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Friday, October 26, 2007

Do we know what the Gaza sanctions are all about?

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/do-we-know-what-gaza-sanctions-are-all.html

This Haaretz article claims that the real intent behind Israeli sanctions imposed on Gaza may not be what it seems. The Ha'aretz article doesn't quite say what the aims really are, but it gives some hints:
 
In practice, defense officials believe that the Palestinian militants will intensify their attacks in response to the sanctions
 
As such, the real aim of this effort is twofold: to attempt a new form of "escalation" as a response to aggression from Gaza, before Israel embarks on a major military operation there; and to prepare the ground for a more clear-cut isolation of the Gaza Strip - limiting to an absolute minimum Israel's obligation toward the Palestinians there.
....
 
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
The implication that some people would read into this, is that Israel is trying to get a strong response from the Palestinians - strong enough to justify an invasion of Gaza. That may or may not be what Ha'aretz is saying, but they didn't quite say it, as you will see below. What they did say:
 
Several weeks ago, Barak said Israel "is getting closer" to a major operation in the strip. 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.

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.
Does this add up to saying that Israel is engineering a war? Or is there an alternative explanation: Within the defense establishment, there are those who favor the sanctions and those who are opposed. The "defense sources" quoted above are those who are opposed to the sanctions, and they stated their opinion that the sanctions will be ineffective. The full text is below, make of it what you will. Certainly, by publishing a story like this, to feed the rumor mills of the Middle East, Ha'aretz is undermining any future Israeli operation against Gaza, b implying that it was engineered. The flaw in the idea is that if Israel wants to increase the terror activity coming from Gaza, all it has to do is step up peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas. That is much more certain to increase terror than is the imposition of sanctions.  
 
Ami Isseroff 
 
 
 
 
 
ANALYSIS: Israel's real intention behind sanctions on Gaza Strip
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff , Haaretz Correspondents Last update -
06:26 26/10/2007

There is an enormous gap between the reasons Israel is giving for the decision to impose significant sanctions against Hamas rule in the Gaza
Strip, and the real intentions behind them. Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized Thursday a plan for  disrupting electricity supply to the Gaza
Strip, as well as significantly shrinking fuel shipments. This is supposed to reduce the number of Qassam rocket attacks against Sderot and the other border communities. In practice, defense officials believe that the Palestinian militants will intensify their attacks in response to the sanctions.

As such, the real aim of this effort is twofold: to attempt a new form of "escalation" as a response to aggression from Gaza, before Israel embarks on a major military operation there; and to prepare the ground for a more clear-cut isolation of the Gaza Strip - limiting to an absolute minimum Israel's obligation toward the Palestinians there.

Several weeks ago, Barak said Israel "is getting closer" to a major operation in the strip. 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.

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.

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.

The decision on sanctions is also an attempt to give expression to the inclination to completely disengage from Gaza. In this way Israel is sending a message to the Palestinian leadership in the strip that it must seek alternatives, however minor, to goods and services coming from Israel. This touches on the day after the Annapolis summit. Failure at the summit may lead Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas into the arms of Hamas. In such a case, Israel is raising a big stop sign at the exit from Ramallah:
Passage to Gaza is closed.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/do-we-know-what-gaza-sanctions-are-all.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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