I had assumed that my first post after returning home on Monday, after my annual “jaunt” to London, would be a blog about my trip. However, as so often happens, events have overtaken us in the guise of a gang of Palestinian terrorists who crossed the border yesterday (Thursday) and attacked two civilian buses and two private cars (also civilian), murdering six civilians and wounding over thirty more. An Israeli soldier also died in the ensuing exchange of fire and later on, firing was resumed from the Egyptian side of the border, killing a policeman from the Israeli Police anti-terrorist unit. Later in the evening, Grad missiles were fired from Hamastan (Gaza) into the Israeli city of Ashkelon (where my aunt lives). The Hamas bombardment of Ashkelon and the nearby port city of Ashdod continued overnight and today. Beersheba, capital of the Negev, was also targeted. Even as I write, the IDF continues to scour the area for terrorists who might have escaped (with the intention of killing more Israelis or kidnapping a soldier or civilian for bargaining purposes). In short, this is, officially, still an ongoing incident.
My sister and brother-in-law and their three little girls are supposed to be travelling down to Eilat on Sunday for a few days hard-earned holiday – just like the civilian passengers on the buses and cars that were attacked yesterday. The thought that it could have been them at the receiving end of the terrorists’ weapons chills me.
Of course my immediate knee-jerk reaction was that we should carpet bomb Gaza. I’m sure many people felt the same. But I suspect that this is what the Palestinians want. September is approaching, with their planned unilateral declaration of statehood, and they have less support than they expected – at least from the civilised world. If they could provoke Israel into another Operation Cast Lead, they could then paint Israel in a negative light just at the most critical moment and possibly gain the sympathy votes of the leading European nations. Maybe even of the United States.
So, despite the clear provocation, perhaps now is not the best time for all-out war on Hamastan. There are other ways to exact punishment. Better ways.
That said, punishment there must be – swift and sure.