Analysis: A callous escalation
After the attack on the childrens' school bus, the gov’t must decide whether to seek restored calm or consider a major onslaught in Gaza.
I'm sure everyone has heard the story by now - a school bus in Israel was hit by a terrorist launched missile - yes, a school bus filled with innocent children.
The decision to target a school bus – even when taken by terrorists like those in the Gaza Strip – would not have been made easily. Plainly, this was a callous and deliberate escalation. Plainly, too, Israel would not respond with just a symbolic strike against, say, a smuggling tunnel.
The bus was driving near Kibbutz Saad, about 2.5 km. from the Gaza border. The missile was not launched directly along the border, but from at least a kilometer to a kilometer-and-a-half away – meaning that the Palestinian who fired it was skilled in firing anti-tank missiles.
The missile was either a Russian-made Kornet or Faggot anti-tank missile – hoards of which have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip
Either way, the IDF will likely seek to extract a heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that might have been involved. Islamic Jihad, for example, has shown in recent weeks that it is becoming a more dominant player in the Gaza Strip and acts independently and without Hamas consent.
The targets that the IDF struck from the air and the ground, immediately after the yellow school bus was hit by an anti-tank missile near Kibbutz Saad on Thursday, came from a list of targets that the Southern Command has on hand in the event of just such an incident. It is likely, though, that Israel’s response will not end there.
More on the missile attack on the bus - which appears to be part of a planned strategy:
Thursday’s anti-tank missile attack was likely planned in advance. One indicator is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced last week that they would retaliate for the bombing of the Hamas cell in southern Gaza.
The second indicator that this was a synchronized and planned attack was the orchestrated rocket and mortar barrage that rained down on southern Israel immediately following the bus strike.
Hamas Is Moving Toward War With Israel
Two events show us that an emboldened Hamas in the Gaza Strip is moving toward war with Israel.
First, an Israeli school bus, painted bright yellow, was hit by fire from the Gaza Strip and at least one child was seriously wounded. This is not just another terrorist attack but part of a wider strategy. What is strategically significant here is how the bus was attacked. Usually, attacks from the Gaza Strip — either carried out or sanctioned by the Hamas regime there — are by homemade rockets, mortars, or attempted cross-border ground attacks. Deaths and damage are usually random.
In this case, though, the attack was carried out with an advanced anti-tank rocket. In other words, a terrorist deliberately aimed at the bus and fired, hoping to kill the maximum number of children.
Any reason things are escalating now? The situation in Egypt may provide a partial answer:
But there’s more. Hamas can fire an advanced anti-tank rocket because the Egyptian revolution has ended a regime that acted in its own interest to block most arms shipments to Hamas. The Egypt-Gaza border is now open. Terrorists and superior weapons are flooding into Gaza.
Another demonstration of this fact was the second major incident in which Hamas fired an Iranian-made Grad missile, far superior to the usual homemade rockets, at Israel. In this case, it was shot down by an Israeli anti-missile, part of the new defense system deployed only a few days earlier. A total of 50 rockets and mortars were fired on that one day, equaling the number shot from the Gaza Strip at Israel during the entire month of March. There were also several attempts at cross-border ground attacks, more in one day than at any time in the past.
Are we now seeing overt war approaching?
It was clear to the Hamas leadership that this escalation — and probably more to follow — brings the situation closer to another war like the one fought in December 2008-January 2009 after Hamas ended the ceasefire and launched a massive rocket and mortar barrage against Israel.
Why, then, is Hamas provoking a new war? Part of the answer, of course, is ideology. Hamas believes that the deity is on its side, that victory is inevitable, and that martyrdom is a substitute for good military strategy and strength. Hamas is also indifferent to casualties, material damage, and the suffering of its own people. Its goal is total victory, Israel’s destruction, and the mass murder of Israeli Jews.
Thus, a dangerous crisis is being developed that could bring renewed war within two years and possibly far less time. It’s a crisis for which U.S. and European policy is totally unprepared. And their most likely response — demands for a ceasefire and criticism of Israel — would benefit Hamas.
The article below is worth reading - a reminder that the Jews in Israel who are under attack are real people, just like us - trying to get through the day, trying to get their kids to school and back without being hit by a missile attack. Such is life in Israel in 2011.
A terrible day that could have ended still more tragically
More relevant articles on the situation of escalation of violence in Israel:
Fighting flares in Gaza, shattering lull
'Hezbollah prepared to send 100 missiles daily at Tel Aviv
Barak: Hamas is Responsible for Escalation
IDF Hits Gaza Again, 2 Terrorists Killed
12 mortar shells hit western Negev
Yes, things are most definitely heating up in and around Israel. Will this escalation continue?
That's the big question - for prophecy watchers who have been looking for the "tipping point" to arise in the Middle East - a point in which war breaks out - war which will lead into the prophetic battles which are destined to come.
We shall see. Meanwhile, we listen for the footsteps of the true Messiah - Christ Jesus - who clearly stated that He will return for His Church Saints (John 14:1-3). That day is approaching - its a guarantee.