Netanyahu set to address nation. Growing signals of a much longer, more intense IDF operation in Gaza.
(Washington, D.C.) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the nation of Israel tonight, together with his Minister of Defense and military chief of staff. The live broadcast is scheduled for 8pm Israel time, 1pm eastern.
(I’ll be on the Fox News Channel at 1:40pm eastern time today to comment and discuss the Gaza war in the context with much of the epicenter on fire.)
At the moment on Day #13, what I’m hearing from friends in Israel as well as seeing in news coverage is much fiercer fighting, rising casualties on both sides, and a growing sense that Israel is preparing for a much deeper, much longer invasion of Gaza.
Why? To fully identify and destroy the terrorist tunnels under Israel and Gaza, to fully destroy the terrorists’ stockpile of rockets and rocket launchers, to smash Hamas command and control, to arrest or kill terror leaders and operatives, and truly secure the Gaza Strip so as to bring calm and quiet to Israel.
This will likely take weeks to accomplish, at minimum. But it could take months.
No final decision on such a prolonged operation has been publicly communicated as of yet, but signals are coming from top Israeli officials, including dovish Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and hardline Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.
“Israel’s justice minister said she did not rule out Israel bringing down Hamas if that was what it took to restore security and calm for the people of Israel,” reports the Times of Israel. “Tzipi Livni, the Hatnua party head who is the the most dovish member of Israel’s inner cabinet, was asked in a Channel 2 interview Friday night to confirm that the goal of Israel’s current ground offensive in Gaza is not to destroy Hamas. ‘I’m not taking anything off the table,” she replied. “I’m not going to tell them [Hamas] what the limits [of the operation] are. Among other things, it’s up to them.’ She said Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian ceasefire efforts, and attempting to murder Israeli civilians via ongoing rocket fire and a foiled under-border tunnel infiltration near a kibbutz on Thursday morning, had shown that it ‘lives in a completely different opera.’”
“There is a significant likelihood that the current ground operation will end with Israel retaking full control over Gaza,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday, after the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously approved an expansion of the IDF ground invasion, reports Israel Hayom.
Excerpts from the article:
Steinitz, who took part in the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meeting, explained that the decision was based on the assessment that Hamas was not ready for a cease-fire.
The cabinet decided to operate to root out the terror tunnels that dot the Strip.
The understanding is that the tunnels pose no less of a threat to Israel than the incessant rocket fire coming out of Gaza….
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday that “anyone who tries to disrupt our lives will bring their own demise on themselves. Anyone who engages in terrorism against the state of Israel, we will strike them hard and make them regret their actions.”….
Ya’alon toured the frontlines on Friday, and told IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman that he was “very impressed with the [IDF’s] conduct, professionalism, thoroughness, control and the organized work flow both in the defensive and offensive operations.”
Also Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the heads of the opposition parties, excluding the Arab parties. On Saturday, Netanyahu spent most of the day in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters consulting with security officials. On Friday, Netanyahu and his staff said a prayer for the safety of the soldiers in Gaza.
Please keep praying for calm to be restored sooner rather than later, and for the Lord to comfort the wounded and grieving on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis. Please pray, too, for the IDF soldiers to be able to successfully neutralize the terrorists without any more civilian casualties.
Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge more than 1,790 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel (IDF blog)
A full-scale invasion looms – Gloating at the Israelis it is killing, blackening Israel’s name by operating among Gaza’s civilians, and with much of its leadership and terror capacity intact, Hamas is drawing Israel ever deeper into the Strip (Times of Israel)
13 Israeli soldiers killed overnight in fierce Gaza fighting (Times of Israel)
More than 130 terrorists killed in ground operation (Ynet news)
IDF set to open field hospital for wounded Gazans (Times of Israel)