GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #13: Netanyahu addresses nation. Hamas defies humanitarin truce it asked for. Growing signals of a much longer, more intense IDF operation in Gaza.

UPDATED AT 2:30pm EASTERN, SUNDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — As Hamas broke a humanitarian true it asked for by firing many more rockets at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation of Israel on Sunday evening (8pm local time). He also was interviewed on several U.S. news programs.

* Hamas defies humanitarian true, fires rockets at South (Ynet News)

* Netanyahu: The heart of the nation is with the families of our fallen soldiers — PM addresses the country as IDF death toll in Gaza operation rises to 18 soldiers; premier urges nation to stand together, says operation will extend as long as necessary to assure peace and quiet for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu to Gazans: ‘Hamas wants you to die, don’t die for Hamas’ — PM speaks on CNN and BBC outlining operation’s goals of destroying terror tunnels, says Israel will work with international community to demilitarize the Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)

* Netanyahu calls for “sustainable quiet” (Politico)

ORIGINAL POST: At the moment on Day #13, what I’m hearing from friends in Israel as well as seeing in news coverage is much fiercer fighting, rising casualties on both sides, and a growing sense that Israel is preparing for a much deeper, much longer invasion of Gaza.

Why? To fully identify and destroy the terrorist tunnels under Israel and Gaza, to fully destroy the terrorists’ stockpile of rockets and rocket launchers, to smash Hamas command and control, to arrest or kill terror leaders and operatives, and truly secure the Gaza Strip so as to bring calm and quiet to Israel.

This will likely take weeks to accomplish, at minimum. But it could take months.

No final decision on such a prolonged operation has been publicly communicated as of yet, but signals are coming from top Israeli officials, including dovish Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and hardline Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“Israel’s justice minister said she did not rule out Israel bringing down Hamas if that was what it took to restore security and calm for the people of Israel,” reports the Times of Israel. “Tzipi Livni, the Hatnua party head who is the the most dovish member of Israel’s inner cabinet, was asked in a Channel 2 interview Friday night to confirm that the goal of Israel’s current ground offensive in Gaza is not to destroy Hamas. ‘I’m not taking anything off the table,” she replied. “I’m not going to tell them [Hamas] what the limits [of the operation] are. Among other things, it’s up to them.’ She said Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian ceasefire efforts, and attempting to murder Israeli civilians via ongoing rocket fire and a foiled under-border tunnel infiltration near a kibbutz on Thursday morning, had shown that it ‘lives in a completely different opera.'”

“There is a significant likelihood that the current ground operation will end with Israel retaking full control over Gaza,” Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday, after the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet unanimously approved an expansion of the IDF ground invasion, reports Israel Hayom.

Excerpts from the article:

  • Steinitz, who took part in the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meeting, explained that the decision was based on the assessment that Hamas was not ready for a cease-fire.
  • The cabinet decided to operate to root out the terror tunnels that dot the Strip.
  • The understanding is that the tunnels pose no less of a threat to Israel than the incessant rocket fire coming out of Gaza….
  • Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday that “anyone who tries to disrupt our lives will bring their own demise on themselves. Anyone who engages in terrorism against the state of Israel, we will strike them hard and make them regret their actions.”….
  • Ya’alon toured the frontlines on Friday, and told IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami ‎Turgeman that he was “very impressed with the [IDF’s] conduct, professionalism, thoroughness, control and the organized work flow both in the defensive and offensive operations.”
  • Also Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the heads of the opposition parties, excluding the Arab parties. On Saturday, Netanyahu spent most of the day in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters consulting with security officials. On Friday, Netanyahu and his staff said a prayer for the safety of the soldiers in Gaza.

Please keep praying for calm to be restored sooner rather than later, and for the Lord to comfort the wounded and grieving on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis. Please pray, too, for the IDF soldiers to be able to successfully neutralize the terrorists without any more civilian casualties.

LATEST HEADLINES:

Saturday summary — Day #12:

  • More than 111 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
  • At least 88 rockets hit Israel.
  • 18 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • The IDF struck 140 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • 13 terror tunnels were uncovered by IDF forces.

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