World View: Hamas Vows Revenge as Israel Begins Military Operation in Gaza

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Israel launches military operation in Gaza
  • Hamas says that Israel 'Opened the gates of hell on itself'
  • U.N. security council and Arab League plan emergency sessions
  • Europe-wide anti-austerity marches turn violent in Spain and Portugal

Israel launches military operation in Gaza

Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Wednesday
Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Wednesday

Tensions have been rising significantly in the Mideast since Saturday, when the Islamic Jihad terrorist group started launching rockets at homes in southern Israel. Some 500 rockets have been launched since then.

On Wednesday, Israel's Foreign Ministry issued the following communiqué:

"The Cabinet directed the IDF and the ISA to continue vigorous action against the terrorist infrastructures operating from the Gaza Strip against the civilian population in Israel in order to allow a normal life for the residents of the State of Israel.

It was unanimously decided, this evening (Wednesday, 14 November 2012):

1. To direct the IDF and the ISA to continue vigorous action against the terrorist infrastructures operating from the Gaza Strip against the civilian population in Israel in order to bring about an improvement in the security reality and allow a normal life for the residents of the State of Israel.

Alongside the military effort, Israel will, to the best of its ability, work to avoid harming civilians while honoring the humanitarian needs of the population, in keeping with the rules of international law.

2. To direct the IDF, the Home Front Defense Ministry, the Israel Police and all relevant agencies to take all necessary measures in keeping with Defense Minister Ehud Barak's statement regarding the declaration of a special home front situation.

3. To allow the IDF, as per need and with the approval of Defense Minister Barak, to mobilize reserve units.

4. To direct the National Information Directorate and the Foreign Ministry, in conjunction with all relevant agencies, to explain Israel's actions, in Israel and in the international arena.

5. To authorize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and in consultation with other ministers as per need, to decide, on behalf of the Security Cabinet, regarding the actions necessary to continue with Operation Pillar of Defense and to submit other decisions for Government approval, as may prove necessary."

The operation began with air strikes that killed Ahmed Jabari, the command of Hamas's military wing, killing him and his son as he was driving in his car. Jabari is blamed for a number of terrorist attacks in the last ten years, and he also masterminded the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was held in captivity, and was only freed in return for the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails last year. Jabari also led Hamas's successful military campaign that defeated Fatah in 2007.

The Israeli air strikes are continuing as of this writing on Wednesday evening ET.

Israel has called up its military reserves, and has announced that the war may be expanded, with the possibility of a ground invasion such as occurred in Operation Cast Lead, when Israel invaded Gaza in 2008.

If you go to the IDF web site, you can see live updates of the military operation in Gaza. Israel's Foreign Ministry and Jerusalem Post and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) web site

Hamas says that Israel 'Opened the gates of hell on itself'

Ahmed Jabari was the head of the militant Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which issued a statement on Wednesday that "The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself." A Hamas spokesman said:

"The occupation committed a dangerous crime and crossed all the red lines, which is considered a declaration of war.

The occupation will pay dearly for this and we will make it regret the moment they thought about it."

The killing of Ahmed Jabara sparked furious protests in Gaza. It's widely believed that Hamas has no choice but to seek revenge. Hamas has a number of options that were not available during Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Ever since Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was deposed last year, the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been open, allowing sophisticated weapons to pass through from Egypt to Gaza. In addition, it's now possible for Hamas to send suicide bombers through the Rafah crossing into Israel via Egypt's Sinai. It appears likely that both sides will escalate the war in the days to come.

Al-Resalah (Gaza) and Al-Jazeera

U.N. security council and Arab League plan emergency sessions

At Egypt's request, the United Nations Security Council is meeting in closed emergency session on Wednesday evening to discuss the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The Arab League has condemned Israel, and will be meeting on Saturday. Reuters

Europe-wide anti-austerity marches turn violent in Spain and Portugal

Millions of people across Europe took part on Wednesday in a mostly peaceful general strike called by organized labor. However, in Lisbon Portugal, the marches ended with a level of violence not seen since the financial crisis began, with police charging demonstrators who hurled stones and bottles. Riot police used rubber bullets to disperse violent protesters in Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. In Rome, scuffles broke out between police in riot gear and demonstrators who threw stones, bottles and fireworks. Reuters


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