On Israel's television stations, the live images of the skies over Gaza are being viewed in most homes at this hour.
Our overwhelming sense of public opinion here is (a) a great pity that this had to be done (b) virtually the entire spectrum of political views within Israel accept the inevitability of what is now underway.
Thursday has been a day of drama and danger for all Israelis. It began with the discovery - and then elimination - of a large scale infiltration attempt near Kibbutz Sufa close to the Gaza border. This time (after two previous efforts, one from the sea near Kibbutz Zikim, the other a tunnel near the Kerem Shalom crossing) some 13 armed terrorists emerged from a tunnel around dawn [video here], and were spotted and then bombed. The thwarted goals of the terrorists can be guessed at.
UNRWA, evidently under considerable pressure from certain sources, owned up earlier today to the fact that one of its school buildings in Gaza had become a store for some 20 Hamas rockets [UNRWA announcement]. To anyone following the work of UNRWA this is no great surprise, other than for the admission. Hamas routinely, for years, has stored its weapons inside UNRWA facilities. And beyond mere storage it has placed its rocket launchers inside mosques, schools, hospitals - an extension of its tried and proven strategy of deploying human shields.
Meanwhile those rockets have kept coming, Tzeva Adom sirens have been heard in cities all over Israel all day, and Israel has finally declared enough, no more. In the IDF's words:
A large IDF force of infantry, tanks, artillery, combat engineers, and field intelligence is entering the Gaza Strip. The force is supported by the Israel Air Force, Navy, and other Israeli security agencies. Their mission is to target Hamas’ tunnels that cross under the Israel-Gaza border and enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks. Such a goal requires intensive and precise operations inside Gaza. Hamas terrorists are operating underground, and that is where the IDF will meet them. The IDF intends to impair Hamas’ capability to attack Israel. Hamas fires rockets at Israelis around the clock – 1,500 since July 8. The IDF is operating in order to counter this threat.We pray that the efforts of the IDF's service men and women in and on Gaza be executed with great effect, at minimum cost and quickly.