Battleground in Gaza

[Washington Times] Editorial - Gaza looms as a major battleground in the larger global struggle with jihadism, with the Israeli military squaring off against terrorist proxies of Iran and Syria in addition to al-Qaeda factions burrowing into the region. Hamas has built in essence a 12,000-man militia - two to three times the size of the Hizbullah force in last summer's Lebanon war. Gaza is crawling with hundreds of terrorists. As Gaza descends into chaos, Israel, which withdrew all of its soldiers and civilians from there two years ago in the hope that the Palestinians would respond by building a viable independent state, must decide whether to conduct major military operations against Gaza-based terrorists who are expanding their capability to attack neighboring Israeli towns. Since November more than 250 Kassam rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza. In Sderot in Israel, nine- and ten-year-old children in day-care centers routinely practice what to do in the event of rocket strikes, and a week ago a rocket fired from Gaza struck a Sderot house close to a kindergarten. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians were within range of Palestinian rockets; today, that figure is 200,000 and growing.

2007-05-16 01:00:00

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