Israeli PM declares war against Palestinian militants after border attack

Speaking of things nobody needed right about now, the news out of Israel is pretty dire this morning. 

Just as Israelis were celebrating Simchat Torah, Hamas launched a massive attack into southern Israel in multiple locations simultaneously. Thousands of rockets were fired and Hamas fighters began shooting people in the streets. 

The attacks were launched over the security fence separating Palestine from Israel, but also from the water and even by air using gliders. Reports said the initial death toll was in the twenties, with hundreds of others being injured. 

Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation, stating that, “We are at war.”

From Associated Press:

The ruling Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land and sea and catching the country off-guard on a major holiday.

Six hours after the invasion began, Hamas militants were still fighting gunbattles inside several Israeli communities in a surprising show of strength that shook the country. Israel’s national rescue service said at least 22 people have been killed and hundreds wounded, making it the deadliest attack in Israel in years.

The Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba said it was treating at least 280 casualties, with 60 in serious condition.

Israel has already started to strike back, firing rockets into Gaza and calling up reserve troops. It was clearly not simple happenstance that this attack was launched during Simchat Torah. It was obviously meant as some sort of throwback to the 1973 Middle East war, which was launched on Yom Kippur. That war lasted three weeks, but it was highly destabilizing. Hopefully this one will be even shorter.

Israel clearly needs to strike back and the White House needs to back away from their anti-Israel rhetoric and throw our full support behind our closest ally. I’ll confess to being pleasantly surprised with the initial response from Biden’s team. Given his previous track record, I expected him to say that Israel should “show restraint” or something like that. But a firm message of support and condemnation of the attack was released this morning.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“The U.S. unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism.”

Watson said Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has spoken with his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi. The U.S. and Israel are remaining in close touch, Watson said.

It’s worth noting that those remarks came from the National Security Council and not directly from the White House. We’ll see what KJP has to say later, but for now we seem to be siding firmly with Israel, which is encouraging. That’s important, even though it will cause the “boycott, divest, sanction” crowd to set their hair on fire. This attack was not the work of “the oppressed Palestinian people.” These were Hamas terrorists and they need to be dealt with swiftly and harshly. And Israel needs to know that we still have their back.

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