Reacting to the weekend surprise attack, and a body count that has topped 1,000 Israelis, people interviewed by AFN say they support the Israeli government formally declaring war against Hamas and vowing to find and kill its fighters in the streets of Gaza.
David Rubin, an American-born Israeli citizen, says he can “guarantee” Hamas is going to experience a war unlike anything they have ever seen.
“Israel always comes back,” he says, “when attacked in such a brutal and unexpected way."
Gaza, home to approximately 2 million Palestinians, is similar in size to U.S cities Detroit and Chicago. It is surrounded by Israel to the north and west. Gaza also shares a border with Egypt to the south, where civilians are now attempting to flee a ground war expected to commence in coming days.
Gaza was under Egypt’s control until 1967 when Israel seized control of it during the Six-Day War.
Gaza is currently under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the political group Fatah, but Hamas has day-to-day control of Gaza after winning elections in 2007 and defeating Fatah in a brief civil war.
'We are fighting barbarians'
After the weekend of surprise attacks by Hamas, IDF soldiers have fought and killed Hamas soldiers and secured the communities where they had massacred unarmed civilians in their cars and in bomb shelters, and even beheaded babies at a kibbutz located near the Gaza border.
On Monday, Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant ordered what he called a “complete siege” of Gaza that would cut off electricity, food, water, and fuel to the Palestinians living there.
“We are fighting barbarians and will respond accordingly,” Gallant vowed.
In an interview with AFN, vocal Israel supporter Jan Markell says a looming war for control of Gaza has been “boiling” for many years. She goes back to 2005, when Israel surrendered control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo Accords brokered by President Bill Clinton.
“They should have kept the land back in 2005,” Markell says of Israel’s government. “But when you appease terrorists, this is what you get.”
Frank Gaffney, who leads the Center for Security Policy, has also watched Israel’s ongoing fight with Jew-hating Islamic radicals for years. Now that the IDF has pushed back Hamas into Gaza, he warns Israel must “act decisively” to crush Hamas or risk the coming war unravel into a wider regional conflict.
“And the only hope for preventing that, I think, is to behave decisively and nip it in the bud,” Gaffney says.