On Wednesday, President Joe Biden continued to urge Israel towards a ceasefire, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would continue “Operation Guardians of the Walls” as long as necessary to silence Palestinian rocket fire at Israel.
Overnight, the IDF attacked Hamas air defenses and underground tunnels. Earlier in the evening, a Palestinian rocket misfired — as roughly 20% of the rockets do.
As day broke in Israel, the rockets from Gaza had stopped for eight hours — the longest lull in the 11-day conflict thus far.
Israel has two risks to weigh as it decides whether to continue pressing its advantage. One is the increasing support among congressional Democrats for a ceasefire — bolstered by the outright anti-Israel hostility of the party’s “progressive” wing.
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The other is the risk of a second front in Lebanon. Hezbollah is thought to be an order of magnitude stronger than Hamas, and could possible fire enough rockets at once to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. A ground war would then become necessary, which could mean a heavy cost in lives on both sides, as well as possible damage to Israel’s economy.
Israeli analysis and diplomats have begun talking up the advantages of a ceasefire. Israel has destroyed much of the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, and has done so without a major civilian casualty event that could galvanize international opposition. Crucially, Israel has fought the entire war without losing the support of Arab states that signed the recent Abraham Accords.
Hamas will live to fight another day. It will claim that it frightened Israelis into bomb shelters, and cemented its position as the preeminent force in Palestinian politics. It has also field-tested Iranian tactics against Israel’s defenses. But it also failed to win international support for isolating Israel, and instead finds itself more isolated than it already was at the start of the conflict.
Update: The Israeli military continued to strike terrorist targets from the air Thursday morning, though military analysts expected the operation to wrap up — perhaps earlier than originally anticipated, according to Israel’s Army Radio.Roc
Rocket fire resumed after eight hours, according to the IDF and media reports:
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it). His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.