Netanyahu floats exit plan: Let Hamas rule Gaza, leave the IDF in control of West Bank security

Saturday, July 12, 2014
By Paul Martin
July 12, 2014

For five days, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon opted to confront Hamas rockets with Israel’s air force alone, without the IDF at large. They were not even willing to approve a small-scale raid by special forces for pinpointing a few key targets, as a pretext for helping Netanyahu deny widespread allegations that he is again running away from full-scale military action.

Early Saturday, July 12, saw a few hours respite from Palestinian rocket fire before the first sirens starting wailing again in the western Negev and central Israel.

The rockets fired during this week came in an ever widening arc. Israel air strikes wrought heavy surface damage to the Gaza Strip, but scarcely scratched its rocket capabilities.

Friday night, air strikes hit 60 Palestinian targets, mostly buried missile launchers and arms stores, one cached in the Nuseirat mosque, which was razed except for the minaret, and others in a school and three multistory buildings. Before they were bombed, civilians were warned to get out of harm’s way.

The IDF spokesman reported 10 “terrorists” killed, including rocket team leaders. The Palestinians report their total death toll had climbed to 121 and 900 injured.

Israel reported 750 Palestinian rockets launched in five days, with no fatalities, and 82 people injured, many of them suffering the effects of shock.
Five days after Operation Protective Edge was launched to terminate the Hams rocket offensive, it was beginning to be blunted by the fading prospect of ground action. The decision for the time being not to launch ground forces into the Gaza Strip to finish the job, by reaching the thousands of rockets concealed by Hamas and Jihad Islami underground was evident from the news leaking out of the security and policy cabinet meeting held in Tel Aviv on Friday, July 11, and the words of Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz – “We stand ready for all possible action and await nothing more than a political decision.”

They reflected Netanyahu’s decision to hold off on a ground incursion, so long as Iron Dome batteries shoot rockets down before they hit population centers and cause fatalities, and Israelis remain remarkably obedient to the Home Command’s rules for keeping safe.

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