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04 January 2009

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Ed

What you may be missing is that the operation on needs to last long enough to get Barak and Livni elected.

Alex

I entirely agree that it very hard to see where all this is going. Long-term occupation is hardly in Israel's interests.

The only point I think is that it is clear to my mind that the operation has been carefully prepared.When Haaretz said six months, I can believe it.

One would have thought Israel must have a plan prepared of where they want to be, even if we haven't yet figured out what it is.

Their war-plan hasn't been derailed yet, I think.

jr786

A lot depends on how much the zionists have managed to corrupt Hamas through their use of collaborators, mostly people with relatives under the hammer in zionist jails. A large part of Hezbollah's success is due to its ability to weed out traitors and block zionist access to its defensive schemes.

That will be tougher for Hamas since it is probably riddled with informers. It will take mujahadeen from other formations, Islamic Jihad for sure, to carry the fight.

I think a lot also depends on the pressure brought to bear on the Rafah crossing point, both literally and figuratively. The zionist invasion was probably timed to an actuarial tee, although disgust with them seems to have reached the boil faster than it did in Lebanon.

It is especially encouraging to see poll numbers showing 41% of Americans opposed to the invasion, this despite a total filtering of anything even remotely sympathetic to Palestina.

If Americans could see a tiny part of the images we see, i believe that the essential American values of fair play and decency would carry the day.

DaveGood

Colonel.

Don't tease the rest of us with Rhetorical questions you already know the answer too.

What's happening in Gaza right now is driven by tactical politics, not National Strategy.

DaveGood

Joerg

"One would have thought Israel must have a plan prepared of where they want to be, even if we haven't yet figured out what it is."

I have to cynically disagree. There is fierce tension between Kadima and Barak, and it seems entirely possible that military objectives have already been changed around on account of the military campaign and the election campaign becoming indistinguishable from each other.

R Whitman

The entire news flow to the outside world is dictated by the Israeli Military censors. Even Al-jazeera/english has little information on what really is happening inside Gaza. Last march Checkpoint Jerusalem published the Israeli military censorship rules verbatim.

Remember Lebanon in 2006. Accoring to the western media Israel was winning up until the 34th day when they lost.

Jose

1982, Israel invaded Lebanon to permanently defeat the PLO and they were successful.

However, the invasion created Hizzbullah which is 2-0 versus the Israelis.

Lesson to learn: Artillery will always beat Mortars, but you have to live with the consequences of your actions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezzbollah


JohnH

It's hard to see how this operation benefits Barak and Livni's election quest. Yes, Barak has gained in the polls--momentarily.

But as the operation drags on, malaise is likely to set in quickly (as in the Lebanon 2006 venture) as the Israeli electorate realizes that concrete, lasting results are nothing more than a mirage. People are likely to start kvetching about Barak and Livni's utter cynicism and the utter senselessness of it all, particularly as more and more families get dragged into ground operations.

Negotiating a cease fire before the elctions will prove equally catastrophic for Barak and Livni, tantamount to an admission of failure, since they will be unlikely to get more security than the status quo ante.

It's best for Barak, Livni, and Olmert to declare victory and look for secluded places to take their pensions.

GSD

Turkish President Erdogan wonders why the world isn't rallying behind tiny, weak Gaza as it is attack by massive and well armed Israel in the same manner they got behind tiny, weak Georgia amid an assault from massive and well armed Russia.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=34337

-GSD

optimax

This is a horrific video of the aftermath of an Israeli bomb hitting a marketplace in Gaza. I can understand if you don't post it, P.L. It is a trauma to the soul to watch, but I think we need to see what is really going on and why the Muslims hate the U.S. for supporting Isreal. Atrocities on both sides make it impossible for peace in the M.E.

http://buzznewsroom.com/video/banned-from-youtube-israel-defense-forces-attack-on-gaza-civilian-market/

FB Ali

What Barak and Livni appear to be trying to achieve is a repeat of the endgame in Lebanon:
· Occupy northern Gaza
· In response to the international outcry for a ceasefire and withdrawal, say you will only hand over to an international force which will police and pacify the border
· Have Abbas accept such a force “on behalf of the Gazans”.

Voila, no more rockets, general rejoicing, jubilation and adulation, a sweet election victory, live happily ever after.

What will detonate this pipedream is the inconvenient fact that the Lebanese government’s acceptance of the UN force was irrelevant; what mattered was Hizbullah’s agreement. Abbas’s position is equally irrelevant. Hamas, because of their differing circumstances, will not accept any international force. Without their agreement, no such force is likely to materialize, and if some countries are foolhardy enough to send in troops, Hamas will make their stay short and very unpleasant.

Israel had probably hoped that, by targeting and destroying Hamas’s governmental and police structure, it would enable Fatah to take over Gaza (no doubt their Fatah collaborators would have fed them bold claims). Hamas is conserving its power (as evident by its initial reaction to the Israeli ground invasion) and is obviously prepared for a long struggle – against Israel, an international force or any Fatah imposition.

The result of all this is probably going to be Netanyahu – and deep trouble for everyone else. Barack Obama is going to face his first test by fire sooner than he had expected.

bennycasino

It was mentioned on another blog that maybe the use of the new GBU-39 munitions recently received from the US, smaller bunker busting bombs, may be a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran. It makes some sense since the stated reasons for the Israeli invasion don't seem to hold water, as you noted.

Ormolov

Something we acknowledge without thoroughly dissecting is the role of the changing US Administrations. Hamas and Israeli leaders performed a very particular calculus on our domestic political situation. The timing of the conflict, on both sides, has as much to do with the loss of the most permissive administration regarding the Palestine issue as it does any other single issue. Many argue that Obama will not and cannot change course in Palestine. They point to Rahm Emanuel and HRC as dyed-in-the-wool defenders of Zion as proof that Obama will do nothing different.

Then why now? Why are they fighting this war (from the U.S. point of view)? The election of Livni and Barak? The IDF would have their hands free during the waning days of Bush's last term so might as well go for it. Okay. Reasonable. But why would Hamas provoke the war now, when the outcome from Israel's largest political patron is certain? From a Hamas perspective, isn't waiting for Obama better political strategy? If nothing else, the (more--not much but a little) divided Democrat Admin. would make it harder for Israel to do all it wanted to do without outside pressure.

Or did Israel just squeeze Hamas on this timetable till they burst? There may be internal domestic reasons Hamas chose this fight now, but someone better informed in the events of Palestine would have to tell me what they are. Please?

mo

Kosovans want a state they have no real historical right to?

International response:
By all means!

Russians want to put down some petty local upstarts in using massively superior firepower?
International response:
Outcry and indignation and talk of third world war!

Now replace Kosovans with Palestinians and Russians with Israelis and simply swap the international response.

The Arabs or at least the Arab street need the likes of Nasrallah to stop beating about the bush(pardon the pun). They need to be told that allowing their potentates to stay in power makes them the biggest conspirators against the Palestinians.

Usually, I am a rational contributor. Even in '06 I was rational but that was because we had a fighting chance.

The Gazans have no chance, no protection, no justice.

If I was honest about how angry I am, I would most likely be asked not to post here again.

But if this "war" has done this to me, what has it done to the desperate and embittered youth in Palestine? How many have seen this as the straw that pushes them to "sign up"? By God I hope its thousands.

Ingolf

Excellent comment, Furrukh.

The Israeli leadership seems to have fallen captive to a fundamentally delusional worldview. Or perhaps they are so existentially exhausted and internally divided that truly fresh initiatives are simply impossible. Whatever the case, although most of their policies have repeatedly failed (indeed not only failed but also worsened their strategic position) their only response seems to be to adopt broadly the same tactics.

As far as I can see, they now risk generating lasting worldwide revulsion. Certainly, I struggle to see how this can end any way but disastrously from the Israeli point of view. In the midst of their terrible suffering, there is at least the slight possibility of upside for the Palestinians.

Lord, what a mess.

castellio

In response to Ormolov... what do you mean Hamas provoked them now? The truce was broken November 4th by the Israeli's. The Hamas truce had, in large part, held.

Dave of Maryland

The longer a war goes on, the more certain & the more numerous are the unforeseen consequences. WWI was supposed to be 30 days. The second Gulf War was supposed to be 30 days. Wars are so often sold as brief affairs, they are so often not. I can't imagine Israel dragging this out past the end of the month, regardless of motive, outcome or consequence.

Hosni Mubarak is 80 years old - 4 May 1928. He must have many potential successors, all eager.

J

Gaza under Israeli 'control' is for all intents and purposes now a 'prison camp under siege'.

Patrick Lang

majii

I want to make sure that you understand that I do not think it is possible for the Israelis to "succeed."

Mo

Blast away. pl

Charles I

Mo and Ingolf,I'm with you. This kind of emotional revulsion is obviously required to get us comfy westerners off our asses and onto our politicians.

A former armchair warrior, with juvenile fantasies of being a katsa to Israel have now been displaced by fantasies that Israel will so outrage public opinion that it will invaded, disarmed and forced to make peace before it is attacked and destroyed completely.

Of course, that's a complete fantasy, unless we force our governments to oppose Israeli actions in order to secure its future, which is my rational, charitable, fantasy. During these attacks, I just wish someone would drop a bomb on the damn country and destroy it - after which I pray for calm and forgiveness.

So the best course of action for me is to write every politician I can - hard mail, not email, and carry an informed discussion to my apathetic friends and colleagues, in hopes of turning them against Israel and its supporters, one of the biggest ones being our own flathead Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Sadly, flatheads are impervious to fact, argument, reason and anybody else's blood. Ergo, they must be resolutely discredited, hounded for ceasefires and removal of arms, money and legitimacy from Israel by the only force they are susceptible to - removal from office.

Sgt.York

RE; "purpose of its war with Hamas is... the ending of rocket and mortar fIre into Israel"

That's ridiculous. These home-made unguided missiles are just pipes filled with fertilizer-based explosives. They are simply designed to go up and over the prison-fence surrounding Gaza. In 2006, the Israeli Ministry of Defense viewed the Qassams as "more a psychological than physical threat." But now apparently they are a grave danger to the very survival of the Jewish State. Recently, I heard that the new goal is to go after the dreaded rocket launchers (see link below). This is beyond ridiculous. The Israelis could Grozny every city and the next morning a couple of guys could assemble a Qassam in the rubble and launch it by noon.

Photo of Qassam missiles:
http://tinyurl.com/7gwgw9

Photo of rocket launchers:
http://tinyurl.com/9yd45g


dan

Bennycasino

Yes. Iran is just like Gaza - a mere 2-5 minutes flight-time from Israeli airbases, with no airforce, no air defence or radar systems, no strategic depth, no industrial base, no world-class strategic advantages and suffering under a permanent economic blockade which has prevented any and all export activities for years, enforced by Israeli tanks, aircraft and naval assets whilst suffering regular military assaults, and the ongoing desruction of its public infrastructure over many many years. Yes, Iran is just like Gaza, just like Lebanon, just like Afghanistan, just like Georgia, and just like Iraq.

Ken Roberts

Today attended a fundraiser for Gaza humanitarian relief. 1000 people present, $500k raised. The question was asked a while back whether the conflict was morphing from being seen as an Israeli-Arab one to an Israeli-Muslim one. From the donor population observed, I think that may be so, and as well, going by my own and others' participation, maybe it is also morphing to become an Israeli-Christian conflict.

It is hard to imagine that the Israeli PR calculus is so foolish. So there must be an act 2 and act 3 in the script. We are presently only watching act 1 scene 2. Still it is always the priviledge of the audience to boo; we do not have to watch it all to know that a script is trash.

boindub

A member of the ruling party in Parliament in Ireland calls for the country to expel the Israeli ambassador in a letter in the Irish Times to-day. A very reasoned argument is given. Discussions lose their usefulness
Is your politition brave enough to call a spade a apade or say a murder in gaza is murder or say the perpetrators are nazis ? No?
That says it all.

Jon T.

An 'eight step away' consequence to Gaza, Round x(n): let me, or someone better 'connected', speak with the Boyz and Girlz in the Downtown War Zones and out in the Rural Poverty Zones in America, the ones who did not vote, the ones whose Aunties and Grandmas and Cousins elected Mr. Obama. Educate them as to just how hogtied Mr. Obama appears to be with this timing and see how angry they get - that is if they will stop with the sports and meth and crack cocaine and pornography addictions long enough to be a force.

AIPAC, or Livni, or R. Perle, or whomsoever orchestrated this Lame Duck Gaza Strategy forgot those people, again. When will those boyz and girlz remember themselves and say, Umm excuse me could you send the IDF over here? We want to talk with them. Yeah, they got them big fast planes, adn all them tanks and rough tough training killer Shinbet and Mossad. You think we don't match up one on one? Think again. We be angry now that you run our banks and tvs. So we gonna talk.

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