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Shock and Awe in Gaza: Israel Poised to Execute Plan to Finish Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 10:53
Shock and Awe in Gaza: Israel Poised to Execute Plan to Finish Palestine

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Though ostensibly touted as a "search and rescue" mission for a lone Israeli soldier, the military response to the kidnapping of an IDF corporal has seen artillery shelling, air raids, and the mobilization of tanks into Gaza. Tonight it looks a lot more like Israel's version of "Shock and Awe" than a rescue attempt. And, as with America's infamous destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, and killing of uncounted civilians there, Israel's response looks like the fulfillment of an operation that had been waiting for an excuse to happen.

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Shock and Awe in Gaza: 
Israel Poised to Execute Plan to Finish Palestine

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
June 27, 2006

Reuters is reporting this hour, the Israeli military has moved into the Gaza Strip, tanks and armoured personnel carriers entering through the Kerem Shalom crossing near Rafah. This follows artillery barrages into civilian areas, the aerial targeting of three bridges, and the destruction of a power plant, reputedly by helicopter gunships.

The Israeli government has said it holds Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for the Sunday raid that killed two Israeli soldiers and led to Corporal Galid Shalit being taken prisoner. Israeli official's warning to Hamas, the official government of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, they would "pay a deadly price" for the raid has already proven itself, with so-called "targeted assassinations" suspected in at least one mysterious explosion near Abbas' home that took the life of at least one bystander. 

Members of Palestine's Fatah party, ousted in January by the ascension of Hamas, are calling for those holding Corporal Shalit to release the soldier. A group claiming responsibility for the raid and capture counter they will exchange the soldier for women and children currently held in Israeli custody. Israel refused to consider that.

The Israeli offensive in Gaza comes as Hamas and the rival Fatah are working to unite the divided factions within Palestine. Just today, the Guardian reports, an agreement in principle between Hamas and Abbas being reached that would see a single position put forward to Israel in an effort to start a meaningful, "two-State" solution to the decades long occupation, finally bringing hope of peace for both Israel and Palestine.

The agreement is optimistic news for Palestinians, suffering a strident Israeli led sanctions campaign, joined by the United States, Canada, and some European countries, that has starved the Gaza Strip of food, medicines, and money's to pay civil servants, police, and medical personnel. Palestinians contend, the embargo is punishment for electing Hamas, who historically refuse to recognize Israel's "right to exist." 

Israel dismissed the proposal out of hand, instead mobilizing the military to invade Gaza, and scuppering Palestinian hopes of peace in the region; all, they say to save Corporal Shalit.

In the months since the election, the IDF has launched missile attacks into Gaza, (the so-called "targeted assassinations" employing both drones and helicopters),  and earlier this month, the IDF was on the defensive following two, high-profile killings of civilians, one a family killed while picnicking on a public beach, by artillery.

Israel admits to firing more than six thousand artillery shells into Gaza in recent months, in addition to the missile attacks, and that the IDF was conducting a barrage at the time eight members of a family were killed on the beach, but denied it was responsible, saying the family was killed by a Hamas landmine; a claim contradicted by forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts.

Israel's military mobilization since Sunday has worried Egypt, who fear an influx of Palestinian refugees. The Egyptian military has sealed the border, sending approximately 2500 troops to deter any desparate exodus from Gaza; while Syria has sent a "security detail" to protect Khaled Mashaal, a leader of Hamas' military wing living in Syria, and accused of masterminding Sunday's raid, to protect him from expected Israeli assassination attempts.



Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 June 2006 10:53
 

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