Hamas continued escalating the Gaza Strip conflict by firing a rocket at Jerusalem on Friday. It was the first time Jerusalem has been attacked from the Gaza Strip – residents of the Abu Ghosh area just outside Jerusalem said it was the first time their new air-raid sirens had been used. The rocket apparently fell a bit short and crashed in open fields outside the city. Some initial reports said that two missiles were fired, but later accounts say it was only one.
Hamas says the rocket was a previously-unknown variant of their favorite random murder weapon, the Qassam missile. Yesterday they used Iranian-made long-range rockets to strike at Tel Aviv. According to the BBC, Hamas claimed on both local television and Twitter that they were targeting the Knesset, the Israeli parliament: “For the first time, the Al-Qassam Brigades fired a long-range rocket towards the Knesset [parliament] in occupied Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam. Supposedly attacking Islamic holy cities is sinful. Evidently exceptions are made for Islamic terrorists. Not much has yet been heard on the matter from the people who went berserk with rage over a YouTube video they found insulting to their faith.
There was supposed to be a cease-fire in effect while the Prime Minster of Egypt, Hisahm Qandil – whose government’s installation has long been touted by President Barack Obama as a major foreign-policy triumph – toured the Gaza Strip in support of the terrorists. It didn’t hold up for very long. “It isn’t a matter of individuals, not a matter of community. It is a matter of a nation. The Arab nation, the Islamic nation,” Quandil said, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “We are all behind you, the struggling nation, the heroic that is presenting its children as heroes every day.” Hamas rockets targeted at Israeli civilians could be heard lifting off in the background as he spoke.
Israel has reportedly called up 16,000 reservists and is massing troops on the border of the Gaza Strip for a sustained ground operation. The mobilization of up to 30,000 reservists has been approved by the government. Fox News reports on Israel at the brink of all-out war:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the army was hitting Hamas hard with what he called surgical strikes, and warned of a “significant widening” of the Gaza operation. Israel will “continue to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people,” said Netanyahu, who is up for re-election in January.
“We will continue the attacks and we will increase the attacks, and I believe we will obtain our objectives,” said Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel’s military chief.
An Israeli ground offensive could be costly to both sides. In the last Gaza war, Israel devastated large areas of the territory, setting back Hamas’ fighting capabilities but also paying the price of increasing diplomatic isolation because of a civilian death toll numbering in the hundreds.
This time, Israel faces a more heavily-armed Hamas with more international political leverage, thanks to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Palestinians are urging Egypt to act even more strongly in their favor; a full-scale Israeli incursion could make those calls much more difficult to resist. American support for Israel thus far has been considerably less intense than Egyptian support for Hamas.
But the old status quo of constant random attacks rained down on Israeli civilians is unsustainable, too. “Although the western world has only noticed the escalation of the conflict in the last two days, we have been hit by Hamas rockets on a day-to-day basis throughout October and November,” a resident of southern Israel emailed to the BBC. “This continued up until the recent escalation, following the assassination of Jabari. It is impossible to live like this in the shelters every day.”
That’s how barbarians defeat civilized nations: they make it “impossible to live” in defiance of their demands, and politically impossible to do anything about it. A great deal of Israel now falls under the shadow of that constant menace, thanks to the last great “land for peace” deal.