Road map to peace
In funding and supplying arms to the Fatah in Gaza, knowing full well the likely result, the inevitable question arises: why would Israel, the US and Egypt want to foment violent unrest in the Strip? It is actually fairly obvious. An Hamas takeover of Gaza would provide the Israelis a pretext to attack and invade. And, just like the Lebanon war last summer, the attack has already been planned.
ISRAEL’s new defence minister Ehud Barak is planning an attack on Gaza within weeks to crush the Hamas militants who have seized power there.
According to senior Israeli military sources, the plan calls for 20,000 troops to destroy much of Hamas’s military capability in days.
The raid would be triggered by Hamas rocket attacks against Israel or a resumption of suicide bombings.
Barak, who is expected to become defence minister tomorrow, has already demanded detailed plans to deploy two armoured divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets, against Hamas.
The Israeli forces would expect to be confronted by about 12,000 Hamas fighters with arms confiscated from the Fatah faction that they defeated in last week’s three-day civil war in Gaza.
Details of the plan emerged as Fatah forces in the West Bank stormed Hamas-run buildings, including the parliament in Ramallah, where they tried to seize the deputy speaker.
Israeli officials believe their forces would face even tougher resistance in Gaza than they encountered during last summer’s war against Hezbollah in south Lebanon.
A source close to Barak said that Israel could not tolerate an aggressive “Hamastan” on its border and an attack seemed unavoidable.
“The question is not if but how and when,” he said.
Update:Carl at Israel Matzav has an interesting critique of the Times article, which are usually suspect anyway, and points out that Uzi Mahnaimi is the same person who reported that Israel would attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons. While many on the right simply won't believe that Israel would consider such action, the fact is they have and will continue to do so. Though it's time line maybe suspect, this latest Times article is hardly revelatory and no one should be surprised that such plans are, to borrow that fun phrase of our current epoch, "on the table." After all, the IDF had plans for the attack on Lebanon drawn up over a year before the war last summer, using the pretext of a kidnapping to launch the assault.