Israel crisis: Why it's different this time around

Israel crisis: Why is it different this time around?

The volume and intensity of Hamas attacks has added a new twist to an old and violent story: Fox’s Amy Kellogg has the latest

YEHUD, Israel – It was a night of terror for people from Jerusalem to Gaza, including people not necessarily involved in politics who had no way of knowing who would be safe, who might be spared.

When Hamas delivered an ultimatum to the Israelis to stop their strikes on high-rise buildings at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Israel ignored it.

Hamas made good on its threat to hit the heart of Israel, sending rockets raining on Tel Aviv, yet another serious escalation in this hot conflict. Dozens of rockets headed toward Israel’s most vibrant city. Three people in neighboring communities were killed. Two of them, a father and his daughter, happened to be Arab.

A visit to a middle-class neighborhood where Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is located gave a sense Wednesday morning of the randomness and violence of these attacks. The house of middle-aged engineer Elisha Golan and his family were destroyed overnight, hit by a powerful rocket at 3:15 a.m. 

Physically unharmed, Golan came back to survey the damage and see if there was anything he could salvage.

“We heard a huge ‘boom’ over our head. The whole shelter shook like crazy. My partner said ‘OK, the house is gone,’” he recounted.

(Yonat Friling)

He said he felt very lucky to be alive. If it hadn’t been for the bomb shelter in his house, he wouldn’t be.

If he hadn’t run when the sirens went off, following well-known instructions here, he and his family probably wouldn’t have been around to tell their story.

“The shelter was filled with dust, smoke,” he said. “We opened the door and the basement was filled with dust. We couldn’t see anything.”

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus said this onslaught by Hamas has been more ferocious this time.

“Unfortunately, Hamas under international support, I’d say, has been able to stockpile weapons into the Gaza Strip and also to manufacture weapons by themselves homemade inside Gaza using a lot of financial aid from Iran and Iranian knowledge,” Conricus said.

Zaki Chehab, author of the book “Inside Hamas,” said the militant organization has indeed come a long way in recent years in terms of capability.

“They’ve invested heavily. They’ve got trained people. They have facilities, technology, the minds and brains to do that,” he told Fox News. “Hamas and the Islamists — they were the first to rely on new media and the internet. They don’t have to go through borders so they can be checked and searched. It’s easy to check email and you’ve got instructions.”

The volume and intensity of Hamas rocket attacks has been a new twist to an old and violent story.

But so has this. The Arab youth of Israel — those living not in the Palestinian territories but within Israel — has started rising up in frustration.

“It’s the inequalities, the unequal rule for Palestinians versus the Jewish population. It is nonsense,” explained Chehab, who said the world will be hearing a lot more from the young generation of Arabs living in Israel. 

There have been numerous demonstrations that have spiraled into violence with provocation on both sides — not a development the Israeli government is welcoming and it is not clear where it will end.

Yonat Friling contributed to this report.

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