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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Israel's insecurity cabinet: More of the same in Gaza

Israel's insecurity cabinet met this morning and once again rejected IDF plans to retake the Gaza Strip and decided to continue with more of the same operations that have proved ineffective until now. The following are the clauses of the cabinet decision:
# Continue the operational activity in the Gaza Strip in launching sites of high-trajectory fire in the Gaza Strip, according to a model presented to the cabinet by the IDF chief of staff.
# Continue to thwart the high-trajectory fire lineup against the activists, the knowledge, the production, the storage and the fire.
# Targeted killings of elements involved in practice in carrying out terror attacks.
# Operational activity against Hamas institutions in the Gaza Strip. The targets will be approved by the prime minister and defense minister.
# Continue the diplomatic effort in the face of the strengthening of terror in the Gaza Strip, while cooperating with Egypt and the international community in order to foil smuggling of weapons for transfer of knowledge and resources into the Gaza Strip.
# Continue the defense establishment's operational activity against weapon smuggling.
# The defense establishment has been instructed to prepare and present a plan for a broader operation, which will be presented and submitted for the cabinet's approval.
Even Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, who has called for re-taking the Gaza Strip, was satisfied with the decisions:
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter was satisfied with the discussion at the national security cabinet, and said during the cabinet meeting that the IDF must provide a detailed plan for preventative action.

"There are things to do, we just need a military plan which will be approved by the political echelon. We must not give in to the Qassam terror and the strengthening of Hamas. The army is capable of providing an action plan," he said.
But the JPost characterizes what's under consideration as being a 'Defensive Shield'-like operation (what was done in 2002 in Samaria, and that would not be a permanent re-taking):
Fearing a further escalation in Kassam rocket fire, the defense establishment has begun putting the finishing touches on plans to launch a massive Defensive Shield-like operation into the Gaza Strip.

Doubtful that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will succeed in convincing terror factions to accept a cease-fire, defense officials are seriously considering reoccupying the Gaza Strip in an effort to stop Kassam rocket attacks. "We are not left with many options," a high-ranking defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "What we know can work at stopping the Kassams is a major operation and the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip."

The plans that have been drawn up for the major operation in the Gaza Strip include the calling up of reserve units, as well as the possibility of implementing military rule of law in the Palestinian territory.
But those are the IDF's plans and those apparently have been drawn up and rejected. It doesn't seem like the insecurity cabinet is willing to adopt them. Note also that once Defensive Shield was adopted it only took 24 hours to implement. I cannot see this cabinet doing anything in 24 hours.

The JPost notes that those in favor of re-taking the Gaza Strip are Dichter and new minister Avigdor Lieberman (whom I actually saw in a Jerusalem hotel on Monday). Those opposed are Olmert and Peres. Peretz is probably opposed as well, but the Post doesn't say.

Haaretz reports that Peretz "would like to avoid a long-term presence in Gaza, and therefore instructed the IDF to come up with 'creative solutions.'" What's worse, Haaretz notes that
A political source said proposals for an international force in Gaza are "worth studying," as "only a diplomatic agreement ended the Katyusha fire from Lebanon."
The last thing we need is another Resolution 1701, which would in effect give Hamas what Hezbullah has - a meaningless 'hudna' with time to rearm.

For those who have not picked it up yet, the government is continuing last summer's pattern from Lebanon: it is unable to make a decision and therefore it continues to reject good proposals and ask for new ones. In Lebanon, this led to the army postponing a ground invasion until it was almost too late, and then sending in the ground troops knowing that they would be forced to stop within forty-eight hours. This behavior is typical of an inexperienced government that cannot decide what it wants. This government only knows what it doesn't want - to retake the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, retaking the Gaza Strip is the only thing that will put a stop to the Kassam fire and the weapons smuggling.

At least four more rockets hit Sderot this morning, one landing right outside a school just before school started. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured this time although several people had to be treated for shock. Olmert, Peretz and Livni continue to fiddle. Halutz tries to cover his tail. And Israel continues to burn.


At 1:29 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

You don't need to take Gaza.

Just flatten it.

A little at a time.

Lop off 100 or 200 meters after every attack. 50 Km / 200m = 250 days to flatten all of Gaza.


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