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Sunday, January 04, 2009

EU President Czech Republic: Israeli ground incursion defensive, not offensive action

After years of rocket attacks, launched by Hamas from Gaza, against their civilian population, Israel took tot he air, warned via cell messages that anyone housing Hamas weapons should get out of dodge, so to speak, and started raining down destruction of any place Israel knew Hamas was launching those rockets from.

Israel now is in the midst of a ground incursion and Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik has issued a statement backing Israeli's latest move, saying "At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action."

France, on the other hand, is not and they condemn it as they condemn the rockets Hamas has been steadily firing into Israel for years.

Further more the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Schwarzenberg, has already defended Israel regarding the strikes against Hamas:

"Let us realize one thing: Hamas increased steeply the number of rockets fired at Israel since the ceasefire ended on Dec. 19. That is not acceptable any more," Schwarzenberg told daily Mlada Fronta Dnes in an interview.

Schwarzenberg, a staunch ally of Washington, said Hamas had excluded itself from serious political debate due to its rocket attacks on Israel. He also indirectly blamed the group for the growing death toll, saying it put its bases and gun warehouses in densely populated areas.

"Why am I one of the few that have expressed understanding for Israel? ... I am enjoying the luxury of telling the truth," Schwarzenberg told the daily.

When someone attacks your home as Hamas has consistently been attacking Israel with rockets, then the homeowner has the right, or better said, the obligation, to protect their home.

Here are some rocket statistics to think about:

Today, over 950,000 Israelis live within range of rocket and mortar attacks.
There have been approximately 7,200 rockets (Grads, Qassams) and mortars launched at Israel since 2005.
During 2008, there have been 1755 mortars shells, 1720 Qassams rockets, and 75 Grad missiles launched at Israel.
Since Hamas’ election there has been a steady increase of these rocket attacks against Israel’s citizens:

* Between Israel’s evacuation of Gaza and the election of Hamas (Aug. 15, 2005 – Jan. 25, 2006), there was an average of over 15 rocket and mortar attacks a month.

* Between Hamas’ election and Hamas’ forceful takeover of the Strip (Jan. 25, 2006 – June 14, 2007), there was an average of over 102 attacks per month—an over 650% increase.

* Between Hamas’ takeover and the start of the Tahadiya (State of Calm), (June 14, 2007 – June 16, 2008), there was an average of over 361 attacks per month—an increase of an additional 350%.

* On Nov. 4 – 5, Israel launched Operation “Double Challenge”, targeting a tunnel Hamas was building as part of a plan to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

* From the end of Operation “Double Challenge” until the end of the Tahadiya, (Nov. 4 - Dec. 19, 2008) a period of only a month and a half, there were 170 mortars, 255 Qassams, and 5 Grads fired upon Israel’s civilian population centers.

* Since the end of the Tahadiya (Dec. 19, 2009) until the beginning of Operation “Cast Lead,” (Dec. 27, 2008) a period of little more than a week, there were approximately 300 mortars and rockets fired onto Israel.

* Since the beginning of Operation ”Cast Lead”, there have been an additional 500 launches, 284 of which have been verified as rockets (both Qassams and Grads), and 113 as mortars.

Linking some of the news stories below that are found today at Memeorandum (Blog discussions also at that link) so you can keep up with the most recent news:

IDF soldier dies of wounds sustained in Gaza mortar fire

Hamas moves on Fatah 'collaborators'

IDF deep in Strip: 50 terrorists killed

Bodies of Hamas leader's children paraded as group promises 'painful' revenge for their deaths

Random Thoughts has a great roundup of other related stories and posts... take time to click the links.

Mere Rhetoric has a map of the overview of the Israeli ground operation.