Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News
Sunday June 08, 2008
Israeli army officials told the Jerusalem Post newspaper that the Israeli government will conduct a medium range ground offensive targeting Gaza before any truce deal with the Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza takes effect.
(This has been the plan all along. Such attacks were planned months before the facade at Annapolis.)
The officials said that it's likely the operation will be approved this coming Tuesday during the meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defense Minister Ehud Barak.
(Barak has been saying for months now that preparations for these attacks are complete.)
According to army officials, Israel does not want to appear weak, by accepting the truce deal while Palestinian resistance groups are still firing home made-shells from Gaza toward nearby Israeli areas.
(But the rockets are only a response to the illegal Collective Punishment of Gaza, as Israel's own defence staff warned would be the result of such policies. But the planning for these attacks precedes the rockets, and this is yet another Israeli rejection of peace, and another attempt to obstruct any peace process, which would force Israel to finally accept its legal and moral obligations to the Palestinians. Zionist Extremists, who reject the idea of a Palestinian state, are intent upon the Cultish dream of "Greater Israel", and will accept nothing less than the complete annexation of Palestine.)
Last week, representatives of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza returned "empty handed" from Cairo, as Egyptian mediators had received no response from Israel to the Hamas offer of a truce.
(As predicted, Israel used these talks in order to maintain the false appearance that it is interested in peace, while it made preparations for another Escalation of its war on the people of Gaza.)
The Egyptian-mediated ceasefire stipulates that Hamas will halt the fire of homemade shells into Israeli territory, in exchange for Israel lifting the 12 month-blockade and ceasing all military attacks against the Gaza Strip.
(Which is really what International Law demands ...)
Israel has set a further two demands: the release of a captured Israeli soldier, and ensuring an end to alleged "arms smuggling" through underground tunnels on the Egypt-Gaza borders.
(But these are issues to be dealt with in negotiations, not items to preclude negotiations.)
Olmert Readying Full-Scale Gaza InvasionAuthor
How many civilians will Israel 'accidentally' kill this time? What will the world's reaction be?
Israeli PM raises spectre of full-scale Gaza operation
Published: Friday June 6, 2008
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday raised the spectre of a full-scale military operation in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip despite Egyptian attempts to mediate a truce.
(The one that Israel started planning and preparing for months before the Annapolis charade started.)
"According to the information as it is now, the pendulum is much closer to tough military action," Olmert told journalists on arrival in Israel following a three-day trip to the United States.
(In other words, he's closer than he was yesterday of starting the attack which he was going to all along ...)
His comments came a day after a man was killed in southern Israel in a mortar attack claimed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement that has run Gaza since it ousted forces loyal to secular Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas a year ago.
(Forces that were under the command of US and Israeli Extremists, in an attempt to overthrow the ELECTED Government. The mortar followed months of increased attacks on Palestinians, in which hundreds of civilians have been killed, along with the imposition of illegal measures of Collective Punishment Israel's own defence staff warned would provoke a violent response, and its Attorney General called "illegal".)
But Olmert also suggested that the door to a negotiated truce was not completely closed.
(Riiiight. And the US wanted diplomacy to work with Iraq ...)
He said his government was still considering whether to avoid getting "into a violent and hard conflict with the terror organisations in Gaza" or to launch "operations that would be much more aggressive and hard."
Israeli forces launched several raids after Thursday's attack.
(They also razed several farms, continuing a deliberate program of destroying Gaza's ability to produce its own food.)
On Friday, a military engineering unit operating armoured bulldozers on the Gaza side of the border was embroiled in a firefight with Hamas gunmen, the military said.
(No mention of the farms being destroyed, like so many others over the past year.)
A member of Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was killed and an Israeli soldier was wounded in the exchange of fire.
Earlier on Friday at least 10 Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli air raid on a Hamas police post in the north of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics said. The military said the raid was in reply to Thursday's attack.
(Which was a reply to Israel's rejection of peace, earlier attacks, and the illegal Collective Punishment of Gaza. Israel killed a 4-year old girl with its airstrike)
Violence in and around the impoverished sliver of land has continued despite Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire and slow-moving peace talks with Abbas, who has only held sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since his forces were ousted from Gaza.
(This has continued because Israel intentionally created this crisis, and so long as they can avoid any international intervention, they will continue down this path.)
At least 491 people, nearly all Palestinians and mostly Gaza militants, have been killed since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed in November, according to an AFP count.
(Human rights organizations, however, report that at least half of those killed were civilians, not militants. Note how this is written. They've lumped the deaths all together in order to hide the vast disparity between casualties, since Israel's casualties remain in the single-digits, while Israel has slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians.)
The Israeli military said on Friday that Palestinians fired more than 2,300 rockets and mortar bombs at Israel in the past six months.
(Nobody bothered to ask how many munitions Israel had pumped into Gaza during that same period, however ...)
Thursday's attack has increased pressure on the government to act against Gaza militants, and Israeli media suggested a military offensive could be just days away.
(Israeli media, supported by the Government, which is trying to create the impression that this is a new, "defensive" development, as opposed to the premeditated Aggression they started planning for a year ago.)
Before leaving Washington on Thursday, Olmert played down the chances of achieving a truce in and around Gaza. "Israel's conditions for a truce are not bearing fruit in the way that could lead to a ceasefire," he said.
(In other words, the DEMANDS and blocks to peace Israel used are having the desired effect. The process has allowed Israel to create a facade that it is interested in peace, while it's been plotting this attack all along.)
Israel has demanded an end to rocket attacks and arms smuggling from Egypt, as well as progress in negotiations for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian militants in 2006.
Hamas for its part has demanded an end to the blockade of Gaza that Israel says is aimed at forcing militants to halt their attacks on the Jewish state.
(But has also said has nothing to do with the rockets - which were provoked by the 'blockade' - and is actually designed to undermine the ELECTED Government - which Israel knows will not allow Israel to avoid its legal responsibilities in any final status negotiations, and Israel isn't prepared to do this - and 'soften up' Gaza for this long-planned invasion and possible reoccupation.)
On Friday, hundreds of people gathered near the closed Rafah border crossing with Egypt for a demonstration called by Hamas to protest against the Israeli blockade.
(A week ago, Israel opened fire on these same demonstrations.)
Hamas wants Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing -- the only gateway to Gaza not under Israeli control.
(But the US-behloden Government is wary of pissing off Extremists who start wars at the drop of a hat.)
In January, Gaza militants blew open large sections of the border fence, sending hundreds of thousands of Palestinians pouring into Egypt to stock up on vital supplies before it was resealed a few days later.
Egypt has been acting as mediator in the truce talks because Israel refuses to negotiate directly with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organisation.
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