”On a personal level, the paradox of the past month is that in the face of heartbreaking pain and the violence of war, my experience has been one of unparalleled love.
”While the bond of ’brothers in arms’ is a universal phenomenon, I find the love I feel for my fellow soldiers overtaking me like a wave. It is hard to explain as I don’t fully understand it myself. All I know is that I would happily give my life for any one of my fellow soldiers and I don’t doubt for a moment that they would do the same for me. Together we would not hesitate to give our lives for you.
”Throughout this war we have felt the love you have showered upon us – you have given us so much. I have never felt so much love from so many. Jews from both Israel and the Diaspora have flooded us with more care packages, clean underwear, dry socks, candy, potato chips and toothpaste then we can use. Jewish communities, federations, missions and individuals have not let the dangers of this war stop them from coming and volunteering. Hospitals have had to issue statements requesting that people refrain from visiting the wounded, for the lines to visit them were clogging the hallways and stairwells.
”Tens of thousands comfort the families of the soldiers slain and communities around the world hold solidarity and memorial rallies.
”We hang up your children’s letters next to our beds. I know a couple of them by heart. We read the articles, videos and Facebook posts with which you defend us and support us as we fight this just and moral war.
”While there will always be exceptions, from here it seems that this wave of solidarity spans the entirety of the religious, ideological and political spectrum. From the Gaza border the unity behind us feels unprecedented.”
“Arrested on May 27...Riad Natzer, is accused of raising over NIS 1.5 million for terror operations, buying weapons for his operatives and organizing them into cells – each trained for a different kind of terror activity.
“...Known for allegedly running Hamas's terror operations ‘with lust’ for his job, Natzer recruited dozens of operatives and Natzer's arrest also led to the arrests of dozens of those operatives.”
The above was written Thursday night, but I held off on sending it to see how the situation with Hamas evolved.
Yesterday, Hamas, unhappy that its demands in the negotiations were not being met, refused to agree to an extension of the ceasefire – although Israel had already done so. But until this morning it was not entirely clear if that was an attempt at extortion (as Lieberman called it) or a declaration of a genuine intent to start launching rockets again.
Now we know that it was very serious indeed, as Hamas has been launching rockets at the south – at Sderot, Ashkelon, Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, etc. - since 8 AM, which marked the end of the three-day ceasefire. (Actually, I understand two mortars had been fired before the end of the ceasefire.) As I write, already 35 rockets have been launched. By the time you read this, it will be much more.
I held my breath for a while, as Israel did not respond immediately. But by about 10 AM the Air Force had begun to return fire.
We have recalled our negotiating teams from Cairo. Hamas had said it would agree to continue negotiating while it fired rockets. In their dreams.
Hamas has a problem: its leaders invited destruction upon Gaza with its attacks and promised the population of Gaza that there would be a success in the end that will have made it all worth while. But they have nothing to show the people. Thus their shooting persists with a “go for broke” mentality.
I cited an IDF source just the other day that said Hamas had crawled to Cairo on its knees begging for a ceasefire. Not quite. Hamas may have sought that ceasefire, but only with the intention of securing good terms in the subsequent negotiations. It is not yet on its knees and it must be brought down if not eliminated. At present it still possess too much strength.
Our troops are still at the border of Gaza and I have no clue as to whether they will be sent in again. What I do know is that the soldiers themselves are ready and eager. Netanyahu said there would be a forceful response if Hamas started firing again. Truly, do I hope so. No token bombings.
That seems to be what our MKs across the political spectrum are calling for: a very vigorous and determined response, as our deterrence depends upon this. This is being said by the left as much as the right.
All that I so thoughtfully wrote the other day about how there is an argument for not continuing the fight in Gaza has been rendered moot now. Currently we are in an “ein breira” (no choice) situation. It’s not whether we think we should continue to fight or not: We must.
Shabbat preparations call to me now. When next I write, there may be a bit more clarity on the situation, and there will be time to make comments about Obama and other players on the diplomatic stage.