Jerusalem, Israel – Following 80 missiles fired from Gaza on Tuesday, Israel’s Independence Day, Israel Army sources confirm that preparations for a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, which have taken several months, are almost complete.
The Israeli forces, including reserves, have trained and are positioned for the Gaza invasion. Yet as preparations near completion, top Israeli policymakers assess that the diplomatic damage that will occur as a result will not serve Israel’s interests.
The way to disband a terrorist infrastructure involves a military operation that entails a stay of months or even years. The model admired in Israeli military circles is known as “Operation Defensive Shield,” when Israel dispatched troops in April 2002 to patrol all strategic and sensitive points of the Judea and Samaria, so as to put a lid on terror attacks that would emanate from the Palestinian Authority Those troops continue to patrol all the parameters of all Palestinian Arab communities, and the results have paid off. During the calendar year 2006, 11 people were murdered by terrorists in Israel. Compare that to an average of 175 people murdered by terrorists in Israel during the years 2000-2005.
However, unlike the sparse amount of armed Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, Arab armed groups in Gaza now amount to more than 60,000 men, and they are purposely positioned throughout the Gazan civilian population,, especially in the crowded UNRWA refugee camps.
That means that the expected heavy Israeli firepower in Gaza will result in a situation where civilians are going to get hurt, children are going to be killed, and mosques will be damaged. The resultant scenes on worldwide television will not help Israel.
However, in discussions held after Hamas’ missile attacks on the western Negev, The Israeli Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi reportedly spoke in harsh tones for the first time, saying that that the situation cannot continue as it is.
The choice lies with the Israel’s defense minister, foreign minister and prime minister -all of whom may be implicated by the Israel Government Commission on the Summer 2006 Lebanon War.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007