Israel has called up army reserves, the standing army is poised for a ground invasion of Gaza, the air force and navy is attacking a list of specified targets, mostly Hamas fighters and weapons facilities. All is set for war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
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The only sure thing, in this fog of war, is that nobody actually wants the war to take place -- not Israel, not Hamas.
It is a tightrope of the most dangerous kind.
Israel is resolved to end the Palestinian rocket attacks on its southern cities and communities -- 100 rockets fired in the five days before Israel's response and, at the time of writing, 150 since.
Israel's surprise attack Wednesday killed the man who has been on top of Israel's hit list for a decade, Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, accused of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis, as well as taking part in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was held hostage in Gaza for five years.
But just as significant, according to the Israeli military, its precision air attacks destroyed most of Hamas' stockpile of long-range Fajr rockets, whose 47-mile range threatens cities in central Israel, including the country's largest, Tel Aviv.
Not only would that end the threat, but it would end the threat of unplanned escalation. For if Tel Aviv suffered casualties from rocket attacks, the government would have no choice but to order the ground invasion of Gaza.
To illustrate the precipice on which the region now stands, Hamas said it had fired a 1.1 ton, Iranian-made Fajr rocket at Tel Aviv, but there was no reported impact in the Israeli city and the claim appeared to be unfounded.
A Fajr rocket would likely kill and injure many if it exploded in an unprepared city.
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SOURCE: NBC News