Since last night, Israeli border communities have been bombarded by incoming rockets, with many a southern resident losing sleep as a result of the continuous Code Red sirens which warn them to take cover in their bomb shelters.
After some relative months of quiet, you may be asking, why now? There are a few theories. It has been mentioned that Hamas is anxious to instigate problems just before the upcoming April 9 elections, and an imminent, looming war could cause any number of complications which would have a benefit for the terror organization.
This also comes at a time when many Gazan residents are mustering the courage to rise up against their leadership which has brought nothing but poverty, massive unemployment and deprivation of every kind. With this kind of upheaval and unrest, Hamas leaders could very well be planning a pre-emptive strike which would buy them some time with their own dissatisfied and restless population.
Conversely, Israel is doing all they can to not get sucked into a trap and become embroiled in a full-scale operation before the elections. In fact, a similar scenario occurred at the end of 2008 when, once again, rockets were being launched, albeit to the more surrounding areas of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot, as longer-range capabilities had not yet been realized.
Then, too, Israel was just about to have their general election. At the time, there was no choice, and Operation Cast Lead was launched, lasting three weeks, significantly weakening Hamas. Once again, in the current scenario, there may be no choice, this time, if Hamas continues to launch its now long-range rockets into the heart of the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to Israel, abruptly cutting his U.S. trip short in order to deal with the sudden crisis. It is expected that he will be discussing the possibility of launching a major offensive with his security cabinet.
His decision, regardless of the close proximity to the election, will have to take into consideration the fact that Monday morning’s long-range attack was the third within the last two weeks, injuring seven, including children, and destroying a private home.
Thousands of other residents have been involved, many of whom only have had a little more than a minute to seek shelter. In addition, there are questions as to why the Iron Dome interception system did not work to stop the rocket from hitting its target.
There is speculation that the attack came as such a surprise, that the system simply was not positioned in the unlikely direction where no one expected an attack to occur. Just two weeks prior to this, another long-range rocket landed in the Tel Aviv neighboring town of Holon with Hamas officials proclaiming that the launching was nothing more than a mere accident.
Now, Israeli political and military leaders will have to carefully weigh the option of forcefully responding to all these attacks and send a message that its citizens will not be sitting ducks while Hamas flexes its muscles and shows its new capabilities – irrespective of the April 9 elections.
Oddly enough, the kings went to war in spring, according to the Jewish scriptures since crops such as barley and wheat were harvested at that time, thereby facilitating an invading army to live off of those grains. Now, thousands of years later, this spring may find itself repeating history as the threat of war looms heavily yet again.
Note: Just after 8:00 PM another rocket fell in an open area in southern Israel. Three minutes later another rocket was launched.