Nearly three years ago, Israeli army forces, backed by military aircraft, were sent into the Gaza Strip to halt escalating rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Palestinian coastal zone. Dubbed “Cast Lead,” the nearly month-long operation did succeed in stopping constant rocket firings into nearby Israeli civilian population centers. Despite this, Palestinian rockets and mortar shells were once again hitting Israeli targets within a few months time, but at a much reduced rate than before the operation began.
IDF chief Benny Gantz (R) overseeing a military exercise, Nov. 13, 2011.However, rocket attacks have been steadily escalating in intensity throughout this year, causing Israeli Armed Forces chief Benny Gantz to recently warn that Israel may have no choice but to once again launch a large-scale ground operation to halt the renewed attacks, adding that the IDF is getting ready for this possibility. Speaking to Israeli legislators, the military leader said the threat of a violent new Palestinian uprising remains very real. In light of this, he added that any new IDF operation in the Gaza Strip would have to carefully target the rocket launchers and their supporting infrastructure, leaving as few civilian casualties in its wake as possible.
By David Dolan