In a meadow near the Gaza border, a young conscript girl is getting ready for battle.
She was employed at a Tel Aviv advertising business two weeks ago; today, she is travelling to Gaza, home of the Hamas militants.
“It’s definitely not the same as what I was doing two weeks ago.”
But on October 7, everything changed,” she remarked, alluding to Hamas’s murder of 1,400 of her countrymen.
We are fighting for our lives here.
We’re prepared for this, and we’ll prevail.
She is one of the 370,000 conscripts who gave up their day jobs to enlist, as well as their cars outside of army bases.
Israel’s and Gaza’s population prepare for widespread slaughter as Israel promises to punish Hamas via land, air, and sea.
It was with me that I witnessed the last-minute arrangements for the ‘Swords of Iron’ invasion of Gaza, with troops, tanks, and intimidating armoured bulldozers gathered for the assault.
The formidable Caterpillar D9R, dubbed ‘Doobi’ (meaning ‘teddy bear’ in Hebrew), is built to scale walls and contend with the labyrinth of tiny streets, extensive tunnel systems, explosive traps, and sniper positions that await Israeli forces.
The pre-war manoeuvres coincided with the following: Israel declared that two American hostages had been freed by Hamas in a deal mediated by Qatar; Rishi Sunak met the Palestinian president at a peace summit in Egypt as part of his whistleblowing diplomatic tour of the Middle East; Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, threatened to revoke the visas of foreigners who chanted pro-Palestine slogans; UK police reported a 1,300% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the previous two weeks;Greta Thunberg, a climate activist, came under intense criticism because her “Stand with Gaza” solidarity graphic included a toy that some saw as anti-Semitic;The BBC stopped referring to Hamas as “militants” in a hushed manner;The bodies of Hamas fighters included a “hostage manual” that told shooters to “kill the problematic.”
Once the “teddy bears” have trampled a path into Gaza, the battle tanks Merkava will thunder through the opening.
Merkavas, meaning ‘chariots’ in Hebrew, are reputedly some of the strongest tanks ever constructed.
Yesterday, in the open area not far from the Gaza border, soldiers raced between their tanks, restocking jerry cans and inspecting weapons under a scorching sun.
While we were taking in the incredible array of armoured vehicles, a local Israeli who was with us remarked, “To think all of those tanks are going into Gaza is terrifying for everybody.”
But we must finally take care of Hamas.
I’m genuinely afraid for both parties’ prospects.
I think it will continue for a very long time.
It has been two weeks since highly armed Hamas terrorists stormed Israeli villages at dawn, beheading babies, shooting elderly people to death, and setting fire to houses, condemning their occupants to burn alive.
A total of 203 hostages—20 children and as many as 20 pensioners—were trussed up and frogmarched to Gaza, where they are currently being used as “human shields.”
Israel declared Wednesday that it knew the “majority” of them were still alive, but their families are in complete fear as the nation swears to destroy the terrorist organisation that is detaining them.
Moshe Leimberg, 59, stated yesterday that he could not stand to watch the news.
Hamas kidnapped his wife Gabriela, their 17-year-old daughter Mia, and other family members at the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz.
“I want my family back,” he uttered.
I want my wife and my daughter.
In addition to my sister-in-law and her life partner, I also want my brother-in-law and my dog back.
In return for an instant cessation of hostilities, Hamas is offering to free some of the captives.
It freed a mother and her daughter, two American hostages, last night “for humanitarian reasons.”
However, Israel’s military chiefs revealed a “three-phase” war plan yesterday, marking the first time the country has outlined a long-term strategy to address its worst conflict in decades.
Israeli parliamentarians were warned by Defence Minister Yoav Gallant to brace for airstrikes and ground movements, backed by targeted attacks on areas of resistance held by Hamas forces.
Gallant had earlier on Thursday hammered home the point of war by telling troops they would’soon’ see Gaza up close.
He stated that Israel’s “responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip” would stop in the third stage, but he did not specify who Israel anticipated to take over as Gaza’s leader in the event that Hamas was overthrown.
According to the UN organisation for Palestinian refugees, Gaza has turned into a “hellhole” for people, and there is not much more time to deliver aid to the region.
More than 4,100 individuals, according to Palestinian officials, have died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes throughout the last two weeks.
The situation was described as “catastrophic” by UN relief workers, with an estimated 600 children missing beneath the debris of bomb sites.
Healthcare professionals and relief organisations have alerted us to the impending power outage in hospitals housing thousands of seriously injured patients.
‘Green light’ for the ground invasion followed reports that US President Joe Biden had given Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu his confidential support.
Major General Yaron Finkelman issued a “long and intense” warning of the anticipated ground offensive.
The most difficult test for the assault force will be in the maze of clogged streets around Gaza City and its expansive refugee camps, which are among the world’s densest populations.
Miles beneath the enclave, in a protected maze of tunnels, lies where Hamas will be waiting.
Yesterday, militants continued to fire rockets into Israel despite nearly two weeks of Israeli jets and artillery bombarding Gaza.
Tanks gather at the border as Sunak begs Arab leaders to maintain composure.
Rishi Sunak urged Arab leaders to take “every possible” action to stop the Hamas terror assaults in Israel from starting a wider Middle East war, as Israeli tanks and troops gathered on the Gaza border Wednesday night.
The goal of the prime minister’s talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo was to defuse the tense situation and open a channel for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
In a diplomatic coup, the PM also had talks with longtime Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who declined to speak with US President Joe Biden following Tuesday’s blast at a Gaza hospital.
According to Downing Street, the PM met with Mr. Abbas ahead of today’s Arab peace summit in Cairo and expressed his “deep condolences for the loss of civilian lives in Gaza, including the terrible destruction of the al-Ahli hospital.”
In addition to reaffirming his support for a “two-state solution” that would allow “Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security,” Mr. Sunak said the UK will send aid to Gaza.
According to No 10, the two leaders “emphasised that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people” and “condemned Hamas terrorism.”
The prime minister had earlier met with the emir of Qatar in Saudi Arabia.
The emir is a major player in the discussions to obtain the release of over 200 captives who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.
According to Downing Street, the two leaders agreed that all leaders had a “responsibility to do everything possible to prevent it” and “underlined the imperative of avoiding any escalation in the violence across the region.”
According to a spokeswoman, Mr. Sunak expressed gratitude to Qatar for its efforts in securing the release of hostages, who included two British people.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, visited the Rafah border yesterday, which connects Egypt and Gaza.
He pleaded with the world community to make sure relief vehicles could get through the “hellhole.”
Speaking to reporters on the Egyptian side of the border, Mr. Guterres emphasised that the trucks’ timely entry into the enclave was crucial for the secure passage of humanitarian relief lorries into Gaza, saying that it may mean the difference between life and death for Palestinians.Hashem IsraelShare on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn