Jerusalem – Israeli Security officials refuse to take seriously any of the reports of power outages in the Gaza Strip, saying it was a deliberate provocation of the Hamas government.
“The Israel Electric Corporation supplies 70 percent of Gaza’s power consumption,” said a security source. “In addition, 5 percent of the power consumption is supplied to the Gaza Strip by the Egyptians, and the rest is provided by the Gaza power plant. This means that there cannot be a power outage in the entire Gaza Strip as a result of the failure to transfer crude oil and diesel fuel.”
Israeli Defense Forces sources said that following Gilad Shalit’s (an Israeli soldier) kidnapping, the Israel Air Force did attack targets in the Gaza Strip including the power plant’s transformer, but they asserted that the timing of the reports of a crisis in the Gaza Strip were not accidental. “Despite the strike, there has been no problem with power in Gaza for eight months,” said an IDF officer. “Suddenly, because several dozen trucks with diesel fuel did not enter for half a day on Friday and for half a day on Sunday, so there is no power in all of Gaza? This is a deliberate act by the Hamas government in order to oppose the sanctions decided upon by Barak.”
Another security source emphasized that the Israeli security establishment has intelligence information showing Hamas has enough fuel to drive the cars of the government and to operate generators from their stocks. “(Ehud) Barak instructed a continuation of the closure after being updated with data from Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yosef Mishlav,” said the source. “The whole issue of the candles being lit in the Palestinians’ homes is a deliberate charade staged by Hamas.”
Director of the Political-Security Department in the Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad commented on allegations by Gaza residents yesterday morning: “There has been no humanitarian crisis until today. Of course, it is not comfortable to live there. We have a finger on the pulse, and it may not be exact mathematics, but Israel will certainly do everything possible to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”
Professor: Let The Gazans Demonstrate Against Hamas
Professor Yehoshua Porat, the foremost expert on Palestinian Arab nationalism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a founder of the Peace Now movement and a 1992 candidate for the Israeli Knesset Parliament on the Meretz left-wing list, has expressed his view that “all supplies from Israel to the Gaza Strip should be stopped in order to prevent the possibility of operating against us,” noting that “I do not know of another situation in the entire world in which a state engaged in hostilities supplies strategic commodities – fuel, electricity and water – to the adversary with whom it is engaged in these hostilities … Gaza isn’t occupied territory any more, so why is Israel obliged to supply strategic commodities to enemy territory?”
Furthermore, Mr. Porat commented that “economic sieges are an effective weapon during war. That was, for example, one of the principal tools that were used by the allies against Germany in the two wars. In my opinion, if push comes to shove and everything becomes too hard to bear, then the Gaza population will ultimately go out into the streets and will demand that the government that it elected begin to pursue different policies.”
Asked about international criticism, Mr. Porat said that “in a state at war, you do everything in its power to win, and an economic siege is a legitimate means. Incidentally, the squawkers have become less vociferous because they too understand with whom it is that they are dealing. There has been a substantial change, for instance, in the French foreign policy in Israel’s favor in the aftermath of Sarkozy’s election.”
Mr. Porat went a step further and said that “if victory in this war obliges us to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, then that should be done as well. In that event, Israel should maintain solely a military presence there, without building settlements, in order to prevent the Palestinians from shooting at the Negev.”
Ashkenazi: We Won’t Tolerate A Nuclear Iran
“It will take time, but in the end we will restore quiet and security to Sderot,” Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi promised Sunday night in a speech to the participants of the annual Herzliya security Conference, which was held in Israel’s Knesset parliament building. Commenting on Iran, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi said that the state would not accept a reality in which, as he put it, the entire Middle East was under threat.
In his speech, the chief of staff addressed the residents of Sderot, saying that “their staying power is exemplary, and it strengthens our position. We will act with good sense, with judgment and responsibility. We should not be led by emotion, but rather by the necessary measure of responsibility. Even if it takes time, the goal will ultimately be achieved,” promised the chief of staff.
Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi said that the IDF was operating in the Gaza Strip day and night, “by air, sea and land against the terror organizations in order to reduce the rocket fire. We are succeeding in exacting a heavy cost from those launching the rockets.”
With regard to Iran, the chief of staff said that Israel would not be able to tolerate a situation of a nuclear Iran. “A reality of a nuclear Iran would not only pose a threat to the State of Israel, but also to the entire Middle East. This is a reality we will not be able to accept,” he emphasized.
Israel State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss chose to comment at the Herzliya Conference on the realm of personal responsibility in the context of the Winograd Lebanon War Investigation Committee, whose report is scheduled to be published on Jan. 31. Although he did not mention Ehud Olmert’s name explicitly, it was clear that the criticism was aimed at the prime minister.
“It is not the foot soldiers who are to blame, he who is to blame is at the top of the pyramid or close to it. hat is toward whom the criticism and demands should be directed,” said Mr. Lindenstrauss, who was one of the speakers in the session dealing with the Winograd Committee report, national security policy and decision making. He said that the rule that gives the most effective standing to auditing is the rule of personal responsibility. “If there is no demand for drawing personal conclusions, in appropriate cases, what good will auditing do?” he said.
Hezbollah Guerrillas Returned To Border And Taunted Farmers
Yesterday afternoon, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, gave an interview to the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Voice of Israel Radio’s popular international hour program in which he informed the Israeli public that the Hezbollah has returned to the strategic positions that it held in Lebanon before the summer 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.
Hezbollah guerrillas have returned to the northern border, apparently as part of a march in honor of the Shiite Ashura festival. The guerrillas appeared near the border fence in the Metulla area.
“I was driving among my orchards north of Metulla and then a convoy of Hezbollah guerrillas passed by without any hindrance near the border fence, just a few meters from me,” said Lior Weinberg, a Metulla resident. A convoy that was comprised of three minibuses and a number of sedans in which Hezbollah guerrillas dressed in black passed by near the border fence.
The cars were decked with Hezbollah flags and black flags of mourning. The guerrillas cursed the Israeli farmer and tried to provoke him. “I was alone in my orchard and they made obscene gestures with their hands, cursed and threatened with their hands to hurt me,” said Mr. Weinberg.
The IDF said in response: “At issue is not a new phenomenon and no conclusions should be drawn from it.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008