Here are the Israelis who are much closer to the scene than I am and are doing an excellent job covering the war...
Israelly Cool, today's coverage
The Muqata, today's coverage
Israel Matzav, [one], and [two]
This from the IDF Spokesperson's Office:
And a video report from CNN:
Yid With LID has a special report on the ground offensive:
Professor Barry Rubin is not only my friend and teacher but he is a Tel Aviv resident with his finger on the pulse of the Israeli Government. He just sent me this report about the Israeli incursion into Gaza:
On the Ground in Gaza By Barry Rubin
Israel didn’t want to attack the Gaza Strip from the ground or from the air. Hamas, which had long broken the ceasefire, canceled it altogether. Then it began large-scale attacks on Israel. This is a war of defense. And it is being conducted just 30 miles from here, Israel’s main city.
Source: |Yid With LID|, in On the Ground in Gaza A View From Inside Israel- Professor Barry Rubin
Here is an official announcement from the Prime minister's Office:
The Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs (the Security Cabinet) met yesterday (Friday), 3.1.09, in order to discuss the continuation of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.
In continuation of the Ministerial Committee's 24.12.08 decision, in the framework of which approval was given to the operational methods that were recommended by the IDF and security establishment vis-à-vis action against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza, the Committee decided to instruct the IDF to continue operations and proceed to the stage that includes a ground entry into the Gaza Strip.
The goal of the operation is to continue advancing the goals that the Government has set for the operation as a whole, including striking hard at Hamas's terrorism infrastructure and changing the security reality for residents of the south. IDF forces plan – inter alia – to take control of the launch areas from which most of the missiles that have hit Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod in recent weeks and months have been fired from.
The Committee decided that the timing of the plan's implementation would be determined by the security establishment in accordance with its operational judgment; this was determined for this evening (Saturday), 3.1.09.
The Ministerial Committee further instructed the IDF to prepare for additional stages of the operation and to maintain alert in other areas, and, to these ends, to mobilize the necessary reserve forces – tens of thousands of soldiers.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi and Opposition Chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu have been informed of the foregoing.
Source: |Prime Minister's Office|, in Security Cabinet Decision on the Continuation of IDF Operations in the Gaza Strip
And here is Victor Davis Hansen has a piece on the Gaza Rules:
For several prior weeks, Hamas terrorists had been daily launching rockets into Israeli towns that border Gaza. The recent volleys of missiles had insidiously become more frequent — up to 80 a day — and the payloads larger. Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists were reportedly supplying their own training and expertise.
These terrorists point to the Lebanon war of 2006 as the proper template for provoking an Israeli counter-response that will bog down the Israeli Defense Forces in the streets of urban Gaza and ensure that Palestinian civilians are harmed on global television.
Watching both this week’s war and the world’s predictable reaction to it, we can recall the Gaza rules. Most are reflections of our postmodern age, and completely at odds with the past protocols of war.
First is the now-familiar Middle East doctrine of proportionality. Legitimate military action is strangely defined by the relative strength of the combatants. World opinion more vehemently condemns Israel’s countermeasures, apparently because its rockets are far more accurate and deadly than previous Hamas barrages that are poorly targeted and thus not so lethal.
If America had accepted such rules in, say, World War II, then by late 1944 we, not the Axis, would have been the culpable party, since by then once-aggressive German, Italian and Japanese forces were increasingly on the defensive and far less lethal than the Allies.
Second, intent in this war no longer matters. Every Hamas unguided rocket is launched in hopes of hitting an Israeli home and killing men, women and children. Every guided Israeli air-launched missile is targeted at Hamas operatives, who deliberately work in the closest vicinity to women and children.
Killing Palestinian civilians is incidental to Israeli military operations and proves counterproductive to its objectives. Blowing up Israeli non-combatants is the aim of Hamas’ barrages: the more children, aged and women who die, the more it expects political concessions from Tel Aviv.
Source: |IsraPundit|, in The Gaza Rules
And Pamela Geller has this:
The beauty of the whole world grand mal seizing with Jew hatred is ..... it doesn't matter what you do. If you shut off a lightbulb or you carpet bombthe rats' nests it's the same condemnation, so carpet bomb the rats' nests. Of course Olmerde, Barak and Livni do not have the moral courage (or any courage for that matter) to do what must be done.
When I was on the conference call earlier this week, I asked what was the objective of the war - to disarm Hamas or to take take out Hamas? If Hamas's objective is to destroy Israel, disarming is not enough?
The answer was a diplobabble, roundabout - response - disarm Hamas. In order to disarm Hamas, you have to disarm Iran. In order to neutralize Hamas, Hamas must be crushed (and Iran must be disarmed).
If Olmerde/Barak/Livni do not have the courage of their convictions, they have no right to send precious Jewish lives to their death .... for naught.
Source: |Atlas Shrugs|, in GROUND OP: IDF TROOPS IN GAZASTAN
And it appears that Israel will have rare support from the European Union:
(IsraelNN.com) The European Union (EU), whose rotating president is from the Czech Republic, voiced rare support for Israel's ground incursion while United States President George W. Bush said he opposes a "one-sided ceasefire." France opposed the Israeli counterterrorist offensive.
"At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action," said Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik.
Karl Schwarzenberg, the President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council and Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, is scheduled to visit Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority Sunday through Tuesday.
United States President George W. Bush, in his weekly radio address, put the blame for Israel's retaliation squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. "This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas -- a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction," the president declared.
"In response to these attacks on their people, the leaders of Israel have launched military operations on Hamas positions in Gaza. As a part of their strategy, Hamas terrorists often hide within the civilian population."
Source: |Arutz Sheva|, in EU Backs Israel's Ground Invasion, US Opposes 'One-Sided' Truce
I would like to end this post with a wish for God to protect the soldiers of Israel as they go in harm's way to protect the people of Israel.
Here is a prayer for the IDF stolen from David Bogner:
Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighting men from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor. May He lead our enemies under their sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem, your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you. Now let us respond: Amen.