All the signs are that Israel is preparing to move against Hamas in Gaza, following over 50 rocket attacks against Israel and an Israeli airstrike in the last 48 hours.
The Israeli town of Sderot on the Gaza border has been hit by rockets, destroying a house, and a mortar round fell in a nearby field injuring a Thai worker. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has denounced those calling for immediate military action. While he is in no rush to use military force rivals in the upcoming election are upping the ante and calling for tougher action, like Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. “The state of Israel and the government under my authority will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza,” she said. “The means for doing this should be military, economic, and diplomatic.” Livni’s robust stance is designed to encroach on Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud’s hardline position on the Palestinians. This all bodes ill for ordinary Gazans, many of whom dismiss the idea there has been any peace at all in the last six months. “There was no ceasefire. Since Hamas announced the ceasefire in June there was killing, invading and destroying. We live near the border. We did not see any truce,” said one elderly man. Since Hamas took power in Gaza in June last year its one and a half million people have been blockaded by land and sea, causing great economic hardship, and flown over by the Israeli air force. But the militant Palestinian group has rearmed, and promises to resist any Israeli incursion.