Sunday, January 11, 2009

Political Goals for Gaza Operation

Israeli military leaders said they will extend Gaza operation to meet objectives set by the political echelon. What does the echelon want? A hint exists on a teaser block.

Poll: 76% oppose truce without Shalit / Ynet

War and Peace Index shows Jewish public supports Gaza operation, objects to ending it if kidnapped soldier is not released as part of agreement, even if rocket fire stops. Arab public conveys opposite views

Freeing Gilad Shalit is objective #1. The other hint came courtesy of Tony Blair in early December. The Quartet's Middle East Envoy said Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas reached a secret agreement. Hamas needs to go for that framework to be implemented. The NY Times reported:

Speaking during the regular Sunday cabinet meeting, Mr. Olmert gave no time frame for the conflict but said that Israel “must not miss out, at the last moment, on what has been achieved through an unprecedented national effort.”

Supplanting Hamas is objective #2. The Times article also noted Israel's ceaseless warnings to civilians, enduring a wartime siege:

In Gaza City as well, residents reported getting phone calls that said: “We are going to intensify the military strike against Hamas. Our intention is not to harm civilians. If you live near Hamas, evacuate.”

Leaflets were dropped addressed to “the residents of Gaza,” saying that the Israeli military had in recent days warned residents of the southern city of Fafah of “an imminent operation,” and asking them to evacuate their homes for their safety.

Terrorize Gazans is objective #3. Where do evacuees go? Israel bombed two sites harboring refugees, a home and a UN school. Limited access to food, water and medical care constrain Gazan's ability to move. Might it be an Israeli PsyOps strategy?

Red Cross workers said their telephones were flooded with calls from residents of the Beach refugee camp who had received large numbers of the calls and leaflets. The callers wanted to know if they should evacuate their homes, and if so, to where.

A Beach camp car mechanic named Hamdi Eki, 47, was asked why he did not leave after receiving such a call. “I have nine children,” he said. “Where can I go? I prefer to die at my own house.”

Some Beach camp residents did leave but ended up in other neighborhoods or camps that had received similar warnings.

Bottled up in a stinking charnel house? That's the Crusader history of the area, It's also the present and it's curse.