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Friday, October 26, 2007

Why Israel hasn't invaded Gaza

Haaretz has an interesting analysis from two of its saner writers about why Israel has not invaded Gaza yet. The analysis claims that yesterday's decision to cut back on the supply of electricity to the Strip (among other things) represents an effort to give the Gazans one last chance to stave off an invasion, and to set the stage for cutting Israel's ties to the Strip altogether - something a lot of people thought we were doing when the Sharon-Olmert-Mofaz government expelled all the Jews from Gaza in 2005.

But the prognosis for an invasion of Gaza ought to give pause to everyone.
Like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Barak is not excited about this possibility. He knows that it will not be easy, and there are no guarantees for positive results. Many soldiers will be killed and so will many innocent Palestinians, because the IDF will employ a massive artillery bombardment before it sends infantry into the crowded built-up areas. This will be a "dirty war," very aggressive, that will have scenes of destruction similar to southern Lebanon in 2006. The sole exception: unlike in Lebanon, the population there has nowhere to run.
What's missing here is air power. I know the answer to the rhetorical question as to why Israel won't hit the 'Palestinians' more from the air: There would be more civilian casualties. But it's wrong to risk more Israeli lives to save those who are harboring terrorists. The average Gazan is as hostile to Israel as those firing the rockets. Recall this incident:
On Friday morning, Al Aqsa Radio, the local Hamas station, broadcast appeals to women to come to the rescue of the trapped gunmen. Hundreds responded, many of them Hamas supporters dressed in long robes and headscarves. The women marched toward the mosque, coming under Israeli fire at times, and approached armored personnel carriers and bulldozers stationed near the mosque.

Two women, both age 40, were shot dead, and at least 10 others were wounded, hospital officials said.

The IDF said that it suspected that some Palestinian gunmen had dressed up as women in order to foil the army's attempts to enter the mosque. [Imagine that - the 'Palestinians' used a 'holy mosque' as a battle ground. CiJ]

During the battle, the roof of one of the structure's rooms reportedly collapsed, and there were dead and wounded inside.Witnesses reported that IDF bulldozers tore down one of the mosque's walls and that soldiers then used tear gas and fired stun grenades in an effort to force the gunmen out.

Maj. Avital Leibovich said Hamas was exploiting women. "They were using those poor women as human shields," she said. "This is a clear example of use of innocent population for terror."

The army said the gunmen inside the mosque were able to take advantage of the demonstration to escape because there weren't enough infantrymen to block the protesters from approaching the building, and troops didn't want to shoot into the crowd.

The army said troops spotted two militants hiding in the crowd of women and opened fire, hitting the two.

As the women rushed away from the scene, at least two men disguised in women's clothes were seen in the crowd. Jubilant bystanders embraced them, celebrating their escape
In May, I wrote a lengthy post explaining why Israel's response to the Kassam phenomenon must be disproportionate. I stand by that post (those who have forgotten it should re-read it since I am not going to reproduce it here). And I firmly believe that minimizing casualties to Israel's civilians and troops must come before trying to spare 'Palestinian civilians' who are all too happy to shield the terrorists in the first place. Many of the 'Palestinian civilians' are actually combatants:
Such is Israel’s moral ignorance, weakness, and virtual bankruptcy. Humanity seems to have hit a new low with this. The Palestinians are using the Israelis’ well-known dedication to high principles and moral ideals against them. As one military spokesman foolishly put it, “We differentiate between innocent people and terrorists.”

The problem is those innocent people are acting completely in concert with the jihadis and support them utterly. They’re hardly innocent. They have made themselves into combatants.
Unfortunately, the IDF isn't going to be allowed to fight in Gaza as if the 'Palestinian civilians' were combatants, so let's move on and at least see the positive part of this situation.
Moreover, Ashkenazi has told the cabinet that he will only support an offensive operation if it is long-lasting. If after several weeks of fighting, the IDF is allowed time to carry out arrests and gather intelligence, then the chief of staff sees a point for the operation.
In other words, he's not willing to do what his predecessor did in Lebanon in the summer of 2006: sacrifice about one hundred soldiers for a 48-hour mad dash to the Litani River only to turn around immediately and give it up. He's right about that.

As to whether the 'sanctions' (of cutting electricity and gasoline deliveries and allowing fewer trucks into Gaza each day) will be effective, no one here believes that:
Defense sources say the sanctions will lead the militants to intensify their attacks to show that they do not succumb to Israeli pressure. And because the sanctions will not be severe - so as not to create a humanitarian crisis - they will not be effective. It is actually expected that the gasoline shortage will have a greater effect than the disruptions in the electricity supply - which normally happens because of equipment breakdowns.
Too bad Tel Aviv with its Ashkenazi middle and upper class population isn't a kilometer away from the Gaza Strip instead of poor, Sephardi Sderot. If Tel Aviv were next to the Gaza Strip, the Strip would have been retaken in the fall of 2005 - or it may never have been given up at all.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger VinceP1974 said...

How can it be that our two countries (USA . Israel) can be led by peopel who are so utterly clueless and cowardly.

Gaza is about one half the size of the city of Chicago.. it could be cleared out in one day

i cant stand this anymore.


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