Egypt latest launching point for artillery strikes on Israel
The Jerusalem Post reported on Friday that rockets were fired from the Sinai Peninsula towards an Isreali village on the southern border. No injuries were reported.
These latest attacks come after President Obama spoke with Egypt’s President Morsi on Wednesday and Egypt’s Prime Minister Hesham Qandil visited Gaza to show solidarity with Hamas on Thursday.
Speaking in Cairo on Thursday, President Morsi said that in his conversation with Obama, he told the U.S. President that Israel’s offensive must stop while calling Israel’s defensive actions “unacceptable aggression.” President Mohammed Morsi pledged Egypt’s support of Hamas as he said that Cairo “would not leave Gaza on its own.”
The Egyptian government’s actions are no surprise. Since the rise to power of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab Spring, Egypt’s interest in peace with Israel has steadily lessened. It is unlikely that President Obama will be able to affect the situation as the U.S.’s influence in the region has significantly weakened over the last four years. In a separate statement, President Morsi said that “Egypt today is not the Egypt of yesterday, and Arabs today are not the Arabs of yesterday” heightening fears that Egypt is no longer a diplomatic partner in the region.
In sending the leader of the Egyptian government to Gaza in a friendly gesture to Hamas, Egypt is openly partnering with a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Union and Israel. There is some concern that some of the more than $2 Billion in annual U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt may be funneled to Hamas.
The current crisis began as Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel were joined by Syrian artillery positions firing on the Israeli region known as the Golan Heights. Israel returned fire against the Syrian artillery.
In order to defend itself, Israel began Operation “Pillar of Defence” during which it killed the military commander of Hammas and struck numerous rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip.
News reports offer confusing timelines often tuned to show Israel as the first aggressor. These reports often ignore the continual and escalating rocket attacks that pre-dated the Isreali offensive. Isreali President Shimon Peres briefed the U.S. President informing him that the current operation was in response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. During a visit to an Israeli border town, Peres said “”Israel is not interested in stoking the flames, but for the past five days there has been constant missile fire at Israel and mothers and children cannot sleep quietly at night.”
In response to reporting and editorials tilted against Israel, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham H. Foxman submitted a letter to the editor at the New York Times in which he pointed out some unfair editorialization on the conflict and how a failure to condemn Hamas’ constant attacks on Israel may have missed opportunities to prevent the escalation of hostilities.
Real understanding would be shown in discussion about how Israel is being surrounded by states and entities controlled by Islamic extremists, either the Muslim Brotherhood or Hezbollah, all committed to Israel’s destruction.
Real recognition of the problem would have been articulated by words calling on the international community to condemn Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians long before it came to this.
Three Israelis were killed and 18 injured by rockets fired from Gaza and 19 Palestinians were killed as Israel counter-attacked in defense of herself. 75,000 Israeli reservists have been called up for duty following the Palestinian attacks and resulting tensions.
Hamas is heavily supported by Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, all vocal adversaries of the Jewish state. Armaments are steadily streaming into Gaza from Africa through smuggling tunnels in Egypt. The latest Hamas attacks included the Iranian Fajr-5 medium range guided missiles which can strike anywhere in Israel. These more dangerous Iranian arms are credited as the real reason for the Israeli counter-attack.