So, it has started – the long-awaited ground offensive. To tell the truth, I feel deeply conflicted about this. On the one hand, there are bound to be more casualties – one Israeli soldier was killed already, yesterday evening, at the beginning of the operation. Furthermore, any incursion into the Gazan Labyrinth is fraught with the potential for becoming hopelessly entangled – because no-one really knows the answer to the question: “What Next?”
On the other hand, there are targets which must be dealt with, which cannot be dealt with from the air alone, and in particular, the vast network of Terror Tunnels. In the nine years since Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, Hamas and other terrorist groups have constructed what amounts to an underground city beneath the streets and houses of Gaza. And I am not just talking about the supply tunnels, used for smuggling in weapons from Sinai. I am talking about Terror Tunnels – tunnels dug beneath the fence guarding the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, with exits on the Israeli side of the (internationally recognised) border, whose sole purpose is to enable the entrance of terrorists into Israel in order to kidnap Israelis (this is how Gilad Shalit was abducted, in the same area) or to perpetrate large-scale terror attacks on Israeli civilian targets.
One such tunnel was detected in the pre-dawn hours of yesterday morning, thanks to the alertness of an IDF look-out, who observed the emergence of thirteen terrorists from a tunnel, very close to Kibbutz Sufa. She alerted air and ground forces, who ambushed the terrorists and blew up the tunnel, into which they had retreated.
Had the terrorists, who were heavily armed, succeeded in reaching the nearby kibbutz, there is no doubt they would either have taken many hostages or else carried out a large-scale atrocity, in order to be able to claim a “victory” against Israel. Thank God they were foiled – this time. But Hamas and the Islamic Jihad and other such terrorist groups are highly motivated and are likely to try again. That is why the tunnels MUST be destroyed – and if the only way to do this is from the ground, then so be it.
Meanwhile, I continue to pray for the safety and welfare of our soldiers and citizens.