Palestinians Thank Israel for Gaza With Rocket Attacks
When Israelis withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September under the pretense of improving their national security, the Trumpet was among the skeptics.
Unsurprisingly, Israeli Defense Force statistics reveal that Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip has not slowed the barrage of Kassam rockets being fired into southern Israel. After a month-long lull immediately after the withdrawal, light-weapons fire and rocket and mortar attacks have continued unabated.
Since August, 156 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel, with the number increasing each month. Because the Israelis have vacated the settlements in northern Gaza, the Palestinians are now able to bring their launching sites closer to the border of Israel and even reach into the industrial area of Ashkelon—which contains a power plant, oil pipleline and other vulnerable installations. Three rockets have landed in this vicinity just this week, one of them on an Israeli military base.
Last week, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists claimed they have developed a Kassam rocket with a range of 11 miles, “putting most major Israeli population centers within range of an attack from Gaza, Judea and Samaria” (Israel Faxx, December 16).
Israel’s options in dealing with such hostility are limited. To march right back into Gaza after its much-lauded departure would undo any supposed goodwill the withdrawal earned Israel in the international community and only increase criticism of Israel. In addition, it would only serve to fuel the Palestinian cause, increasing antagonism and possibly unleashing an even greater outbreak of violence.
Yoav Limor, military correspondent with Israel’s Channel One, doesn’t believe Israel will send troops into Gaza to stop the attacks. “Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not likely,” Limor told Army Radio yesterday, “to endanger practically his sole accomplishment of his term—the disengagement from Gaza—while paying a heavy political, international and even economic price …. Not to mention his bad experience with [Israel’s entry into] Lebanon ….”—speaking of what occurred in 1982 when Sharon was defense minister.
Israel’s past failure to act decisively in similar situations undermines its ability to do so as attacks continue. Limor cited two occasions when Israel had the opportunity to act decisively to prevent further rocket attacks: when the first mortar shell was fired from Gaza, landing on an Israeli house, on Jan. 30, 2001; and on September 14 this year, when the first shell was fired from Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal. “[N]ow it’s too late,” he said.
Although Israel has responded to the rocket strikes by launching several missiles against targets in the Gaza Strip, without troops on the ground, as Limor said, “There is no real military solution to Kassam rockets” (ibid.).
Non-military options Israel is exploring are (1) diplomacy, and (2) trying to sway Palestinian opinion against the terrorists. Neither is likely to work. Israel’s defense minister met with Egypt’s intelligence chief yesterday to persuade him to use his influence with Palestinian Authority leaders to crack down on the rocket-firing terrorists. Earlier in the week, Israel threatened to cut off Gaza’s electricity—only to renege when it was realized that Gaza hospitals had no generators.
And homemade rockets lobbed into Israel are by no means the greatest danger Israel faces upon having relinquished control of Gaza.
Security at the Gaza-Egypt Rafah border crossing since it was turned over to the Palestinians has proven a farce, as was predicted by Israel’s military and police. Referring to the security arrangements brokered by the United States, the head of the political-military section of the Israeli Ministry of Defense said, “The agreement is worthless” (U.S. News & World Report, December 19). Israeli security personnel were supposed to receive information on each individual passing in and out of Gaza in order to block entry of suspects. In reality, however, that information is reaching the Israelis after any such suspects have already entered Gaza. As a result, 10 to 15 high-ranking terrorists on Israel’s wanted list have entered the Palestinian territory, ready to plan and carry out more destruction against the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, within Gaza, anarchy reigns. “It is now ruled by warlords, armed gangs, and terrorists, with no independent judiciary or anything like the rule of law” (ibid.). What does having such a neighbor portend for Israel?
While the Israeli leadership defends the Gaza disengagement, claiming it enhances Israel’s security, the facts on the ground demonstrate otherwise.
Really, with Gaza hosting a thriving terrorist community; providing the security to build and hoard weaponry; and possessing a border with Egypt that is in no way as secure as it used to be, how can anyone say that the Gaza withdrawal has made Israel more secure?
As Israel bends over backward trying to accommodate Palestinian demands, Palestinian leaders do nothing to stop terrorist violence against Israel. Israel is being backed into a corner as it displays the defeatist attitude of compromise that is leading to its weakening and eventual destruction. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, “The problem is that God has broken their will, or the pride of their awesome power, because of their sins (Leviticus 26:19). And the problem is only going to get worse until they repent!”