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Yet another deepening round of conflict shows Israel still unable to deter Hamas

12 17 20

Much of the grisly escalation of violence into which we have been plunged starting with Hamas’s rocket barrage at Jerusalem at 6 p.m. last night is dismally familiar from the years of previous conflicts since the Islamist terror group forced out Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah forces from Gaza in 2007.

Israel is being battered by incessant rocket fire, spreading death, destruction and panic through a widening swath of southern Israel. The IDF is hitting back in Gaza, targeting Hamas and other terror groups’ installations, rocket launch teams, and numerous terror commanders. The battle over the narrative is in full sway, with Hamas bragging of the indiscriminate harm it is wreaking in Israel while simultaneously protesting the Israeli counterstrikes. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza is highlighting what it says are the deaths of children in IDF strikes, while the Israeli army declines to comment on specific incidents but says at least some of the Gaza civilian fatalities, including children, were caused by the terror groups’ own rockets misfiring or landing inside the Strip.

In Ashdod, Ashkelon and beyond on Tuesday, families run for cover, shelter with their crying babies in the stairwells of buildings many of which still are not equipped with bomb shelters. Radio and TV reports on the injury and damage from the last strike are interrupted by warning sirens signaling the next incoming barrage.

A medic carries a wounded child from an apartment building in Ashkelon hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)

Familiar, too, is the Israeli political and military leadership quandary: Though Hamas knows the IDF will hit back from the air, it is plainly not deterred from the frequent battering of the Israeli home front with its rocket fire. An Israeli resort to a ground offensive could prove more of a deterrent but would lead without question to greater loss of Israeli life, and might not achieve any definitive, long-lasting success. A full-scale Israeli effort to reconquer Gaza and oust Hamas would be immensely complex and deadly, and its gains would be reversed the moment the IDF pulled back — thereby necessitating a semi-permanent military presence that successive Israeli governments have adamantly rejected.

On Monday evening, the IDF gave this round of conflict a formal name — “Operation Guardian of the Walls” —........

© The Times of Israel

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