Tag Archives: rockets

Santa Israel Delivers Goods To Gazans

Israel reopened the border crossings into Gaza in a last minute attempt by its government to prevent the escalation of violence caused by constant rocket attacks from Hamas forces in the strip. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he authorized the opening of the crossings for “essential humanitarian supplies” in response to requests from the international community. It is reported about 90 trucks loaded with grain, fuel, and other goods have entered Gaza. On Wednesday, Hamas fired about 80 rockets into Israel as the so-called “truce” between its forces and Israel ended earlier this week. Prime Minister Olmert made clear this was a last minutes attempt to avoid war and if Hamas continued with its bombing it risked the prospect of an Israel invasion of the area and the death of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians.

Israel may decide on a step-by-step escalation of use of its armed forces in Gaza in order to avoid a major operation. Hamas is beguiled by the fight put up in Lebanon by Hizbullah and believes it can perform a similar success in Gaza. Hizbullah had mountains in which to hide and use in defending themselves against the Israel armed forces. Gaza is flat and open to a tank attack. Hopefully, calmer minds in Hamas will lead to discussions rather than to rockets.

Hamas Insists It Wants Truce With Israel

A senior Hamas official insisted his group wanted to maintain the current Gaza truce with Israel. He emphasized to the media, “all factions and armed groups have to be committed to the truce, although Israel is not committed to it.” He believes Egypt has to take a more pro-active stance toward Israel and to make certain the truce holds. On one hand, rocket attacks continue from Gaza to Israel territory while Hamas insists Israel is to blame for violating the cease fire agreement. On Friday, two rockets hit Israel territory and one nearly hit a group of Israeli police.

Of course, on the other hand, Israel continues expanding it settlements on the West Bank which is hardly a step toward peace. Both sides talk about cease fires and both insist they are the ones committed to peace while each violates any agreement that has been made.

Hunkering Down In Green Zone-Surge Working?

Dick Cheney and John McCain came and went announcing to the media how the Bush surge had significantly reduced violence in Baghdad. During the past few days, warning sirens echo through Baghdad and within seconds rockets and mortars strike, sometimes in one or two, other times 10 or more. The danger has completely reshaped lives of those living in the heavily protected area. On Thursday, the State Department ordered Embassy personnel not to leave reinforced structures and all employees are required to wear helmets and other protective gear while in or outside. The attacks apparently are the work of members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia who are fightng the government of Iraq both in Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere. One explosion on Thursday ignited a fire in the central area of the zone that sent a massive column of thick, black smoke drifting over the Tigris River.

On Easter Sunday at least 12 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed by rockets that went astray. Inside the Green Zone, American personnel are sleeping on cots and on couches in heavily reinforced buildings to escape rocket and mortar shells. The barrages are definitely coming from Shiite areas located in eastern Baghdad. Rockets are fired from mobile rocket launchers which are quckly moved to other locations.

We await comments from John McCain about the success of his ideas that additional soldiers, in themselves, will result in peace in Iraq. The failure to launch a political offensive is among the reasons for further violence.

Iran Rocket — Russian Nyet!

Iran announced that it had fired a rocket which had a rather long range. The Russian government, which has been supportive of Iran in its conflict with the United Nations over a supposed nuclear weapon program, is upset at this latest development in Iranian weaponry. Russian deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyuko, noted: “Any movement in terms of creating such a potential weapon worries us and others. All the more since it raises suspicion toward Iran about its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon.” The Russian diplomat pointed out nations which develop such long range rockets are usually connecting them to a nuclear system.

The Russian government has used Iran as a ploy in fighting against the United States and the European Union, but its desire has always been to restrict Iran from having access to nuclear weapons. A nuclear Muslim Iran sitting on the southern boundary of Russia, a nation containing millions of Muslims, is not exactly what Putin and other leaders believes is healthy for the safety of their nation.

Israel Cuts Off Electricity To Gaza-But Are Israelis Meeting With Hamas?

Senior Israel officials said Israel will initiate a new policy of imposing restrictions on the Gaza population each time a rocket is fired from that area. Channel 2 claims the action is not meant to punish Palestinians but to implement an Israel Cabinet meeting of last month which designated Gaza as a “hostile entity.” Channel 10 says the plan entails cutting off electricity for 15 minutes ever time a Kassem rocket is launched from Gaza. According to an Israel official, “we need to show the residents of Gaza that life does not carry on freely when Kassem rockets land in Israel.” At the same time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the newspaper, Al-Arabiyeh that “there are meeting between Hamas and Israel at th Erez crossing and other places” which are attempting to negotiate a way out of the present conflict in Gaza. Both Hamas and Israel officials deny such meetings have taken place.

Collective punishment was frequently discussed during WWII after the Germans used that policy to punish villages or groups of people. It was generally believed in the western world that collective punishments were characteristics of totalitarian societies, not democratic ones.

Lebanon Paper Blasts Hamas Inaction On Rocket Attacks

In a blistering editorial, the Lebanon Daily Star, criticized rocket attacks on Israel at a time when the people of Gaza lack jobs and depend on UN food supplies. “..to make matters worse, the continuation of rocket strikes into Israel produces a steady stream of violent responses from the Jewish state that often claims the lives of the innocent. The editor notes the overwhelming majority of rockets cause scant damage and can hardly be construed as a form of resistance. “Their only function is to provide a regular pretext for Israeli attacks that have killed hundreds of Gazans…By allowing the rockets to keep flying, Hamas is allowing an irresponsible few to endanger and possibly destroy the dreams that so many have waited so long to realize.”

I agree with the Lebanon Daily Star. There is no evidence rockets are any form of “resistance.” Only one, which fell literally be accident, into an Israel army camp, caused any damage. Palestinians need peace, not war. Hamas would do more for peace by reaching out to form alliances with Israel peace groups than by allowing rockets and refusing to accept the existence of a Jewish state.