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Israeli Planes Bomb Buildings; Stronger Response Demanded

Kassam-firing terrorists and Israeli planes continue to trade attacks. A former Southern District Commander says Israel is acting irresponsibly by not retaliating strongly enough.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/26/2005, 1:11 PM / Last Update: 9/26/2005, 2:38 PM


The latest of more than 40 Kassam rockets to hit Israeli areas over the past three days were fired this morning in the direction of Or HaNer, near Sderot, and towards Netiv HaAsarah, just north of Gaza. Another Kassam was fired towards Sderot last night. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

Israel continued its retaliation with a combat helicopter strike at a Kassam-launching site in Gaza shortly before noon today. In addition, four structures belonging to terrorist organizations in Gaza City and Khan Yunis were bombed by Israel Air Force craft last night. The buildings, containing much weaponry, belonged to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Earlier last night, the IDF attacked the southern Gaza city of Rafah, hitting a weaponry-laden Hamas building there.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Tzvika Fogel told Arutz-7 that Israel's policy must be, "A block in Gaza for every Kassam."

Israel is operating under what Fogel called an "impossible equation" according to which, "any time there are no casualties from an Arab rocket attack, Israel doesn't react or else acts with softness. Sderot is not cannon fodder, and the mantra that 'we do not hit back at innocent civilians' must be dropped from our lexicon."

Asked whether the IDF might be ordered to fire at Gazan population centers in response to rocket attacks, Gen. Fogel said, "I don't see any other choice, unless we are willing to continue to be hit with rockets, until in the end someone is killed. This is intolerable and irresponsible on the part of the Government of Israel to continue to show restraint."

The new equation that Israel must activate, Fogel said, is, "If Hamas operates from a given neighborhood, it's no longer an 'innocent populace.' Every Kassam rocket they fire means we hit one of their streets - and we'll see what they have more of: Kassams or streets."

"Would the Prime Minister and Defense Minister continue to show such restraint if Herzliya or Raanana would be hit by rockets?" Gen. Fogel asked. "Sderot should be no different... Even if there is temporary quiet in Gaza, we cannot be fooled. Hamas has no timetable. Whenever it's ready, it finds an excuse and carries out an attack."

The option of mounting a ground attack in not realistic, Fogel feels, because Israel's means of gathering intelligence have been greatly harmed by the withdrawal from Gaza. "The only answer is planes and artillery."

Regarding Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Gen. Fogel said, "His actions show that he is trying to use terrorism for his own purposes... He is nothing more than Yasser Arafat in a suit."