Gaza: “Cry Havoc! Let loose the dogs of War”

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In the past two days more than 100 Kassem and Katyusha rockets have fallen on Israel. The rockets are falling in Sderot, the western Negev and in Ashkelon spreading death, injuries and terror. These recent Kassem and Katyusha rocket attacks have resulted in the killings and maiming of Israeli civilians, such as deaths of a 19 year old Sderot student at Sapir College, a 47 year old father of four and injuries to more than 17 persons in the Southern town of Ashkelon. These recent unrelenting attacks have raised the level of outrage among Israelis clamoring for action. The Kassem rocket attacks have been going on for over six years. With the recent blockade of Gaza, they have intensified both in volume and types of missiles being unleashed against Israeli towns, cooperative farms and kibbutzim in the South and Western Negev. The US would never have tolerated rockets fired into San Diego and its suburbs from across the border in Mexico. We would have retaliated, with or without the permission of the central Mexican government.

What Israel can do about it is clear.

Israel has the legal right under the international laws of land warfare to undertake military actions against the rockets raining down, killing and maiming Israelis in the South and Western Negev from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza. Wall Street Journal columnist, Bret Stephens recently pointed out in an opinion piece entitled “The Calculus of Sderot” the cost in Israeli ‘treasure and blood’ of destroying the terrorist rocket making cadres and factories in Gaza and reasserting security controls on the ground in Gaza lost in the follies of the unilateral withdrawal of August 2005 and the November 2005 Rafah passageway agreement. The latter you may recall was forced on hapless Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni by U.S. Secretary of State Rice.

But what will Olmert do after his trip to Japan and discussions with Secretary Rice, who comes into town, next Tuesday? Would Israel launch a massive ground operation in Gaza? When that operation might occur and what scope it would have is doubtless being debated in the Israeli Security cabinet committee. Problem is that the US tends to micro-manage from a distance trying to ’soldier on’ in its delusional Arab-Israel legacy peace project. That ‘Humpty Dumpty’ has all but fallen to pieces and ‘can’t be put back together, again’.

It is time for Israel to do what the late IDF COS Dan Shomron did: act with daring and dispatch.

Targeted killings by the IAF of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad cadres and leaders hasn’t put a stop to the rain of Kassems, Katyushas and Grad rockets and missiles. The IDF needs to go into Gaza, destroy the bombing making factories, create no-man lands and take back control of the Philadelphi road. Israel has to stop shipping fertilizer into Gaza as ‘humanitarian aid’ only to end up as Kassem rocket propellant.

Israel doesn’t have a deterent system to deploy against such Short Range Missile (SRM) threats. Even delivery of the US Navy Phalanx systems that Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, and others have suggested will take months. The Phalanx system fires depleted uranium rounds, which might not be effective against the short range Kassem rockets. The much ballyhooed Iron Dome system that might provide an umbrella of protection against the SRM rocket and missile threat won’t be deployed for years.

The IDF has the capacity to undertake military actions in Gaza that could cordon off and destroy the threat without engaging in costly urban warfare. It has constant aerial surveillance from UAVs and satellite imagery to hit targets of opportunity. it’s mobile armored infantry forces are some of the world’s best.

But does the faltering Olmert government have the will? There are rumors from Israel that key members of the Kadima coalition are prepared to bolt and thus bring down the Olmert government. We’ve heard those before and like a cat with nine lives, Olmert has escaped the ultimate decree. The Kadima coalition hangs on by a thread and Prime Minister Olmert is in control, however shaky that may be. Still, there is the hope that the horrific events in the South will force the Olmert government to act, and act soon.

In the hallowed words of Shakespeare from Julius Caeser:

“Cry “havoc!” and let loose the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”

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Re: Gaza: “Cry Havoc! Let loose the dogs of War”

Communities right over the Gaza border have taken the overwhelming brunt of the rocket attacks from Gaza, but militants firing longer-range Iranian rockets struck hit the town of Ashkelon several times on Thursday. One sliced through the roof of an apartment building and three floors below, and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.

Ashkelon, a beach town 11 miles north of Gaza, had been sporadically targeted in the past but never suffered direct hits or significant damage. Aside from its relatively large population of 120,000, the city is also home to a hospital, a power station, hotels and the European force that used to monitor a major Gaza-Israel crossing before Islamic Hamas militants violently seized control of Gaza in June.

Ashkelon also hit

ASHKELON, Israel - Israeli leaders warned Friday of an approaching conflagration in the Gaza Strip as Israel activated a rocket warning system to protect Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, from Palestinian rockets.
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Ashkelon was hit by several Grad rockets fired from Gaza on Thursday, a sign of the widening scope of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. One hit an apartment building and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.

Located 11 miles from Gaza, Ashkelon had been sporadically targeted in the past but never suffered direct hits or significant damage.

"It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defense mister, said Friday, referring to the large-scale military operation he said Israel was preparing to bring a halt to the rocket fire.

"We're getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we've used a small percentage of the army's power because of the nature of the territory," Vilnai told Army Radio on Friday.

Israel does not intend to launch a major ground offensive in the next week or two, partly because the military prefers to wait for better weather, defense officials said. But the army has now completed its preparations and informed the government it's ready to move immediately when the order is given, the officials said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

After Thursday's rocket attacks on Ashkelon, Israel activated its "Code Red" rocket warning system there. The system picks up incoming rockets and sounds an alarm in the target area, giving residents time — a few dozen seconds, in Ashkelon's case — to scramble for cover.

Until now, the Palestinian rocket squads have largely targeted Sderot, a small town near Gaza. Ashkelon, a major population center only 25 miles from Israel's heart in Tel Aviv, was caught unprepared, its mayor said Friday.

"It's a city of 120,000 people, with large facilities — a huge soccer stadium, and a basketball stadium, and a beach. No one is ready for this," Roni Mehatzri told Israel Radio.

On Friday, dozens of soldiers in orange berets from the Israeli military's Home Front Command arrived in Ashkelon and hung posters around the city instructing residents on what to do in case of a rocket attack.

Despite past rocket hits in Ashkelon, Israel hesitated to activate the "Code Red" system there because officials didn't want to send 120,000 people running for shelter every time a rocket was launched in the direction of the city.

The army is now considering installing more radars near Ashkelon so that the system will be able to better analyze the course of an incoming rocket and warn only the residents of the target neighborhood, rather than the whole city, defense officials said.

The barrage of Iranian-made Grads directed at Ashkelon on Thursday came on the second day of a spike in violence in Gaza. Hamas, an Islamic group with close ties to Iran, has ruled Gaza since coming to power in a violent takeover there in June 2006.

This idiot never heardof the "three no's of Khartoum"!

This idiot never heard of the "three no's of Khartoum"! Arab intransigence and double dealing has been the hallmark of Arab diplomacy