May 25, 2013
Fears of Israeli Ground Offensive Grow
Posted on Nov 17, 2012
Tensions in Israel and Gaza are mounting as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears ready to order a ground invasion after Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire failed and Hamas fired a rocket at Jerusalem.
The international community, led by Britain and the United States, is discouraging Israel from escalating what American officials described as a “very, very dangerous situation.” The British government warned that an invasion of Gaza could cost Israel international support.
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, told CNN that a ground invasion could occur before the end of the weekend if rockets from Gaza continue to strike Israeli soil.
“We don’t want to get into Gaza if we don’t have to. But if they keep firing at us ... a ground operation is still on the cards,” he said. “If we see in the next 24 to 36 hours more rockets launched at us, I think that would be the trigger.”
Israeli officials said they struck more than 800 targets in the Gaza Strip during 180 airstrikes between Friday night and Saturday morning. The Associated Press reported that officials in Gaza confirmed roughly 500 rockets had been launched at Israel.
The White House reported that President Obama reiterated his support for Israel’s right to self-defense to Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, while stressing the need to de-escalate the conflict. Morsi denounced Israel’s attacks as “a blatant aggression against humanity” and said Cairo “would not leave Gaza on its own.”
Palestinians launched waves of rocket attacks on Israel throughout early November, most of which caused neither damage nor injuries. On Nov. 14, the Israel Defense Forces assassinated Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari while he was driving through Gaza City. The latest waves of more than 500 rockets from Gaza, which killed three Israelis late this week, came in response to Jabari’s killing.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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