As I write Hamas firing rockets indiscriminately from Gaza on Southern and Central Israel. It started twee weeks ago just after the killing of three Israeli teenagers. Until today, Tuesday 8 July 2014, the government of Israel showed restrained in the face of constant barrages. Hamas ignored the calls from the Prime Minister of Israel that calm will be met with calm.
With the relentless firing of rockets on the Southern communities, Israel had no alternative to act and started Operation Protective Edge. The Israeli cabinet also approved the call up of 40,000 reservists, a signal for a ground incursion. The starting of Operation Protective Edge was introduced by an intense aerial campaign by striking Hamas targets overnight.
Hamas, regarded as a terrorist organisation by the US and Europe is on a self-destructed course. They leave Israel with no other option as to destroy their terror infrastructure. No sovereign country will tolerate the scale of terror on its citizens as initiated by Hamas.
The current developments place the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a very difficult position. To be able to retain credibility, they need to cancel their unity pact with Hamas. If not, it will be seen as support for Hamas which will have grave consequences for any peace agreement in the near future. Any peace process in the current atmosphere is impossible.
It seems that the latest round of conflagration will last longer than the previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas. There are clear signs that the Israeli public and specifically people living in the Southern regions of Israel reach their limit of tolerance. The situation became almost unbearable. Children living in these areas are traumatised by a constant threat of rockets. Where children normally play in peace at playgrounds, these children have to stay close to bomb shelters – an intolerable situation begging for a lasting solution.
A wide-scale operation in Gaza could also have unforeseen consequences. The Israeli government realise this – that is why the IDF meticulously planned the operation and not rushing into Gaza unprepared. The military planners certainly took the flammable situation in the Middle East in consideration.
The threat of the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) cannot be ignored. ISIS captured vast territory in Iraq and Syria and is on the march to Jordan. It is no secret that they want a Caliphate stretching from Iraq to Jordan. A spokesman for ISIS even proclaimed that no “gates” will stop them to reach Jerusalem. Hamas maybe emboldened by the gains of the Sunni Islamists and motivated by their gains.
Once again, Israel faces difficult times, but they are a nation of over comers and they will again emerge stronger. This is a time for all peace loving people to pray for a nation in distress and for the safety of its soldiers of whom some of them are still very young and would rather enjoy ordinary life.