As readers realize, the military confrontation between Hamas and the Israelis is rapidly escalating. However, this event is happening in the context of a growing Israeli-Iranian confrontation. In listening minutes ago to news coverage on FOX News, CNN and MSNBC, it is apparent that events are escalating so quickly that their websites cannot keep up with what is being reported on the live media (see the first link and second link for reasonably current media reports on the escalation of the conflict).
On these three networks, minutes ago it was reported that after Tel Aviv was targeted for a second day the Jerusalem metro area was also targeted by Hamas’ long-range missiles. As a result, the Israelis are now calling up 75,000 reservists for a ground war in Gaza. Such a large call-up indicates that the Israelis may be serious about ending the rocket threats “once and for all” with a “shock and awe” military campaign of their own. Initial website reports were that the Israelis were calling up 16,000 or 30,000 reservists, but that call-up has now more than doubled. I think one reason is that with Egypt sending a top-level government minister to support Hamas and making noises like it stands with Hamas in this confrontation, the Israelis must also prepare for the possibility of a war with Egypt as well if the current radical Islamic regime ruling Egypt breaks the longstanding Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Given the exchanges of military fire with Syrian forces in the Golan region (see previous posts), the Israelis also have to be prepared for a wider war with Syria so all eventualities must be considered.
How did this start? The reason is clear. Hamas wants to eliminate the Israeli nation, and they have been firing thousands of rockets at Israeli targets in recent years. Finally they launched a wave of over a hundred rocket attacks in a short time, and the Israelis had to respond. They killed a top Hamas commander in an airstrike and attacked the rocket-launching infrastructure of Hamas in Gaza. Hamas has reacted by dramatically increasing the number of rockets fired at Israeli targets. This has been matched by an increase in Israeli airstrikes on targets in Gaza. To gain an appreciation of what Israeli citizens are living with under this rocket barrage from Hamas, please watch the videos in the third link and fourth link. One is a short videoclip, but the other is an entire Israeli nightly-news program in English. In these videos, you will see that the Israelis are increasingly a nation at war and preparing for a larger war forced upon them. In the news program, you will see a map which shows Israelis near Gaza have but 15-60 seconds to find an emergency shelter once they hear the air raid sirens.
Calling the shots behind the scenes is likely the nation of Iran. Hamas is now attacking Israel with Iranian-made Fajr missiles so Hamas clearly received these missiles from Iran. I learned on a cable news network today that the Israelis last month destroyed in Sudan an Iranian-sponsored, missile-making factory that was supplying missiles from Iran to Hamas. Israel has been silent about the attack, and few internet links about that attack are available (one is included as the fifth link). Remember the mysterious RPV that was shot down by Israeli warplanes not long ago as it headed toward the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona? That was likely orchestrated by Iran. The wave of new attacks by Hamas against Israel was also likely called for by the Iranian leaders. I think they are probing the Israelis to test their capabilities and their will to resist. I am somewhat surprised that Hamas fired a missile toward Jerusalem. What if they had hit the Dome of the Rock with a misguided Islamic missile?
Iran also very likely wants to have a large-scale test of the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile defense system to see how effective it is. It is now seeing it in action against the incoming Hamas missiles. Reports are that the Iron Dome system is shooting down a large percentage of the rockets, but not a majority of them. I do not think the Israelis are choosing to shoot at every incoming missile. The Iron Dome system almost instantaneously calculates an incoming missile’s trajectory, so the Iron Dome software can be programmed to quickly make a decision about whether an incoming missile threatens any vulnerable Israeli target. The incoming missiles can, no doubt, be “triaged” as to their threat status and the system can decide to fire only on those missiles which are judged to be a serious threat to harm something. If the system can determine that a missile will explode harmlessly in the desert, it would make sense not to fire on it with a defensive missile to “save ammo.” The Israelis are very much in the same situation that Londoners were in during the V-1 Nazi buzz-bomb attacks of World War II. Even as the Nazi V-1s were not precisely guided, neither are the vast majority of the Hamas missiles. They are liable to land anywhere, which actually increases the terror of the target population. Just as the Allies tried to locate and bomb the Nazi V-1 missile bases, the Israelis are doing the same thing in trying to locate and bomb the Hamas rocket facilities. Iran is surely closely watching the performance of the Israeli Iron Dome system to look for weaknesses to exploit. Iran is, I think, willing to use Hamas as a disposable pawn to gain information on the Iron Dome system so it can use that information to make a rocket barrage by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border more effective.
Egypt is now a huge wild-card. Under Mubarak, it was a predictable and stabilizing influence in the region. Now that the disastrous “Arab Spring” has placed a member of the Islamic Brotherhood in power in Egypt, Egypt is neither stabilizing nor predictable. I’m sure that behind the scenes, Israel has told Egypt’s new leadership that if Egypt breaks its peace treaty with Israel and attacks Israel in any way, Israel will take off all its gloves and hit Egypt so hard the entire nation will mourn the Moslem Brotherhood ever coming to power. Egypt’s Suez Canal could quickly be destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. This would cripple world trade, so this possibility is a huge motivation for other nations to pressure Egypt to stay out of this war. The Israelis could also hit the Aswan Dam with bunker buster bombs, causing a river tsunami to race down the entire Nile Valley all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The devastation would likely cripple Egypt for decades. If Egypt chooses to fight the Israelis (“Judah” in biblical terms), Isaiah 19:16-17 may find a fulfillment. Personally, I think enough Egyptian generals are smart enough to convince Egypt’s radical Islamic leader not to sacrifice Egypt for Iran’s schemes, but one cannot know for sure. 
The stakes are high and getting higher in the Mideast. One thing I’m sure of: I’ll bet Iran is entirely willing to fight Israel…to the last Egyptian, Hezbollah soldier, Palestinian and Syrian. Iran is happy to let all its puppets and proxies do the fighting and dying for Iran’s gambit. However, the Israelis know Iran is orchestrating its puppets on Israel’s borders. If a large war erupts, I don’t think the Israelis will allow Iran to go unscathed. That would be the perfect time to launch an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. If Hezbollah launches perhaps 50,000 missiles at Israel and does major damage to Israeli cities, I think any Israeli strike vs. Iran would also hit Iranian cities, not just their nuclear plants.