is now in Hamas’s court. If it chooses to continue to lash out at Israel’s civilians, it could find itself face to face with a ground offensive, a development that would take the current operation to a new level.
Operation Pillar of Defense is also a message to the wider region, now filling up with Islamist forces: Israel will not be deterred from taking basic steps to defend its civilians.
Operation Pillar of Defense: What You Need to Know -Simon Plosker
The current attacks began on Saturday night (Nov.10) when Palestinian terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an army jeep traveling on the Israeli side of the border fence. Four IDF soldiers were injured. Since then, over 120 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians.
Booms heard in Tel Aviv area following warning siren -Yaakov Lappin
Two booms were heard following an air raid siren in Tel Aviv, just an hour after a rocket from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open field outside of Rishon Lezion. There were no reports of injuries in either strike.
The attacks mark the first time the center of the country was hit [in] renewed violence from the Gaza Strip. The incident was also the first time that a real siren was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
[T]hree people were killed and two others injured in a direct hit on a Kiryat Malachi apartment building. Hours later, a rocket fired into the Eshkol region injured three IDF soldiers, two moderately.
MDA paramedics treated five wounded people at the site of the Kiryat Malachi attack, in which a rocket hit a four-story building. Three people were pronounced dead on the scene and two others were suffering moderate injuries, including a baby.
A house in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim near Beersheba also sustained damage from rockets on Thursday morning. Rockets also landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, Gan Yavne and Ashkelon.
The IDF Spokesman's Office stated the Iron Dome rocket defense system has successfully intercepted more than 80 rockets since the operation began.
IDF Restores Deterrence -Ron Ben-Yishai
The Israeli government and security establishment concluded that the terror groups in Gaza are not deterred and that the threat on the residents of Israel is growing. Therefore, Israel decided to restore its deterrence through a series of painful attacks on top military figures and assets belonging to all the terror organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Hamas. Only a drastic operation that would exact a heavy toll from the terror groups would restore the diminished deterrence.
However, Israel does not want to give the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt an excuse to violate the 1979 peace agreement.
Israel's goal is to achieve a long-term ceasefire with Egyptian mediation, so that all of Gaza's armed groups would be committed to it. The IDF will continue to pound Gaza until such a truce is reached.
Pallywood Returns to Gaza -Simon Plosker
What happens when the cameras turn up at the scene of an airstrike in Gaza and there simply aren’t enough Palestinian dead and injured to produce dramatic footage that can be used against Israel in the international media? We’ve seen it before. Palestinians who appear to be injured or even dead for the benefit of the TV cameras turn out to be nothing of the sort once they are no longer the focus.
This is all the more so in Gaza, where Palestinian stringers are often filming in the absence of international news crews.
The example below is taken from a BBC interview on the targeted killing of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. During the interview (full version here), footage from Gaza is shown. At 2:11 mins in, a Palestinian in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, presumably injured in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike, is picked up and taken away. Yet at 2:44 mins, the same Palestinian has staged a remarkable recovery.
We’ve taken the relevant footage so that you can see for yourself:
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