November 17, 2012

Israelis mobilize for potential ground assault on Gaza

Rocket strikes near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem raise stakes in the ongoing standoff.

By KARIN BRULLIARD The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Palestinian women cry at a funeral Friday for two people killed in an Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahia, north Gaza.

The Associated Press

Even if the rocket missed by a few miles, targeting Jerusalem was a surprisingly risky move that carried the potential of a backlash -- not just from Israel, but from the Palestinian public and Hamas' Arab allies. East Jerusalem is home to hundreds of thousands of Arabs, and the al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City is Islam's third-holiest site.

"We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist on any single inch of Palestine, and we plan more surprises," Abu Obaida, a spokesman for the Hamas militant wing, told the Associated Press.

Earlier Friday, Kandil and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh toured Gaza's al-Shifa hospital. As a scrum of photographers and camera crews recorded the moment, Kandil placed his hand on the head of a young boy killed in a recent strike.

"I have seen now Gaza, and the hospital, and the martyred child Mohammed Yasser," Kandil said. Flanked by guards in flak jackets, he lifted his arms to show reporters spots of blood on the sleeves of his jacket.

"These are the signs, the blood spatters of our brethren," Kandil said. "This tragedy cannot be ignored, and the whole world has to shoulder the responsibility to stop its aggression. We are standing with you."

A deployment of troops into Gaza would probably face little political opposition in Israel, where the operation has gotten widespread support and amounted to a political victory for Netanyahu, if not yet a military one. Labor Party chair Shelly Yacimovich, a reliable Netanyahu critic, described the assassination of the Hamas military chief that opened the offensive as "amazing."

On Friday, President Shimon Peres, who often serves as a dovish counterweight to Netanyahu, said: "This is not the launch of a war, but a justified defense of our civilians."


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)