Scorched Earth

The latest tactic of the Hamas terrorist organization in their overall strategy of destroying Israel and all of its Jewish inhabitants, is to fly flammable balloons and kites over the border into Israel.  Of course these are indiscriminate weapons, they have set fire to thousands of acres of arable land, houses and businesses, but luckily so far no-one has been killed.  The area of land scorched by these flammable weapons is ca. 7,500 acres or about 5,000 football pitches.

The problem in countering them is that Hamas uses children to protect the launching sites and the terrorists sending these weapons.  Attacking the sites directly would involve the death of children, that of course would be blamed on Israel.   So far Israel has retaliated against only a few of these launching sites.  But, since late Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, Hamas launched about 200 missiles of various kinds into Israel.  Of these ca. 50 were intercepted by the Patriot anti-missile system, and about 75 fell within Gaza territory.  One fell within a kibbutz and another in Sderot, and three Israelis were wounded.  People ask why are the Israeli casualties are so low.  The reason is that we have warning sirens, and although in some cases there is only 30 seconds to take cover, we also have shelters almost everywhere.  In fact, it is required by law for all buildings and all private homes to have shelters.  Those that were built without them must add them if there is any renovation (this is what we did before we moved to Beer Sheva).

There was an immediate counter-attack by Israel.  The IAF hit 40 targets in Gaza in a daytime raid, the largest since  the war of 2014.  Although Egypt and the UN tried to mediate a ceasefire, this was only partially successful, since Hamas refused to stop using the flammable balloons and kites.  PM Netanyahu promised further counter-measures to stop these attacks.  This included stopping all commercial and gas and power supplies to Gaza (food and medical supplies are still being transported). There are some in Israel who see these counter-measures as merely temporary, giving Hamas the time to re-organize, re-train, and start another round of attacks.  Those who think like this, would like to see the IDF use its full might to utterly destroy Hamas and its control over Gaza.

The problem with this approach is that then, contrary to current conditions, there might indeed be a humanitarian problem in Gaza, for which Israel would be held responsible.  This is a lose-lose situation for Israel that few in the West understand, in which the weaker of the two parties to the conflict is always the  aggressor, and in a situation of asymmetric warfare, Israel will always be held to blame by the liberal West for it use of disproportionate force, a phrase that is unknown to military experts.

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