According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along with multiple reports from around Israel, troops are gathering and the IDF has recalled thousands of reservists. While no official word has been given about a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, there have been numerous reports by Israeli media and foreign media with reporters in Israel, along with a lot of social media posts by individual citizens showing IDF forces gathering in Southern Israel.
As rocket fire from Gaza continues to hit populated areas near the Gaza Strip and in large cities like Tel Aviv, and Israel continued to respond by attacking the sites where the rockets are launched from, there appears to be growing support and willingness by Israel to mount a ground invasion. “If simply attacking the sites Hamas militants are using to launch rockets into Israel is not sufficient, at some point we will have to invade in order to stop the attacks,” said Sderdot police spokesperson Gilad Perez.
Peace efforts by Egypt have so far failed to gain any traction. According to a Hamas spokesperson Ahmed Jabril, “Hamas can’t make make peace as long as Israel continues attack Gaza.” The opposite is being said by Israeli officials who says that since Hamas started this by firing thousands of rocket into Israel, it must be Hamas that stops before any peace negotiations can happen.
Israel has began using artillery and self guided rockets that can retrace an incoming Hamas rocket and hit where Hamas launched the rocket from along with 125 aircraft flying overhead. According to local reports, reservist from tank battalions, support personnel, and infantry units have been reactivated. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 in an attempt to let Palestinians show they can responsibly govern themselves without being a threat to Israel. During the pullout, the IDF forcible removes all Jewish settlers. “What has the pullout gotten us, it was suppose to be a step towards peace, it was suppose to be us saying to the Palestinians, we will unilaterally leave, and let you govern the area to show us you can be a peaceful neighbor and partner for peace. Instead, in the time since we have pulled out, all they’ve done is launch rockets, dig smuggling tunnels and kidnap IDF soldiers,” said Leah Biton.
According to the United Nations and independent sources, Hamas militants have lunched over 25,000 rockets into Israel since Israel pulled out. The IDF have had discovered over 100 smuggling tunnels in which the IDF says Hamas uses to obtain weapons.
Meanwhile, the fighting continues, and it has started to force Palestinian families from their homes. So far at least 80 Palestinians have died during the Israeli strikes. According to the United Nations, about 2,000 Palestinians have take refuge at UN operated schools and more have fled south to the southern part of Gaza where there is no fighting or attacks at present. Israeli strikes have taken down apartment buildings and other places where rockets have been launched from. Israel is being criticized, with Hamas saying Israel usually drops leaflet in advance of attacks to allow civilians to evacuate but this time they are not. Israel has deny the report and have shows video footage of airplanes flying overhead while dropping leaflets in advance of a strike. The IDF did say that when one of their counter-strike missiles are launched that retrace and strike the site where Hamas militants lunched their rockets, no leaflets are being dropped because time is of the essence if they want to hit those responsible for launching rockets into Israel.