Israel Television Channel Two Correspondent Ronnie Daniel reported lastnight that the mortars fired from Gaza on Tuesday were 120mm Iranian mortars.This is a huge escalation, and it proves that the policy of simply fortifying Negev communities is a waste of time.
They have a range of 8 kilometers and can do considerably more damage than Qassam rockets.
Daniel said that many of the protective reinforcements that have been placed in order to shield Israelis from Qassams do not provide protection from these mortars. In addition, the Iranian made mortars travel at a speed that makes the warning system that gives Israelis a few seconds to duck for cover from the slower Qassams meaningless.
And perhaps it is far worse, as this YNet op-ed by Uzi Landau states:
A policy calling for fortification poses a risk for Israel's safety. With the exception of strategic facilities the likes of hospitals and schools, townships should not be fortified.The earlier part of the op-ed contrasts Israel's zero-tolerance policy towards attacks on its civilians in the early days of the state with the relative indifference shown now. This acceptance of terror emboldens the jihadists and is ultimately counterproductive.
Fortification carries a destructive message, suggesting Israel is willing to stand for its citizens to be living under fire, cementing in world view a reality legitimizing terror organizations targeting civilians as a starting point for any negotiation.
We've brought this predicament on ourselves. From the moment we allowed populated area to be hit without launching an immediate response, making it abundantly clear we will not stand for it, the following has happened: Our enemies have concluded hurting Jews is allowed; our friends – and naturally our foes – around the world have come to the same conclusion; and worst of all – so have we.
Our own failure to respond has made us accustomed to the targeting of civilian populations, especially away from Tel Aviv. What other way is there to explain our measly response to the hundreds of Qassam rockets fired on the Gaza vicinity communities in the two-and-a-half years since the Gaza pullout?
Ariel Sharon made them a dramatic promise at the time: If even one rocket is fired, he said, Gaza will tremble and the world will understand. The only thing trembling so far, are kindergarten walls.
Olmert was right. We cannot fortify ourselves senseless. But he cannot reiterate that without providing kindergarten children with the proper defense and for the kindergarten walls to stop trembling he cannot avoid the decision to enter Gaza. Not because we want to, but because we have no other choice. We learned that lesson six years ago, when Operation Defensive Shield was forces on us, after months of upholding a "strength in restraint" policy and dozens of bloody terror attacks.
The terror ceased only when we raided its hubs in Jenin and Nablus. The only reason it is still emanating form Gaza is that we were hesitant to go in; and the more hesitant we are, the more resolved Hamas and Hizbullah get. They see Sderot as a test-case and unless crushed there, the next war will see the tens of thousands of missiles they have – and the thousands more they will undoubtedly get – launched at our larger cities right off the bat.
But a mass offence is not enough. Thing must have a conclusive end. Our response must be so disproportional the enemy would realize it's just not worth the effort. A conclusive end is a must simply because anyone firing on Sderot and Ashkelon already knows Ashdod, Rishon Lezion and Tel Aviv are within reach.
Our victory in the Gaza fort must be overwhelming not only for Assaf and his neighbors, for the grocers in Sderot, or for the Dichter family in Ashkelon. They must be defeated so that kindergarten walls in Tel Aviv will never tremble.
Israel, due to its tiny size, cannot hope to win any wars of attrition. By allowing the terrorists to dictate the rules of the war, Israel is placing itself at a severe disadvantage.
It is time to change the rules.