IDF given green light for Gaza operations


The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is 'under no restrictions' in conducting both air and ground operations to halt terrorist rocket attacks on Israeli territory.  Residents of Sderot and the western Negev were placed on full alert after an IAF Apache helicopter flying over Gaza fired a missile at a vehicle carrying Sheikh Muhammad Khalil, a senior commander of Islamic Jihad in the southern Gaza Strip.  Khalil and his bodyguard were killed instantly.

At a Cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that,

"There are no restrictions on the use of any measures in order to strike at the terrorists[emphasis added], their equipment and where they find shelter.  The instructions are unequivocal; we do not mean a one—time action here."

Sharon's orders to the IDF show the rationale for the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip.  Rather than a retreat in the face of terror, the evacuation of Israeli citizens now allows for a full—blown military response on terrorist cells operating in the strip.

Sharon also said that the IDF actions were not

"a short—term action, but a policy that must lead to the cessation of the terrorist organizations' actions against Israeli communities.  I am certain that it is within our ability to halt the terrorist organizations' actions against us.  The activity will not only be in Gaza but will also be against terrorism in Judea and Samaria."

Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are in tactically unsound position.  They no longer have a ready—made hostage population to leverage; they are surrounded by the IDF on two sides and by the Mediterranean Sea on the other.  The only way out is into the Sinai, but this route could be cut off by the IDF seizing Rafah and Khan Yunis.  Sharon's Gaza maneuver may finally settle the Gaza issue once and for all.  Unfortunately for the terrorists, it's not the outcome they had hoped for.

Doug Hanson   09—27—05