Update III – Rafah to be surrounded, Teen kidnapped.
Terrorists have Eliyahu Asheri, his full name which had not been released to the media was quoted by his captives and that pretty much confirms the worst we feared. Incidentally I've heard some crazy statements in my opinion on 'legitimacy'. Specifically how because terrorists attacked and then kidnapped the first victim, Gilad a soldier in the military, this makes it legitimate.
Burrowing under the ground like a cockroach, not belonging to a recognized Army, not wearing a recognized military uniform, not belonging to an official state actor that previously declared war..
These all make for quite illegitimate actions, there's nothing in this that follows the rules of warfare. What's next, the civilian who now indeed appears to have been abducted, Eliyahu an 18 year old fresh faced guy on the way home from visiting with his friend, is that now also 'Legitimate'. Please, let's stop apologizing for terrorists.
Rafah: Operation Summer rain is under way to increase pressure on the Terrorists. Rafah, near one of the main crossing points in the southern Gaza strip is being sealed operationally in the hopes that the abducted IDF soldier will be found. The territory to the East of Rafah has been taken by IDF forces, including armored and infantry units, in other words a bridgehead for the IDF has been established.
Curious statements by Olmert seem to contradict the terrorist infrastructure parts of the operation.
From Haaretz: First Ben Eliezer, the 2nd most senior Labor party official to Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
"We have no desire to remain in the Gaza Strip," National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel Radio on Wednesday morning. "We want to bring our boy home, that's all."
That's certainly what every freedom loving person wants, and who would want the Gaza strip? Don't everybody raise your hands at once, me neither. But there's some cleanup that needs to be done and some Kassam infrastructure that needs to be destroyed. Next, the PM weighs in..
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved a limited ground incursion in southern Gaza on Tuesday night, aimed at the "terrorist infrastructure," after consulting with the defense establishment earlier in the evening. [...]
Olmert met Tuesday with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and heads of the defense establishment for the third time since Sunday's attack. The army's top brass came up with new ideas for a ground offensive after Olmert rejected previous plans as inadequate.
"Our aim is not to mete out punishment but rather to apply pressure so that the abducted soldier will be freed. We want to create a new equation – freeing the abducted soldier in return for lessening the pressure on the Palestinians," the prime minister said.
Speaking in the Knesset plenum, Olmert also said: "Our aim… is not to punish the civilian Palestinian population… but rather to bring Gilad home." The idea is to carry out a gradually stepped-up campaign, sources said, so as to make the diplomatic pressure on Hamas more effective. The intelligence reports on the whereabouts of the missing soldier have also improved over the past three days.
Now I understand the need for PR as much as the next guy, and I with ease wholeheartedly embrace ANY efforts to retrieve Gilad, I also think everyone is expecting not punishment of the Palestinians by any means, but on the contrary liberating them from the terrorist infrastructure which is causing them so much hardship.
Perhaps these phases of 'clean up' will be revealed as the operation progresses and the fate of Gilad is known, with Israel not wishing to apply too much pressure lest Gilad be killed. Though, frankly Hamas is not known for their benefactor ways.. He's not likely to be freed, nor was he ever likely to be freed. We know tragically what happens to the captives of the Jihad, we've seen enough atrocious video to know.
** It is worth noting that Eliyahu, the 2nd teen was abducted in the WEST BANK, which is removed from Gaza entirely. Efforts to secure him will have little to do with Operation Summer Rain.
Update II: Limited operation (Fox News via AP), aimed at pressure & terrorist infrastructure.
Also, threats to murder Gilad Shalit, and the not fully confirmed missing Israeli teen (below) of course registered (YNET update), not that there has been much reason for optimism until now. The option presented was release them, not employ them as barter like casino chips. There's no end to negotiation with Terrorists and their cynical propagandist ways, this is a policy that can never change, sadly.. These terrorists will get theirs.
There's news of IDF military activity and strikes in GAZA.
Stay close to YNET ; JPOST ; Fox News for breaking information, and let's pray for the safety & success of the IDF in countering this terrorist threat.
AbbaGav foreshadows the possible return of Jenin II, the sequel. Where Israel is maligned for trying to save lives, Palestinian & Israeli.
UPDATE: It is starting to look very real and wide ranging.
Keeping in mind that it is now deep night in Israel, Haaretz has an AP ticker report from PA officials that the power in Gaza has been knocked out by Israeli Air Forces. This is a historically punitive measure used by Israel previously in Lebanon etc, and often a prelude to extensive night time operations for obvious reasons, as the IDF most often initiates operations at night.
Israel is a world leader in night time optics technology and combat units like their American counterparts are trained, equipped, as well as prefer specifically to operate under these conditions. Israel has specialized crack units for hostage rescue, for troop retrieval. They will no doubt be the tip of this spear, here's to hoping it meets its mark. Information emanating from Israel will rightfully be blacked out. What we will get should be taken with a grain of salt, it will come from journalists and sources not sympathetic to Israel's operations, quite the contrary actually.