What Netanyahu needs to say is posted below.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made the following speech in front of the Knesset that we wish would have actually been given:
To Ismail Haniya, and the leaders and operatives of Hamas: We, the people of Israel, owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have succeeded where we have failed.
You stole three of our most precious children, and slaughtered them in cold blood. But before we could discover the horrible truth, we had 18 days of pain and anxiety while we search for them, during which our nation united as never before, in prayer, in hopes, in mutual support.
And now, as you continue to launch deadly missiles indiscriminately , intended to maim and murder as many civilians as possible, while you take cowardly refuge behind your own civilians – you continue to inspire us to hold strongly on to our newly discovered unity. Whatever disputes we Jews may have with each other, we now know that we have one common goal: we will defeat you.
But we are offering you now one last chance. Within 24 hours , all rocket fire and I mean all rocket fire – will cease. Completely. Forever. I give you formal notice that our tanks are massed at the Gaza border, with artillery and air support at the ready. We have already dropped leaflets over the northern parts of the Gaza strip warning civilians of our impending arrival, and that they should evacuate southward, forthwith. If you fail to meet our ultimatum, we are coming in, and, with God’s help this time we will not leave. Every centimeter of land that we conquer will be annexed to Israel, so that there will never be another attack launched at our civilians from there.
Even so, we will continue to keep the door open to allow you to surrender gracefully. The moment you announce that you are laying down arms, we will halt our advance, and there we will draw our new borders. If you continue to attack our citizens,we will continue to roll southwards, driving you out of territory that you will never again contaminate with your evil presence.
It pains me deeply that your civilians will be made homeless. But we did not choose this war; you did. And if our choice is between allowing our citizens to be targeted mercilessly by your genocidal savagery, versus turning your civilians into refugees, I regret that we must choose the latter. If only you loved your people as much as you hate ours, this war would never have happened.
To the rest of the world: Israel has tired of your ceaseless chidings that we should “show restraint”. When you have your entire population under constant missile fire from an implacable enemy whose stated goal is the murder every man, woman and children your land, then you may come and talk to us about” restraint”. Until then, we respectfully suggest that you keep your double standards to yourselves. This time, Hamas has gone too far, and we will do whatever we have to in order to protect our population.
Hamas, once again, I thank you for bringing our people together with such clarity of mind and unity of purpose. The people of Israel do not fear the long road ahead.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Given the Prime Ministers presentation, what will the coming days look like? Below is what Israel could face and for sure is prepared to face. This is the exact reason that leaders from other countries are working to broker a cease fire/peace agreement in haste. The cease fire agreement presented by Egypt was accepted by Israel, but within an hour it was completely dismissed by Hamas. So, in coming days matters in Gaza will be more aggressive.
- Hamas is seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion of Gaza, as the group’s military wing seeks to re-establish itself as the key decision-maker, and to return the movement to its origins as a resistance organisation.
- The Hamas-Israel conflict is unlikely to end in the coming week or two, and a ground invasion in which Israeli troops will be vulnerable to ambush and anti-tank rockets is increasingly probable.
- Frequent rocket fire is likely to target key Israeli assets such as ports and airports, which will probably force their shut down. Risks of actual physical damage will be strongly mitigated by the Iron Dome missile defence system, but will increase political pressure for a ground invasion. There will be a high risk of a three-front war if Hizbullah attempts to relieve pressure on Hamas by attacking Israeli positions along the Golan Heights and Shebaa farms, or firing rockets from south Lebanon.
Hamas appears to be seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion of Gaza, in which Hamas calculates it can inflict heavy casualties on Israel. However, this risks an unintended escalation that draws Syria and Hizbullah into the fray.
Hamas’s military wing, the Ezz Eddine al-Qassam Brigades, on 8 July sent a seaborne unit to attack an Israeli position in Askhalon, southern Israel; and fired rockets against Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and against Jerusalem, which were intercepted by Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.
IHS had assessed that Hamas does not desire an escalation at a time when it is besieged by Egypt and has just reconciled with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Movement. However, it appears that the military wing of Hamas is seeking an escalation with Israel in an attempt to force Israel and Egypt to end the siege of Gaza and restore Hamas’s credibility as a resistance movement, as they perceive that the political processes of peace with Israel and reconciliation with Fatah have failed. An IHS source claims that Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal has lost control over the militant arm, and that he was not aware of the military wing’s intent to launch rockets against central Israel or of the 12 June kidnapping and subsequent killing of three teenage Israeli settlers.
For its part, Israel on 8 July authorised the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to call up to 40,000 reservists, and conducted hundreds of air raids on Gaza. It would take Israel two to three days to recruit the reservists. The exact number of reservists it calls in will be the key indicator of Israel’s intent to launch a ground invasion.
Hamas emulating Hizbullah
During the 1996 Israel-Hizbullah conflict, Hizbullah succeeded in imposing new rules on Israel, forcing the latter to accept that the militant group would retaliate against attacks on Lebanese civilians by attacking Israeli civilians. Hizbullah’s objective was to sideline civilians and change the nature of the conflict with Israel into a war of attrition waged by its guerrilla arm against the IDF in southern Lebanon. For Hizbullah, the 1996 conflict succeeded in forcing Israel to limit its retaliation options against Hizbullah, and, despite a ceasefire being agreed, fighting continued and many Israeli soldiers were killed or wounded until Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.
Despite the loss of life, each conflict with Israel ended with Hizbullah expanding its arsenal, improving the sophistication of its forces, and expanding the set of targets that it could attack in Israel, as well as the number, range and firing rate of its rockets.
Hamas is seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion into Gaza, as it calculates that it can impose a high number of military casualties on Israel using ambushes against dismounted infantry and Kornet missiles against armour. Moreover, Hamas probably assesses that a ground invasion would be an opportunity to capture Israeli soldiers, which can then be used to negotiate prisoner exchanges and the easing of the blockade by Israel and Egypt.
Hamas calculates that by expanding the range of its rockets, it can impose significant economic damage on Israel by forcing its civilians into shelters, ports to shut down for fear of ships being hit by wayward rockets, and airports to close, while at the same time disrupting the mid-year tourism season. This, in Hamas’s view, compensates for Israel’s disproportionate ability to inflict damage on infrastructure and private properties and its ability to impose a very high number of casualties, both military and civilians. Hamas is extremely unlikely to have taken the escalatory steps of launching a raid on Ashkalon and firing rockets at central Israel without Iranian assurances that Iran would rearm the group and help it rebuild its capabilities after this ongoing round of conflict ends, as it did following the 2008 and 2012 conflicts.
The Israeli military sees the need to regularly reduce the capability of Israel’s Arab rivals through frequent, limited military confrontations at a time of its choosing in which the IDF overwhelms its foes with its firepower. However, Hizbullah and Hamas have succeeded in building up their capability after each conflict with Israel. This led Israel to attempt to destroy Hizbullah entirely in the 2006 conflict, an objective it failed to achieve partly due to its heavy reliance on airpower.
Israel fears that a success in the P5+1-Iran nuclear negotiations, at least by the end of 2014 if not in the coming weeks, would allow Iran to significantly boost the funding of Hamas and Hizbullah, and to recreate a similar movement in Syria. As such, there is a high probability that Israel would calculate that it needs to weaken Hizbullah and Syria ahead of the conclusion of the negotiations. An Israeli war with Syria and Hizbullah would inflict heavy damage against Israel due to Syria and Hizbullah’s ability to fire a high number of rockets. However, Israel would probably calculate that by severely damaging the Syrian and Lebanese armies, it would force Hizbullah into a longer war against the Sunnis, which Israel would use to its advantage. Moreover, Israeli officials have regularly said that a war with Hizbullah is a question of when, not if.
In the increasingly likely event of a ground invasion by the IDF against Gaza, there will be a high risk of Hizbullah choosing to relieve pressure on Hamas by conducting attacks on Israel’s northern border, either in the Golan Heights or in Lebanon itself. IHS assesses that Hizbullah was probably responsible for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack south of the Golan’s Majdal Shams in March 2014, to which Israel responded by shelling Syrian army positions. Although Hizbullah most likely does not wish to fight on two fronts as it is engaged in a war on the side of the Syrian army, and increasingly so in Iraq, it will probably calculate that Israel does not wish to fight a two-front war either. This risks drawing both sides into an escalation that neither side wants but that is based on the two sides misreading one another’s strategic intentions, and raises the risk of a four-way conflict involving the Syrian military’s missile forces, Hizbullah, Hamas, and Israel.
Hamas’s escalation makes it unlikely that Israel would be able to avoid a ground invasion of Gaza, despite its evident reluctance, although it will attempt to limit this to attacks on Gaza’s fringes, and will seek to avoid being drawn in deeply into Gazan territory. However, Hamas is likely to fire its longer-range rockets, such as the Buraq-70 and the Fajr-5, from deep within Gaza in order to force Israel’s hand. This would bring Israeli targets such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem, including ports and airports there, into range.
Hamas is likely to be able to fire up to around 10 missiles per day towards central Israel, and the port cities of Askhelon and Haifa. The risk of damage is strongly mitigated by the Iron Dome. However, Iron Dome in southern Israel risks being overwhelmed by the intensity of the rocket fire: on 8 July, Hamas and other groups fired up to 80 missiles in a matter of minutes. However, this risk will be very low around Haifa and Tel Aviv, against which Hamas is almost certainly unable to sustain this kind of firing rate.
Moreover, in the event of a ground invasion against Gaza leads to a high number of Israeli military casualties, there will be a severe risk of lightly armed Israeli settlers attacking nearby Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and of attacks by lightly armed Israeli citizens against Israeli Arabs in Haifa, Nazareth, and East Jerusalem. This will raise civil unrest risks throughout Israel, as well as the risk of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank attempting to breach the Barrier Wall that separates the West Bank from Israel proper.
Last, although Israel and Hizbullah will both seek to avoid a two-front war, there is a risk that Hizbullah action against Israel aimed at relieving pressure on Hamas would lead to a broader conflagration, as a result of Hizbullah miscalculating and of Israel seeking to weaken Hizbullah ahead of a final Iran-P5+1 agreement.