Fighting in Gaza Continues

Israel is succeeding in its air strikes against Gaza. It has destroyed Hamas factories and administrative buildings as well as tunnels which circumvent the border crossings. Some civilians have been killed but the main targets have been Hamas leaders and police officers.

Israel intends to destroy Hamas’ military ability in order to stop the rocket shootings at Israel’s southern cities. Hamas has been shooting rockets further than ever before and the lives of the citizens of Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon and Ashdod have totally been disrupted. There have been 3 Israeli casualties. School vacation, which ended in the rest of the country this morning (since yesterday was the last day of Chanukah), has been extended in the south.

The army has maneuvered tanks to the border with Gaza and has receieved permission from the goverment to draft 6,700 additional soldiers. So far, none have been called up, but some men have received warnings they may be drafted in the near future. Israel is preparing for a long operation in Gaza.

Condemnation of the Israeli attack has not been as strong as we have come to expect. The international community (excepting the Arab world, of course) appears to accept that the Israelis were provoked by the constant rocket shooting of the last few years (!). As this operation continues, the media tide may turn, especially as the news coming out of Gaza is almost all coming from the Arab television station Al-Jazeera. Israeli journalists are not allowed in to Gaza, so even the Israeli news stations are showing footage taken by Al-Jazeera.

The White House backs Israel, saying that Hamas has shown its true colors as a terrorist organization. President-elect Obama is staying updated on the situation but refuses to express an opinion until he officially takes office on Jan. 20. Whether the battle is still going on by then or not, it will surely affect the Middle East policy of the new administration.

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