Crossfire War – Israel PM Olmert ‘We’re at War’ – Helicopter Offensive in Gaza

Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Cairo – Amman – Baghdad – Beirut – Damascus – Ramallah – Gaza/Jerusalem – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Israel PM Olmert Admits “war” Going on Every Day Every Night – Israeli Communities Around Gaza Come Under Constant Rocket – Mortar Attack – Fm Livni – “Israel Will Wage Uncompromising War” – Tehran Writes Palestinians Off to Martyrdom Sacrifices

Night Watch: TEL AVIV – Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted in an extensive speech Thursday what has been saying since March last year, Israel is at war with the Palestinian community, especially units based in the Gaza Strip, due to the constant Qassam rocket and mortar barrages. The Jerusalem Post reports Olmert was admitting this in Tel Aviv, “We are not looking to fight in the Gaza Strip, we do not want to harm its residents and we have no special desire to kill any citizens. But we will not, and we cannot continue to suffer this relentless Qassam rocket fire on citizens of the State of Israel that emanates from there.” This is a grim, resolute confrontation with reality. Olmert continued by referring to the recent engagement earlier this week when Hamas and other militant units lost 20 gunmen, “They absorbed a punch, and this punch is not the last one that they will absorb during this insufferable Qassam rocket fire on the southern Israel. The Jewish State will continue to act with wisdom and with ferociousness, with maximum precision in order to halt all those who want to harm us and without hitting innocent civilians that are becoming victims of extremism, brutality, hate and incitement.” [JPOST]

As Olmert was speaking in Tel Aviv Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Moscow explaining Jerusalem’s position, that the only answer to the Qassam rocket attacks was for Israel to wage an “uncompromising war on terror, which originates from Gaza and not only through dialogue and negotiations.” You can dialogue and negotiate with the ones who are left. What happened in Lebanon and Beirut two years ago, with Israel’s air offensive against Hezbollah and its longer range rockets-missiles, is an example though of course war will resume there when Tehran-Damascus order Hezbollah into action.

Beit Lahiya – Debka reports leading Israel’s “punch” today was a helicopter machine gun assault on the Palestinian militant’s rocket teams in the north Gaza towns of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun. Though it puts rocket teams on the run, it will do nothing against the main bases deep inside the Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza City where there are also the main rocket arsenals. Only a full-scale air – ground offensive can seriously damage them and Jerusalem knows it will mean the loss of a lot of civilian life and displace a major proportion of the population as they flee into Gaza’s open areas, the same people who just celebrated Hamas’ anniversary. [DEBKA]

By Thursday afternoon, every Israeli community around Gaza’s border had come under rocket and mortar attacks, from Sderot to Moshav Zimrat and Kibbutz Nahal Oz as mortar fire from Khan Younis hit Moshav Nir Oz.

Tehran – In the meantime Iran’s government is celebrating its latest achievement, setting up another Islamic community for mass death, what Tehran calls sacrifices, by having President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad call the Head of Hamas Political Office Khaled Maashal in Damascus congratulating him. Ahmadinejad stated Maashal and the Palestinians are ready to experience the coming hardships-war, honorably and successfully. I doubt if the President added this is to satisfy the bloodletting, self-flagellation ritual of the Shi’tes, the death worship in the name of Allah, to satisfy the blood red bull with a man’s face, one of the demonic deities of Persia Shi’ism. It explains the voraciousness of Tehran’s foreign policy that you see sometimes in the expression of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Tehran expects all those who have received massive financing and weapons support for years, as have Hamas-Hezbollah, to share the same sense of devotion-death, but not entirely suicidal. It is understood you take a lot of the enemy with you and to Tehran, which is not just Israel, but also a lot of the world around them. [IRNA]

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.