Over 40 Kassams were launched from Gaza today. Hamas has claimed credit for this barrage.
One rocket hit in Sderot near Sapir College , killing student Ronnie Yechiya, who was the father of four. Yechiya, who died of massive wounds to the chest, had had a kidney transplant five years ago.
Two other students on the campus were lightly wounded.
I already said "Damn them!" last time. What is there left to say now?
At least four rockets today went into Ashkelon , one near Barzilai Hospital. A couple of rockets came down on or near factories. One man was wounded when a rocket landed in the street.
David Tal (Kadima) knew what to say: "I think we’re nearing the limit of the IDF’s patience, the army is obligated to defend the citizens of this country."
But then there is Yossi Beilin, who insisted that the way to stop the rockets was to negotiate a long term "cease fire" with Hamas. Beilin, I swear, is a menace to the nation. A cease fire — need I say it again? — would give Hamas the opportunity to continue to arm without interference from us. Getting them to stop launching is not sufficient in and of itself.
And our vaunted prime minister? From Japan he declared, ""There is an ongoing war in the south. We regret that it once again cost human life." Note the passion in this message, the furious indignation. If there is a war in the south — and there is — it’s time for him to start fighting it for real.
Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni of Central Command yesterday declared: "Without the massive IDF presence in the West Bank, Hamas would take over the institutions and apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority within days." That’s even faster than I had thought them capable of doing it; they’re gaining strength.
Shamni said that Hamas is working continually to gain greater influence in the region. While rockets attacks are not emanating from Judea and Samaria, some are manufactured in the region. While the PA was working to maintain order, said Shamni, it was not making serious efforts to stop terrorists.
That is so important it merits a repeat: The PA is not making serious efforts to stop terrorists.
And it’s the IDF, which is doing an incredible job, that continues to stand between us and terrorism. All hell would break loose in a matter of days if we were to pull out.
Surely Olmert knows this. Perhaps this is why, also from Japan, he indicated that we might not achieve a full "peace" agreement in 2008, even though he really really wants to.
Just days ago I mocked the idea of international forces in Judea and Samaria to take over from the IDF "until the PA was strong enough to do the job." And here we see it: It ain’t gonna happen. Not ever. The PA is going downhill.
Off the record, Israeli officials now admit that Egypt has quietly upped the number of troops it has on the border with Gaza.
Our peace treaty with Egypt from 1979 gives them permission to have no more than 750 troops there, as the Sinai is demilitarized, and now they have 1,500. We’ve permitted it with a wink and a nod. To deal with it officially would require making adjustments in the treaty.
There are Israeli officials sympathetic to the situation Egypt is contending with, who see this increase as no threat to us. And others who are simply not eager to take on Egypt right now.
But, warns MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) — who, with solid reason, is ever mistrustful of Egyptian intentions — it’s a slippery slope: who knows how many troops will be in the Sinai in short order now that we’ve permitted them to go over the limit. And it’s Aaron Lerner of IMRA who keeps pointing out that there are many things Egypt could do to control the border, such as bulldozing a no man’s land, that would not require an increase in forces.
And, once again let us consider Olmert’s words from Tokyo: Egypt, he told reports, is not violating the peace accords by increasing their troops as they have. He cannot be that ignorant. In point of fact, he is wrong.