Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israel Attack on Gaza A Prelude to Full War?

Israel's latest bombing of the Gaza Strip (video below) could be a preparation for full war with Hamas, reminiscent of the Lebanese invasion of several years ago. If something isn't done this could escalate to a World War. It could be the Israelis want a war before the Obama administration comes in. This neocon controlled White House would certainly support whatever Israel decided to do. President-elect needs to say more than just repeating the same line about there being only one President. This is very dangerous.

Goaded by Islamist guerrillas' cross-border attacks, Israel goes to war with a surprise aerial onslaught. Troops and tanks follow, to gain ground and pressure foreign powers into imposing a truce the Israelis can live with.

The strategy used by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for an offensive in Lebanon in 2006 could again be deployed against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But there are big differences in the handling of the military operation in Gaza, which the Israeli air force started pounding on Saturday, and it is not clear how regional stability might benefit, let alone peace talks with Palestinians.

For now, Israeli officials sound satisfied with an operation in Gaza that shows few of the tactical mistakes of the 2006 war on Lebanese Hezbollah.

Fewer than half of Gaza's many dead are civilians, Israeli border towns were better prepared this time for retaliatory rocket fire and the Olmert government has not promised big victories.

International censure has so far been largely limited to urging a return to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that expired on Dec 19.

"Israel certainly underwent a lesson-learning process" after Lebanon, cabinet secretary Oved Yehezkel told Israel Radio.

Hamas has made a new ceasefire conditional on Israel ending an embargo on Gaza, and Israeli officials have hinted they also want new terms met -- such an end to arms smuggling by Hamas and the release of a captive soldier, Gilad Shalit.

It certainly looks like Israel intends on invading:
Israel called up 6,500 reserve soldiers and moved infantry and armored units to the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion. Some 280 Palestinians died in the first 24 hours of the campaign against Gaza rocket squads.

Most of the dead were Hamas police, but the airstrikes also claimed the lives of civilians, including a 15-year-old boy killed inside a greenhouse.

Unbowed by 250 Israeli airstrikes, militants fired dozens of rockets and mortars at border communities Sunday. Two rockets struck close to the largest city in southern Israel, Ashdod, some 38 kilometers (23 miles) from Gaza, reaching deeper into Israel than ever before. The targeting of Ashdod confirmed Israel's concern that militants are capable of putting major cities within rocket range. No serious injuries were reported in any of the attacks Sunday. One Israeli died in a rocket attack Saturday.

Despite the call for reserves, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said there were no plans to occupy Gaza. Speaking Sunday on "Meet the Press," Livni said the Israeli assault came because Gaza's Hamas rulers were smuggling weapons and building up "a small army."