In its story on the death of Al-Jaabari, the Palestinian newspaper Ma'an, reported:
"The military leader (pictured here) survived several Israeli targeted assassination attempts and was lightly injured in one of the attempts in 2004. His eldest son Muhammad, was killed in that attack, along with his brother and three other relatives when Israeli helicopters targeted al-Jaabari's home in Shujaiyya. Al-Jaabari gained particular prominence for his role in capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was seized in a cross-border operation by three Palestinian factions in 2006."
Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber is the nom de plume of an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor who divides his time between Israel and the US. On his blog, Haber wrote:
"It has been clear for over a year that Israel would wait until after the American elections to launch some act of military aggression, and it was clear, to me, at least, that it would not be directed against Iran, Syria, or Lebanon. It seems likely that Israel had decided to conduct an operation in Gaza before the first rocket was fired from Gaza.- Advertisement -
"All military actions, indeed, all actions having to do with Gaza, have one goal in mind: the subjugation of the Palestinian people there with minimum cost to Israel. In hasbara speak this is called 'protecting Israelis,' 'defeating terror,' 'defending national security,' even 'protecting national honor,' but it boils down to the same thing -- Israel cannot be secure if the Palestinians have real independence."
The ending of this assault will depend on a decision by Israel's Prime Minister, the same leader who determined when it would begin.
Netanyahu may have misjudged Egypt's reaction to "Pillar of Cloud." By Friday, November 16, Egypt had sent its Prime Minister, Hesham Kandil into Gaza. Kandil met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and visited wounded Palestinians at a hospital.
The Egyptian prime minister told reporters in Gaza that Egypt would "save nothing to stop the aggression and achieve a continuous ceasefire on the way to having a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
During Israel's 2008 invasion, Time magazine's Tony Karon wrote this week, then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak served "as the wall at Hamas' back in Gaza, tacitly supporting Israel's efforts to break the grip of a movement aligned with his own Muslim Brotherhood nemesis."
Today, Mubarak no longer leads Egypt.
Instead, Karon notes, Egypt "is governed by leaders from Hamas' parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and is far more responsive to Egyptian public opinion which is innately hostile to Israeli military action in Gaza. He adds, in his column for Time earlier this week:
"Responding to the strikes, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party demanded 'swift Arab and international action' to stop the Israeli attacks, warning that Israel to 'take into account the changes in the Arab region and especially Egypt,' vowing that the new Egyptian government 'will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past.'"
Israel's parliamentary election, January 22, will determine if Benjamin Netanyahu continues as prime minister. If things do not go well for Israel in this military endeavor, the voters might turn against their war-obsessed leader.
The Arab Spring continues to have a ripple effect that has already toppled several Arab leaders. Will it bring down Netanyahu? Probably not, since Israeli voters have been traumatized by their leaders into believing Netanyahu is their only hope.
Meanwhile outside of Israel, the mantra, "Israel has a right to defend itself," no longer has the cache Netanyahu thinks it has. World opinion is shifting, slowly, to be sure, but how many more Gaza deaths will the outside world tolerate? Exodus 14:19-20 does not guarantee that the "Pillar of Cloud" will always defend the Israelites against the Egyptians.
In the picture at the top, a Palestinian ambulance worker carries a wounded man after an Israeli air raid. The photo is from Ma'an. It is one of a series of pictures by Reuters photographers Ahmed Zakot, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Mohammed Salem and Ali Hassan.