Beyond the Cusp

June 21, 2012

Hamas Announces Cease-Fire, Sort-of

Hamas had launched another of their rocket diplomacy assaults against southern Israel starting last Friday afternoon. They forced many Israeli schools to be closed that were within relatively close proximity to the Gaza Strip due to the danger posed to having all the students in one locality. Even open air events were forced to be cancelled within approximately ten miles of the Gaza Strip as it was necessary to keep people in areas close to the public shelters which are placed throughout many neighborhoods such as Sederot as these places have anywhere from fifteen seconds to close to a minute at the furthest range of the rockets to access these shelters at any time of the day or night. Life in general adjusts and by necessity partially shuts down during these offensives making normalcy impossible. The fortunate piece of news is that these rockets are not sufficiently accurate that they can be utilized to target individual buildings, homes, or other places where Jews may gather. There were a number of casualties resulting from this barrage with at least one person receiving serious wounds. There were fortunately no deaths reported as of the time of this writing. Hamas has announced that they will agree to an Egyptian brokered cease-fire providing Israel stops all reprisals and attacks against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Here is the quote from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades via AFP.

“In response to the Egyptian efforts to try and stop the aggression on our people, we at Al-Qassam Brigades and all resistance factions declare our commitment to stop this round of confrontation, as long as (Israel) commits to stopping its crimes. Our confrontation with the enemy in this round was at the minimal level of fire and responses, this is a message that the (Israeli) leaders should understand very well.”

In another statement from an anonymous Egyptian source was quoted saying, “The Palestinian factions are ready to return to the calm as long as Israel stops its attacks.”

This has become an almost predictable series of events coming from Hamas with periods of intolerable numbers of rockets and mortars being fired into the communities in southern Israel, often over a weekend when they know the Israeli response will be muted by the Sabbath, followed by a plea in coordination with the Egyptians claiming the willingness of Hamas to end this period of increased actions on both sides, but only if Israel agrees to end all reprisals for attacks on their citizens, property, and social order. This is done not as a true desire for peace but in an attempt to circumvent any reciprocal attacks of equal magnitude from the Israelis. Hamas spends months gathering and readying stores of rockets and teams to fire them in large numbers over as quick a period as they are able, often starting on a Friday late afternoon and continuing through Monday and when they have launched most all of their stored rockets they call Egypt who then contact Israel and demand the immediate end to hostilities. In this manner Hamas is able to inflict maximum damage while minimizing Israeli reprisals which are often more damaging to Hamas in a physical and material sense than the rockets take out on Israel. The other side of these attempts to murder as many Jews as luck allows with these inaccurate unguided rockets do succeed in causing great mental and societal damage upon Israeli communities and the price in intangibles is very much higher for the Israelis than it is for Hamas.

So, once again after launching approximately an average of twenty five rockets a day for four days, that’s one rocket every hour for four days raining down on civilian targets, then Hamas demands a complete ceasefire in order to avoid suffering the wrath and full retribution which the IDF is capable of unleashing. Yes, there were a series of raids carried out by Israeli forces but the number was far less than the total of rockets launched during this Hamas offensive. Now the Israelis living within the range of these various rockets can look forward to relative calm. Of course, relative calm still means that there will likely be anywhere from two or three rockets per week to periods where for a few days, usually three or four, there will be anywhere from three to five rockets fired per day. These mini-offensives are always said to be the work of Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, or any other terrorist group other than Hamas and the leadership in Gaza which is Hamas claim innocence and an inability to prevent these others from launching attacks. Hamas makes sure to claim that such attacks are unauthorized like that is supposed to make them permissible. Would the swarms of NGOs who condemn Israel for every retaliatory strike forgive Israel if some unauthorized individuals fired rockets into Gaza? You can bet they would scream all the louder for Israel to control such attacks and claim that the Jews were allowing genocidal entities to roam free and savage innocent Palestinians. They come close to claiming that currently when Israel responds to attacks such as those over the past four days. Well, at least the relative calm should last until mid to late July or definitely by the end of August. Then there will be another ruinous weekend of stark terror for those Israelis whose lives will be thunderously broken and whose nerves will fray and take weeks to return to some semblance of normal, if they ever recover. Then Hamas will make their call to their cohorts in Egypt and beg, more like demand, a cease to all hostilities as they are out of rockets. Eventually such pure cruelty and viscous periods of barrages will provoke a response from Israel which will include an IDF offensive into Gaza followed almost immediately by an outcry from every corner of the globe demanding Israel cease their senseless attack on the poor, innocent Palestinian citizens of Gaza. These will be the same groups who have been silent this past four days as the rockets rained down on innocent Israelis; but then these defenders of all that is holy don’t believe in innocent Israelis, do they.

The other side that also loses during these exchanges is the Palestinians themselves who are not part of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist group and, just as the Israelis, simply wish to be allowed to get on with their lives in peace. Fortunately for these Palestinians, the Israeli strikes are usually extremely accurate and are solely aimed at known terrorist warehouses, rocket manufacturing facilities, terrorist training locations, and actual terrorist leaders when such opportunity allows for minimal to no innocents are likely to also be hit. Unfortunately for some Palestinians, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda of Gaza and other terror entities have been known to force innocent families to allow the storage of weapons, munitions and other related materials to be stored in or in close proximity to their homes, hospitals, and schools. For this reason, many of the explosive charges in the rockets, bombs, and other weapon systems utilized by the Israelis are modified in such a way as to make the explosive charges much smaller in order to minimize peripheral damages and unintended casualties. One example is the Hellfire Missile utilized by the Israelis for targeting terror leaders in a vehicle has its charge reduced from the standard 18-20 pounds of explosives to 4 pounds or less as demanded by the situation. The Israelis attempt to use as small a charge as is absolutely necessary to guarantee the elimination of the target while minimizing all other damages. There have been verified cases where an Israeli strike to kill a terror leader of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other related group where people within ten feet of the vehicle targeted were not injured and in a few cases others riding in the car with the target were injured but survived the attack. On the other side, every one of the rockets fired into Israel carry the maximum charge they are able to carry which has been verified both by the damages incurred and also inspection of those munitions which failed to detonate. The saving grace on both ends of this conflict is directly due to accuracy. For the Israelis it is that the terrorists very seldom are able to actually do more than target a general direction and thus often have their rockets explode doing relatively little physical damage though the emotional impact remain high whether something is hit or not and there have been quite a number of casualties and deaths from these attacks. For the Palestinians it is the accuracy and often reduced charges in the munitions which prevents the inflicting of massive casualties as many of the terror targets are intentionally placed within densely populated areas and even next to or within sensitive targets such as schools, apartment buildings, and even hospitals and frequently in adjacent buildings to international or United Nations buildings with the intent to cause maximum damages to these other people or buildings.

Beyond the Cusp

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