Analysis: Ratcheting up the pressure on Hamas

The IDF is entering the second stage of its operation to lift the rocket threat that has been terrorizing the South.

IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
The IDF is entering the second stage of its operation to lift the rocket threat that has been terrorizing the South, by escalating its air strikes on Gazan terror organizations, while mobilizing large numbers infantry and armored vehicles to the Strip.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have lost the majority of their underground Iranian-supplied long-range Fajr missile stockpiles. The rocket fire on Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion is therefore somewhat deceptive, as it does not reflect the devastation inflicted on the long-range capabilities previously possessed by the terrorists.
The IDF is now focusing on its next task, destroying the hidden medium-range Grad rockets, of the type used to bombard southern cities.
Israeli fighter jets destroyed 70 of these launchers on Thursday night, and many more such strikes are likely.
Despite the large number of sorties, and Hamas’s attempt to hide its rockets in civilian areas, the IDF is making every effort to keep noncombatants in Gaza out of harm’s way.
Click for full JPost coverageClick for full JPost coverage
The military is following a carefully planned path of escalation. It has so far refrained from assassinating more Hamas leaders, and no IDF soldiers have yet crossed the border into Gaza.
Nor have Hamas regime buildings and centers of power been struck. Yet all of these steps could be taken if the rocket fire does not decrease soon.
It is unlikely that Hamas will want to risk its hold on power in Gaza, though it will need to demonstrate that it has internalized Israel’s message if it wishes to avoid sustaining further damage.
Additionally, a visit planned by Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Kandil to Gaza Friday is a show of solidarity by Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood government, but such symbolic support will not help Hamas avoid more Israeli action against it. Only the end of indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians can achieve that.