Why then do the Palestinians choose to attack Israel with sustained rocket fire which has no hope of achieving a military objective? Do these tactics constitute anything more than vandalism of civilian property and life?
With international opinion as it is, it begs the question of what Hamas hopes to gain by initiating this uptick of indiscriminate rocket fire. A recent appeal to the UN to condemn Israel's military operations proved to be non-productive:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Palestinian officials have asked the U.N. Security Council to act to halt Israel’s military operation in Gaza.
In a closed-door meeting of the Council on Wednesday night, U.N. observer Riyad Mansour said Israel was boasting publicly about killing Palestinians after conducting airstrikes that killed Hamas mastermind Ahmed Jabari. In the text of his statement, Mansour said ‘‘war crimes are being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people.’’
‘‘The international community must act to bring to bring an end to Israel’s illegal policies and practices against the Palestinian people’’ he said.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said the strikes were launched in response to days of rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza. He said no one complained when Palestinians were ‘‘raining rockets on Israeli civilians,’’ and that no nation would tolerate that.
‘‘Hamas has turned Gaza into a dump of ammunition and weapons supplies brought in from Iran,’’ he said.
Prosor said some of the representatives on the Council support Israel’s ‘‘right of self-defense and condemned the indiscriminate shooting of rockets upon innocent Israeli citizens.’’
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told the Council that the United States ‘‘strongly condemned’’ the rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel and expressed regret at the ensuing death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
But she added that ‘‘Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza not to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self-determination and independence,’’ Rice said.
The council adjourned without issuing any collective statement, and no further action was on the schedule.
Benjamin Netenyahu has indicated that Israel is prepared to halt operations if Hamas also halts their attacks . Since then upwards of 250 rockets have been fired and three Israelis killed. Unlike in the previous two wars with Hamas and Hezbollah where political concerns of the Olmert administration prevented a large scale land operation, Netenyahu has indicated he is prepared to engage and has mobilized 30,000 reservists.
http://debka.com/article/22528/First-three-Gaza-missiles-hit-Tel-Aviv-Israel-drafts-30-000-reservistsIn the only former major Israeli operation in Gaza, Cast Lead (late 2008, early 2009), the IDF was slow, unwieldy and unfocused. Its counter-terror offensive was foreshortened by heavy diplomatic pressure before achieving anything, owing to the government’s lack of resolve. In the 2006 Lebanon War, the army was stalled before developing an effective tactical offensive.
The IDF of 2012 is in a different class, recalling its rapid-fire performance in the Six-Day War then fought on multiple fronts.
In just a few hours late Wednesday, Nov. 14, Pillar of Cloud achieved more than Cast Lead managed in weeks: It was driven by clockwork, integrated intelligence by the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, precise, surgical air force strikes and a command-and-control with fast reflexes which recalled Israel’s military skills of 45 years ago.
The rapid destruction of scores of Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets, whose respective ranges of 45 and 75 kilometers placed Israel’s heartland in line of Palestinian strikes, compared with the destruction of the Egyptian air force on the ground in the early hours of the 1967 war, rather than the bombardment of Hizballah’s long-range missiles in 2006 which failed to draw its sting.
In 1967, the Egyptian army had to fight in Sinai without air cover. In 2012, the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip were stripped of their key commander and terror strategist and lost substantial, though not all, its missile arsenal.
In the only former major Israeli operation in Gaza, Cast Lead (late 2008, early 2009), the IDF was slow, unwieldy and unfocused. Its counter-terror offensive was foreshortened by heavy diplomatic pressure before achieving anything, owing to the government’s lack of resolve. In the 2006 Lebanon War, the army was stalled before developing an effective tactical offensive.
The tough part of the Israeli operation to eliminate the terrorist war peril hovering over southern Israel from the Gaza Strip is still to come. For now, Hamas is at a loss for a strategic answer to the IDF offensive – unless one is provided by Tehran or Hizballah coming to its rescue.
Indeed, Iran is the wild card in this scenario and the events place place President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a precarious position. It's estimated that Iran needs 2-6 months to produce enough weapons grade material to fuel a nuclear warhead and to directly intervene on Palestine's behalf would almost certainly draw an Israeli strike. If they choose not to act they may lose their tactical arm to the south of Israel, eliminating their ability to open multiple fronts on the ground.
Iran's options include standing by and watching as one of their surrogates is potentially dismantled under the more efficient directive of Netenyahu, mobilizing Hezbollah as a proxy army opening a second front to Israel's north, or to actively engage with the 10's of thousands of Revolutionary Guards units currently assisting Assad with the Syrian crisis. The timing is tactically inconvenient for Iran as it may prove politically convenient to Israel for Iran to strike now.
Regardless, it's proving difficult for Hamas to maintain Palestine's victim image on the international stage while firing rockets for hours and days at a time with no Israeli response. If Hamas continues they stand to lose not only the image they have worked so hard to cultivate, but also their ability to function as an organization.