Israel set to launch 'limited operations' in Gaza

After 22 rockets and mortars fired by terrorists slammed in the western Negev on Thursday and Friday, Israel is preparing a "limited operation" against Hamas, according to Haaertz:

On Sunday, the prime minister will hold a series of consultations ahead of a possible military action in the Strip. No major move will apparently be made until these discussions have concluded.

In statements Thursday, senior security officials were unwavering. "Anyone who harms Israeli citizens and soldiers will pay the price," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, speaking at the graduation of a pilots' training course at Hazerim Air Force Base, said, "We will have to use all of our might against the terror infrastructure and create a different security reality around the Gaza Strip."

Israel is planning a relatively short operation that will cause maximum damage to Hamas "assets." The defense establishment says the operation would not necessarily limit itself to stopping rocket launches and that during the operation, daily massive rocket launches can be expected. Hamas might fire rockets with a range beyond the 20 kilometers it has used so far.

By evening Thursday, seven rockets and nine mortars had been fired from the Gaza Strip, as opposed to 70 mortars and rockets shot the day before. One Grad rocket landed south of Ashkelon. There were no injuries or damage.

Why would Hamas do this - besides the obvious reason that they wish to kill Israelis? Apparently, there is pressure on them "to significantly improve the terms of the cease-fire, particularly regarding the opening of the crossings in light of the increased distress of the civilian population."

Hamas believes that by provoking Israel, it will get the rest of the world to put pressure on Tel Aviv to deal with the terrorists and give them a better cease fire agreement than the one Hamas unilaterally tore up last week.

Good luck, President Obama.