Of course the call for a truce was for Israel to stop the bombing of terrorist locations in Gaza, not for the Pali terrorist to stop firing rockets at innocent Israeli civilians.
Knowing that a truce would only be beneficial to the Pali terrorist, Israel has wisely decided to continue attacking.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel rejected international pressure to suspend its air offensive against Palestinian militants whose rocket barrages are striking close to the Israeli heartland, sending warplanes Wednesday to demolish smuggling tunnels that are the lifeline of Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers.
The diplomatic action was set in motion by the scale of destruction in Gaza since Israel unleashed its campaign Saturday, and a casualty toll that Gaza officials now put at 390 dead and some 1,600 wounded. Hamas says some 200 uniformed members of Hamas security forces have been killed, and the U.N. says at least 60 Palestinian civilians have died. Four Israelis have been killed by militant rocket fire, including three civilians.
The chief of Israel’s internal security services, Yuval Diskin, told Cabinet ministers Wednesday that Hamas’ ability to rule had been “badly impaired.” Weapons development facilities have been “completely wiped out” and the network of smuggling tunnels has been badly damaged, a participant in the meeting quoted Diskin as saying.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed to the media.
Overnight, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed a 48-hour truce proposal floated by France with his foreign and defense ministers. The meeting ended with a decision to continue the punishing aerial campaign.
“Giving Hamas a respite just to regroup, rearm is a mistake,” Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said. “The pressure on the Hamas military machine must continue.”
Calls for an immediate cease-fire have also come from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice personally called leaders in the Middle East on Tuesday to press for a durable solution.
Underlying the Israeli decision to keep fighting are the mightier weapons that Hamas has smuggled into Gaza through underground tunnels along the border with Egypt. Previously, militants had relied on crude homemade rockets that could fly just 12 miles to terrorize Israeli border communities. Now, they are firing industrial-grade weapons that have dramatically expanded their range and put more than one-tenth of Israel’s population in their sights.
More than two dozens rockets and mortar shells were fired by mid-day Wednesday, including five that hit in and around the major southern Israeli city of Beersheba, 22 miles from Gaza. One hit an empty school. Another landed in a small farming community about 20 miles southeast of Tel Aviv. No serious casualties were reported.
School was canceled in large swaths of Israel’s south because of the rocket threat. The 18,000 students at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, southern Israel’s only university, were also told to stay home.
Early on Wednesday, Israeli aircraft pounded smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border in another attempt to sever the lifeline that keeps Hamas in power by supplying weapons, food and fuel. Israel and Egypt blockaded Gaza after Hamas violently seized control of the territory in June 2007 and have cracked open their borders only to let in limited amounts of humanitarian aid.
A huge explosion rocked a tunnel that housed a fuel pipeline and aircraft also smashed the house of a smuggling kingpin. In all, two tunnels were destroyed in the raid, Egyptian security officials in Rafah said.
An Egyptian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media, said Israel has destroyed 120 tunnels since the aerial campaign began. According to conservative estimates, there were at least 200 tunnels before Israeli warplanes began striking.
In Gaza City, powerful airstrikes sent high-rise apartment buildings swaying and showered streets with broken glass and pulverized concrete. The Israeli military said government buildings were hit, including an office of Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
A Palestinian medic was killed and two others were wounded when an Israeli missile struck next to their ambulance east of Gaza City, Palestinians said. The Israeli military said it did not know of the incident.
Israeli navy ships also fired at Hamas positions along the coastline.
Diskin, the Israeli security services chief, said Hamas was trying to smuggle out some of its activists to Egypt through tunnels that were still passable. Other militants were hiding in Gaza hospitals, some disguised as doctors and nurses, and in mosques, where militants had set up command and control centers, Diskin said.
Although Hamas leaders have been driven underground, spokesman Taher Nunu said the Gaza government was functioning and had met over the past few days.
“What our people want is clear: an immediate stop to all kinds of aggression, the end of the siege by all means, the opening of all border crossings, and international guarantees that the occupation will not renew this terrorist war again,” Nunu said in a statement.
“Renew this terrorist war again”? The Pali terrorist have never ended it. All a truce means is that Israel has to show restraint while the terrorist go on firing rockets at innocent Israeli civilians.