|Representatives of the people in Gaza to whom Israel is|
presenting a confoundingly undeserved gift: Hamas [Image Source: AFP]
Meanwhile there is more recent news, and in Israeli minds it's hardly unconnected. (Forget about international reaction; as of this hour, there is a barely a mention of the following in any non-Israeli news channel.)
During the early hours of Monday morning, an as-yet-unspecified number of terrorist rockets were fired into the Hof Ashkelon region of southern Israel as well as in the precincts of the city of Ashkelon. Terrorist rockets are the sort that are fired by men with no particular objective or discernment other than to have them crash as close to where ordinary civilians on the other side of the fence live and - given the hour - sleep, and to do the greatest possible amount of damage. There is rarely a strategic objective to such attacks beyond trying to kill and maim as many of the hated enemy's people as possible.
Fortunately there are so far no reports this morning of any damage on the Israeli side. But the fact that the IDF's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system successfully brought down one of the rockets is a clear indication that the incoming terrorist attack was on track for hitting a population center in the city of Ashkelon (population about 120,000). Given the huge cost of each Iron Dome counter-measure, it is activated only after the people manning it determine that the threat is on-target and must be stopped. The terrorists were evidently on target with at least one of their shots. Large explosions were heard as the Iron Dome did its work. Israel National News is reporting an incoming volley of four terrorist rockets. The three that were not intercepted by the Iron Dome system landed harmless in open Israeli fields. This, it goes without saying, was not the intention of the men shooting them across the border from Gaza.
There were other attacks on southern Israel from the Gazan Palestinian Arab side some hours earlier.
The attacks and their timing are causing more than the usual consternation among residents of the south. Israel Hayom reported this past Friday that the IDF is about to pull out part of its defensive forces from towns bordering the Gaza Strip, in a move that was termed "unbelievable... an irresponsible and rash decision". Council heads from the Shaar Hanegev, Eshkol and Hof Ashkelon regions issued a joint statement calling the Defense Ministry decision "erroneous, and pointing to the [Defense Ministry's] obtuseness and a lack of understanding of reality". Israel Hayom quotes one of the regional security officials reflecting on the "short period of apparent quiet" and asking somewhat presciently
"But what will happen if terrorism returns tomorrow?"Tomorrow has arrived, and with it a reminder of what Frimet Roth wrote in the Jerusalem Post of Friday, October 17, 2013 ["Releasing terrorists only encourages terrorism"]:
Potential killers are flush with the confidence that if caught they will be freed shortly afterward.Naturally, there is another way of looking at the evolving events. One can watch as Israel's prime minister lectures his nation on the inviolable sanctity of "keeping promises" to free dozens convicted killers of his fellow citizens, and see fresh ranks of the same killers stepping up to the mortars and the rocket launchers and say to oneself "Ah, peace is surely just around the corner. I can feel it coming."
Alternatively, one can look on with deepening sorrow and observe that our side is providing incomprehensible encouragement to the killers of women and children in the name of a disgraceful kind of political expediency.