Nine Israelis were killed in the two-week ground offensive in 2009, Operation Cast Lead, compared to well over a thousand Palestinians. The November 2012 airstrikes, Operation Pillar of Defense, resulted in six Israeli deaths compared to 167 Palestinians. But the political impact of rocket attacks is greater than these numbers suggest, particularly when usually safe areas come under fire. In 2012, Hamas’ longer-range rockets targeted both Tel Aviv, causing air raid sirens to sound there for the first time since Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles towards the city during the first Gulf War two decades previously, and Jerusalem, which had not been struck since 1970 . Although no casualties were inflicted, Hamas demonstrated its ability to threaten Israel’s two largest and most important cities. It has done so again in the past week, and additionally promised to target Ben-Gurion International Airport. Although Hamas faces difficulties in importing its most sophisticated rockets, owing to the new Egyptian government’s demolition of key tunnels connecting Gaza with the Sinai Peninsula, Israel’s head of Military Intelligence Analysis estimates that the group has still managed to double its stockpile since the 2012 war, to approximately 10,000 rockets, suggesting that it could sustain attacks for months. Gaza mood darkens as strikes continue Sirens and fear now the norm in Israel Israeli Police: “Iron Dome” successful The Israeli leadership therefore faces twin pressures. On the one hand, as Yadlin suggests, an open-ended campaign of airstrikes that fails to suppress rocket attacks or demonstrate other strategic achievements could meet with increasing public opposition.
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