Readers of David’s post on Goldstone Commission member Desmond Travers’ ridiculous assertion — that “the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding” last year’s war in Gaza “was something like two” — could erroneously conclude that Travers was correct about that month; his mistake was in “blithely ignoring the thousands of rockets Israelis endured in the years leading up to the operation.” That was certainly not David’s intention, but to eliminate all doubt, here are the actual figures, as compiled by Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
The war began on December 27, 2008. During 2008 as a whole, the number of rockets and mortar shells launched at Israel from Gaza was 3,278, more than double the number that landed in 2007.
More importantly, however, there was a significant escalation in November and December, 2008, after Hamas withdrew from the truce that had been in place during the previous months. Thus the number of rockets launched from Gaza into Israel totaled 125 in November and 361 in December, compared with only 11 in the four preceding months (July through October) put together. The number of mortars totaled 68 in November and 241 in December, compared with only 15 in the four preceding months put together. The number of rockets and mortars combined totaled 193 in November and 602 in December, compared with only 26 in the four preceding months put together.
Needless to say, these figures are a good deal higher than “something like two.” But the more important fact to be derived from this data is that Hamas could have avoided the war simply by continuing the truce. Instead, it opted for a major escalation in the volume of fire. And it was that escalation that finally provoked Israel into responding, after three and a half years of trying and failing to end the bombardment by methods short of war.