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 The Winds of War –The Counter is Ticking
Ari Bussel

Wednesday morning.  The counting continues:  Today is the last day of 2008.  It is the second day children are not in school because of the situation.  We just finished eight days of the Festival of the Lights (Hannukah).  The fifth day of Operation Cast Lead has started.  It is a rainy day, promising more rockets, even more after nightfall.

Over the last four days here in Israel, not everyone is participating or even feeling a war.  Life proceeds on its tracks to those outside the ever expanding radii of the rockets and mortar.  The line is currently drawn at a marathon distance of 26 miles.  The opposition to Israel's attempt at sanity – defending its own citizens from an ongoing collective punishment – has been met with fierce fighting the world over.

The Ghaza War now involves the whole world – people are demonstrating, participating in online groups, writing letters to the editor, discussing articles.  Soon, Jews, Israelis and Americans and Jewish, Israeli and American symbols will be targeted.  We all take part in this war.  Since we are so engrossed in the details, we may need to step back to understand what is the war about.  The illusion of some decision makers that Israel is faring well in the Public Diplomacy Front has, I am afraid, little if any ground.

The Ghaza War is not about the rockets precision-aimed toward Israeli towns and cities.  Neither is it about a soldier who has been held in captivity in Gaza for 920 days.

The Ghaza War is a war on public opinion in the Public Diplomacy Front.  It is a war of Islam against the West, and countries are taking sides.  This is probably the most interesting element of this War thus far (other than Israel's utter failures in finding the courage to do what is needed and in repeating of the same script of Lebanon):

The Ghaza War is that of Iran against the West, with the first pawn – Hamas – being tested.  Iran sits in the background and waits.   Gazans object to the war.  They are held hostage by Hamas which has no value for human lives and uses the Gazans as human shields, as elements in the soup it brews.

Hamas uses pictures of body parts, does not take the injured child to the hospital before the cameras arrive, places children in and around their headquarters, explosive labs and ammunition caches, talks about a siege and human sufferings and humanitarian crisis (any connection to reality may be ignored) and thus distorts the world.  A false image is created and any arguments to the contrary fall on deaf ears.

Nothing that Israel does other than a complete elimination of Hamas and its capabilities will end this War.  Anything that happens is used against Israel – from convoys of trucks with humanitarian supplies to precision strikes at terrorists and terror infrastructure.   

We enter 2009, ending this fifth day of Operation Cast Lead.  It is a war, and the next move will indeed be forced upon us.  We do not call the shots, we react and defend ourselves instead of attack and prevail.

For Israel to win the war, the world will have to realize it is not a single operation, the Palestinians are not the victims, the true target is the world itself. 

Wake up world, Israel is fighting for you.

Ari Bussel, Reporting from Israel
© Postcards from Israel, December, 2008

E-mail:  aribussel@gmail.com
:  web.me.com/bussel

+972 (0)8 947-6595
+972 (0)52 441-3377

 Dec 31st, 2008

Evening summary of IDF operations

Operation Cast Lead, which aims to reduce Hamas' capacity to launch rocket attacks against communities in southern Israel , is now in its fifth day. The IDF is engaged in a battle with Hamas and other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and does not aim to target the Palestinian civilian population. 

Summary of humanitarian aid efforts:

*              A total of 93 trucks transporting provisions, medical equipment and medicine entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Five ambulances also crossed into the Strip. 
*              Twelve Palestinians, including two children, were transferred to Israeli hospitals.  

Since the early morning hours on Wednesday, the IDF has attacked over 25 targets in the Gaza Strip. These include:

*              A mosque in Gaza City used as a as a storage site for Grad missiles
and Qassam rockets, as well as a staging ground for launches. The strike set off numerous secondary explosions, caused by the munitions stockpiled in the mosque. 
*              Weaponry manufacturing and storage facilities in southern Gaza, including a storage site in the Khan Younis area where Amar Abu Ghalula, a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad's rocket infrastructure, was present.  Three additional Islamic Jihad operatives were in the facility at the time of the IAF strike. 
*              A tunnel in the Khan Younis area, used for the smuggling of operatives and weaponry. 

*              A Hamas outpost and training camp in the Gaza City area, which was also used as a weaponry manufacturing site and place of assembly for senior
members of the terror organization. 

*              Rocket launching sites, several of which were underground, as well
as a number of loaded Grad launchers. 

In all the IDF has so far attacked 450 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. 

The IDF will continue to operate against terror organizations and will not
hesitate to strike those involved both directly and indirectly in attacks
against the citizens of the State of Israel.

31th December, 2008

12 Palestinians from Gaza transferred to Israeli hospitals for assistance and 2500 tons of humanitarian aid transferred to Gaza

Today 12 Palestinians accessed Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were children injured during the military activates, the remaining are chronically sick people, and their escorts, that accessed Israel for treatment that is not available within the Gaza Strip.   

Further more, despite ongoing rocket fire, Israel continues with the extensive humanitarian effort in coordination with the international organizations, Palestinian Authority and various donors. Ninety three trucks, with approximately 2500 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication were conveyed through "Kerem Shalom" cargo terminal. The World Food Program has informed Israel that they will not be resuming shipment of food commodities in to Gaza due to the fact that their warehouses are at full capacity and will last for approximately two weeks.

Since the beginning of operation "cast lead" some 6500 tons of aid have been transferred at the request of the international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. Preparations are underway to facilitate further shipments expected to arrive in the coming days.