The Hamas war



"We have stretched our hand in peace many times to the Palestinian people. We have nothing against the people of Gaza," Barak said as Israeli warplanes carried out a third day of strikes on the Palestinian territory.

"But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches. The restraint that we have demonstrated is the source of our strength when it is time to fight."

The Palestinian death toll from the campaign has topped 300, most of them Hamas militants, Palestinian medical sources said Monday. Columns of smoke could be seen over Gaza City, while Israeli tanks cruised along the edges of the territory. Video Watch as Gaza endures third day of attacks »

Iyad Nasr, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the streets of Gaza were largely empty while airstrikes continued throughout the morning.

"Very little number of cars are going out," he said. "People who need to secure some basic food supplies are all to go out, or people looking for a family member who is missing or going to a hospital." Video Watch parts of Gaza reduced to rubble »

Israel says the goal of the bombardment is to stop an ongoing stream of rockets fired from Gaza into the southern part of the country. But the rocket fire continued despite the raids, killing one person at a construction site in the city of Ashkelon and wounding eight others, three seriously.


I think Israel has other objectives. It is trying to persuade Hamas leaders how counterproductive its rocket campaign has become. Israel is systemically degrading Hamas assets in the Gaza strip and is decapitating much of its leadership. Those who remain alive are hunkered down and unable to communicate with their remaining forces. They have also been ineffective pushing their standard victim strategy. Each day more of their assets will be destroyed and they will futilely continue their rocket campaign which will keep the Israeli attacks coming.


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