After 10 days of rockets and infiltration the Gaza ground operation begins.
The time has come. Israel has waited as long as possible, knowing that world opinion will be against them no matter what they do. There is no choice.
At 2:30 yesterday (July 17) I was at the Gaza border when I received calls from commanders of some of the units we work with, and were supposed to meet, to leave the area as quickly as possible. The short cease-fire for Humanitarian Aid (much of it supplied by Israel) was to end at 3 PM. I made my way north to Ashkelon and stopped there for a while. Precisely at 3 rockets began raining down on that town as well as others in the area and continued with a vengeance.
As I made my way to Jerusalem I marveled at the patience of Israel to endure 10 days of rockets on their citizens without responding with their ground troops. I am sure there are those reading this, our brave American soldiers, who have been in battle and understand the tensions occurring when sirens are blaring and explosions are happening all around. This has been the life of Israeli citizens for the past 10 days and the life style of those living all around Gaza in the cities and towns for years. By the way, there is only 15 seconds from the time the sirens begin to get to a shelter… imagine yourself in that position with your children, the normal emotion is fear and helplessness.
In all this time the military and political leadership has gone to the extreme, even hazarding the lives of Israelis spending their nights and days running to bomb shelters, to insure there was minimal damage to the civilian population in Gaza. On the other hand, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have used those same people in Gaza as human shields.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The criminal and incessant attacks of Hamas and attempts to penetrate Israeli territory require action to protect our citizens.” With that, he ordered the ground invasion at 10:30 Israeli time on July 17th. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said he made the call after Hamas militants tried to infiltrate into Israel through a tunnel from Gaza and as Hamas rejected an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier this week
The ground operation was preceded by intensive shelling of northern and eastern Gaza which began last night at 9:00 PM (Israeli time). Simultaneously, Air Force and Navy IDF stepped up attacks of terrorist positions in the sector. Shortly afterwards Hamas intensified the rocket fire, the Iron Dome took down at least seven missiles over Tel Aviv, Israelis most populated area.
According to the Israeli press service, in the Gaza Strip are divisions of infantry, artillery, engineer and armored reconnaissance units with the assistance of Navy and Air Force (IDF). The operation involves the penetration of the IDF at a depth of 2-3 kilometers, and the destruction of the maximum number of tunnels. This operation is believed to last for at least a week.
Presently (July 18th, 6 AM) there is heavy artillery and naval shelling, as well as helicopter fire along the Gaza border Troops are entering Gaza as 18-thousand additional Israeli reservists are called up, increasing the number of Israeli troops around Gaza to 70,000.
And (not reported by the Israeli press) from heaven, the assistance of angels (ADF; Angelic Defense Force) sent to protect Israel under the command of Michael the Archangel (Daniel 12:1).
Pictures of aid. The green bag I’m holding is a water bottle kept in backpack with a tube for drinking. When a soldier is in a fire-fight he can keep both hands on his weapon and still have water.
The note (all in Hebrew) is placed in each package (almost 2000) of aid to let the soldiers know we are standing with them.
One Israeli soldier killed, 2 injured