Israel’s deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh stated on Monday that Iran’s fingerprints were all over the recent escalation in Gaza. . . . “Everything is being organized by Iran…. All of the terrorist groups are supported directly by Iran, which pays for all of the military training and the weapons.”
Qassam rockets were first fired at Israel from Gaza in 2001—a total of 20 that year. According to data compiled by the Israel Police, the totals for subsequent years were:
2007—as of Monday, 156, 130 of them since May 15
Israel has reacted variously with limited military actions, periods of passive nonreaction, and in 2005 with a total withdrawal from Gaza that was widely praised as a wise and magnanimous gift to the Palestinians or a shrewd move that would box them in militarily. The huge increase, since that withdrawal, in Qassam fire on pre-1967 Israeli communities is even more dramatic considering that before then a large percentage of the rockets were fired at settlements within Gaza.
On Monday night Shir’el Friedman, a 32-year-old woman from Sderot, was killed by a Qassam that hit her car as she stood by it near a bakery in the center of the town. IsraelNationalNews.com notes that she was “Israel’s ninth fatal casualty of a Qassam rocket” and details the rest. The number of those wounded, traumatized, and living in daily terror includes, of course, all 20,000 residents of Sderot—about one-quarter of whom have recently been evacuated—and thousands of residents of other Gaza-belt communities.
At no time has this six-year assault been regarded by any official body—not even the Israeli government—as an emergency requiring whatever military measures are necessary to stop it. Indeed, Deputy Defense Minister Sneh went on to say that “Israel will need to consider escalating military operations in the Gaza Strip if rockets begin to fall in [towns further from Gaza such as] Netivot, Ashkelon or Kiryat Gat.” He did not explain why the fall of rockets on Sderot and the other places near Gaza was not already a reason for “escalating military operations in the Gaza Strip.”
Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 with strategic installations, has already been hit many times and was hit again on Tuesday. Its mayor has asked the government for “financial benefit packages including funding emergency medical equipment, an alternative generator for the municipality, budgets for increasing personnel, emergency vehicles and budgets for upgrading public bomb shelters.” As a Hamas official put it,
We call on our fighters to launch rockets attacks on the settlement of Ashkelon. . . . We will force the settlers to run away from Ashkelon as they have already done in the settlement of Sderot. We will continue to fight until the Jews leave all of Palestine.
In recent days Israel has resumed only limited aerial strikes against terrorist targets in Gaza, so far with no effect on the Qassam fire. Even hawkish military commanders are said to be concerned that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Al Qaeda and other terror groups are by now so entrenched in the Strip that invading it may turn out to be an Iraq-style trap for Israel. Indeed,
the groups vowed to turn the Gaza Strip into a “graveyard” for Israelis if the IDF invaded. “We will make the Jews drip tears of blood,” said [a terrorist commander]. “We will never find comfort until we shed the blood of the sons of monkeys and pigs.”
But most of all, Israel fears that stronger military action in Gaza will result in Palestinian civilian casualties—and it knows that this, and not the six-year siege of Sderot, is the one thing the world will not tolerate.
It appears, then, that the Islamic reconquest of Palestine is under way and, as of this moment, succeeding. The driving force behind the reconquest is Iran, with Egypt helping by enabling a steady stream of terrorists and weaponry into Gaza, Syria by giving various forms of support, and Saudi Arabia by providing ideological and financial backing.
Israel, for its part, is on the verge of becoming a failed state part of whose territory is no longer under its control, unable to provide security to citizens there who are helplessly under attack and fleeing.
Iran and its friends are undoubtedly enjoying the spectacle. They are, after all, confronting the West—in the form of Israel and the other Western countries that supposedly sympathize with the fact that even its non-“occupying” civilians are under attack; a dhimmified West that has internalized the principle that Palestinian life is the one thing that is sacred and, rather than even endanger it, it is preferable for Israel to turn into mayhem.