Israel, Gaza – Rockets Fly, We Must Not Lose Focus on Iran

Editor’s Note – It sure is a “noisy” world of late. Each week we see the overwhelming information fly by, and just when we think it got busy, events ramp up by an order of magnitude. The blur cannot be allowed to take focus off of important events that seem to have taken a back seat, especially in the American Media.

As the world searches for the missing Malaysian flight 370, the 777 missing for almost a week; as Vladimir Putin appears to have won Crimea without a single bullet drawing blood outside of Kiev; as the IRS/Lois Lerner Scandal blooms, as Benghazi remains unsolved, and the carnage in Syria continues unabated, another Obama/Kerry foreign policy fiasco unfolds. John Kerry, how is that “framework” working out for all parties now?

This week, the Israelis captured a Panamanian flagged vessel, the Klos-C was shipping tons of Iranian arms to Gaza. On Monday, Netayahu revealed:

Israel Navy ships brought a commercial vessel found carrying powerful Iranian rockets to Eilat Port on Saturday evening. The IDF is to carry out a close inspection of the ship and study the weapons on board, which were destined for the Gaza Strip.
Israel Navy ships brought a commercial vessel found carrying powerful Iranian rockets to Eilat Port on Saturday evening.

Netanyahu unveiled the massive arsenal of weapons that Israeli Navy commandos seized aboard the arms ship Klos-C, which was intercepted in the Red Sea last week. The Israeli military announced on Sunday that it offloaded 40 M-302 missiles, 181 122-mm mortars and 400,000 7.62 caliber bullets from the containers aboard the ship. (From Algemeiner.)

Netanyahu even pockets a bullet from the capture:

While presenting to worldwide media outlets on Monday the weapons seized from an Iranian arms ship last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was filmed pocketing one of the estimated 400,000 bullets found on board, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

Netanyahu intends to show the projectile to world leaders as evidence of the Islamic Republic’s active involvement in the arming of terrorist organizations, Channel 2 said. (Read the rest at Algemeiner.)

Then Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza launched on Israel and Netanyahu promised retaliation:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday evening at a press conference in Jerusalem that Israel will respond “forcefully” to the barrage of at least 60 rockets that were fired at southern Israel earlier in the day, Israel’s Walla reported.

“If there won’t be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza, and this is an understatement,” the prime minister promised. “We will not be deterred from harming those who try to harm us, and we will continue to respond forcefully against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.” (Read the rest here at Algemeiner.)

Not only did Israel respond with its own rockets, by a factor of less than one-third, they also prepared for a possible incursion:

IDF tanks fired into Gaza over the past several minutes, and have already eliminated two terror targets, in response to the barrage of rocket fire on Israel.  At least 60 rockets slammed into southern Israel on Wednesday, hitting several Jewish communities. (Read more at Arutz-Sheva.)

Peace in “Palestine,” not as long as there are people calling themselves “Palestinians!” Mr. Kerry – Middle East lesson number [XXX, too many to count], it is not going to work as long as there are “Palestinians.”

If the “Palestinians” disarmed today, peace would break out, if Israel disarmed, there would be no more Israel – funny how that works Mr. Kerry, Mr. Obama!

Rockets launched from Gaza Strip answered with Israeli airstrikes

By Batsheva Sobelman and Rushdi Abu Alouf – LA Times

JERUSALEM–In the heaviest barrage in more than a year, dozens of rockets were launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, drawing condemnation from Israel’s political leadership and swift retaliation by its military.

At least 60 rockets and mortar shells were fired in rapid succession over a two-hour period. At least eight hit urban or open areas, according to Israel’s army, while several others were intercepted by Israel’s mobile air-defense system, Iron Dome.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

As the air raid sirens subsided, Israeli residents within about 25 miles of the border with Gaza were instructed to remain within running distance of bomb shelters and concrete-reinforced safe rooms.

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After launching aircraft to identify the source of fire, Israel’s military first responded with artillery and, according to an army statement, hit “two terrorist targets” in the southern and northern parts of the strip. Israeli airstrikes were also underway, targeting dozens of locations in the Gaza Strip, according to news media reports.

In Gaza, the military wing of Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the barrage. In a statement, the organization called it a response to the “crimes of the Zionist enemy in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the latest of which, it said, was the killing of three of its operatives in an airstrike Tuesday.

Iranian Rockets found on board.
Iranian Rockets found on board.

According to Israel’s military, Tuesday’s airstrike targeted the militant squad after it fired a projectile at Israel.

Speaking in the Knesset on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not be deterred and would continue defending itself “against the terrorist organizations in Gaza.”

In a meeting between President Shimon Peres and visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, both leaders addressed the flare-up.

“It’s a very severe attack,” said Peres, who urged the people of Gaza to choose: “It’s either peace or violence.” He cautioned the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip that they “can’t have it both ways.”

Cameron condemned the rocket attacks as targeting civilians indiscriminately, calling the strikes “barbaric.”

The attacks from Gaza illustrate Israel’s need for security and should make clear to Palestinians that “there is no violent route” to statehood, which can only be achieved by dialogue and “thorough agreement,” Cameron said.

During a special security consultation Wednesday evening, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that if Israel had no calm, neither would Gaza “in such a way that will make Islamic Jihad terrorists regret their shooting.”

Yaalon said if Hamas couldn’t impose calm, Israel would do it.

Yaalon has ordered the crossings between Gaza and Israel closed pending further security assessments, with exceptions for humanitarian needs.

Wednesday’s rocket fire was the fiercest since Israel’s weeklong military campaign against Gaza in November 2012 that ended in an informal cease-fire.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad in Gaza said the attack came in response to aggression “and does not mean the collapse of the cease-fire agreement.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States condemned the attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

“We call for these terrorist attacks to cease immediately,” Psaki said. “Israel, like any nation, has a right to defend itself.”