Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who controls the playground?

Not to be flippant but it is Israel with all the power. Hamas, as dangerous as they are and with the newer weapons at their disposal are really no match for the IDF, the Israeli Air Force or the Moussad. This message to Hamas is just a reminder that if push comes to shove again it is Israel who will be in a position to wipe Hamas off the Gaza map, not the other way around.

From The Guardian November 13 by Josef Federman

Israeli official: military could topple Hamas

Associated Press= REIM MILITARY BASE, Israel (AP) — Weeks after a new round of fighting with Gaza militants subsided, a senior Israeli military official said Sunday that Israel is ready and able to topple the territory's Hamas government, though it has no immediate plans to do so.

The official also said Gaza militants have steadily built up an already formidable arsenal, in part with weapons smuggled out of Libya, and now have rockets capable of striking Tel Aviv, Israel's cultural and business hub.

"If we have to conquer the whole Gaza Strip, we'll do it," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under Israeli military guidelines. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year military occupation.

Israel's volatile front with Gaza, a crowded seaside strip along Israel's southwest flank, has been largely quiet since an Israeli military offensive three years ago. The operation, launched in response to heavy barrages of rocket fire, killed some 1,400 people, including hundreds of civilians, and inflicted heavy damage on Hamas.

But since then, Hamas has restocked its arsenal, and fighting has sporadically flared up, most recently late last month when one Israeli and 10 Gaza militants were killed over several days of violence.

Hamas officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hamas, along with smaller militant groups, now possess sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, the official said. He said they also have rockets capable of reaching the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv, roughly 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Gaza, meaning that Israel's main population center is now within range.

The official said many arms have flooded into Gaza in the wake of the Libyan revolution, with looted weapons making their way through Egypt's Sinai peninsula and into Gaza through the border tunnels. He said the weapons shipping is taking place despite improved efforts by Egypt's new government to stop the smuggling.

He said the weapons have not changed militants' abilities, since armed groups already possessed these arms. But he said the amount of weapons has grown substantially.

One beneficiary, he said, is Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed group that sometimes rivals Hamas. Islamic Jihad was responsible for most of the latest wave of fighting against Israel.

"Hamas has more of everything and good stuff, but the Jihad ... got stronger by far, not stronger than Hamas, but it's a very strong organization now," he said.

Abu Ahmad, spokesman for Islamic Jihad's military wing, confirmed his group had beefed up its capabilities, including the new use of mobile rocket launchers. But he said there is still "a big difference between our humble arsenal and the occupation army's weapons."

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