Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Israel is preparing a major offensive against Palestinian positions in Gaza in an effort to free Israeli hostage Gilead Shalit.
The IDF has massed hundreds of tanks, armored infantry and commandos on the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip as of last night from three strong points: the Nahal Oz base opposite Gaza City, Kissufim opposite Deir al Balah and Khan Younes in the south and Sufa opposite Rafah. Along for the party are some of Israel's finest... the Golani and Givaty armored brigades and special ops units including the elite Sayeret Matkal.
My guess is that if they go in, their first mission would be to split the Strip into three parts; sending one task force west past Gaza City's southern end to the former Jewish community of Netzarim on the Mediterranean coast to cut off Gaza City and the North from the rest of the Strip, and a second force, say, from Kisufim west up to what used to be the Katif and Kfar Darom junctions to split Gaza City off from Rafah. That would split the Strip into three sections and isolate the Palestinian refugee camps of Nuseirat, Al Bureij and Al Muazi, all major bases for Palestinian terrorists.
The Israelis could then move out from Sufa and reach the coast at what used to be Peat Hasadeh, then move South to secure the Philadelphi enclave on the Israel-Egyptian border, which isolates Rafah and the outlying refugee camps, which is where Shalit is probably being held. The Israelis could then conduct a house to house search for the hostage.
I would also expect numerous arrests and heavy air strikes against terrorist strongholds, and targeted strikes against their leaders.
At this point, of course, it's about more than just Shalit.
Olmert has to rebuild the Israel armed forces’ faded deterrent strength in the eyes of the Palestinians and the Israeli people. It has been severely eroded by years of Israeli restraint in the face of non-stop Palestinian terrorist attacks. The Israeli populace in places like Sderot has been under siege since the Palestinians took over Gaza.
Most Israeli military sources now admit that the `withdrawal' from Gaza was a major error. The Philadelphi border zone between Gaza and Egyptian Sinai used to be an enclave controlled by Israeli forces..now it's a supply line for for replenishing Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons and fighters. And what used to be prosperous Jewish farming communities like Neve Dekalim, Netzarim and Gush Katif are now terrorist training bases and missile launching sites.
You see, the Olmert government told the Israeli people that the IDF was in Gaza to `protect the settlers'...but it turns out they were there to protect Israel!
By making such an obvious display, Olmert is obviously hoping to scare the Palestinians with what's in store for them if they refuse to give up the Israeli corporal and instead insist on haggling.
It's a pretty forlorn hope, in my opinion. It looks like Shalit's captors are unlikely to release him and are lookingto extort as much military, diplomatic and propaganda capital from the kidnapping as they can get.
The spokesman for the Palestinian terrorist group the Popular Resistance Committees, Abdullah al-Al, claimed today that Gilead Shalit had been moved to a place "where the Zionists would never reach him."
The Palestinians themselves are overwhelmingly in favor of using Shalit to extort the release of imprisoned terrorists. A recent poll showed that 80% of them favor using Shalit as leverage for this.
The Palestinian attack on the Israeli Telem army post has been sold to the Palestinians as their greatest victory in six years of fighting Israel. They see it as a historic turning-point that will wipe out all their previous defeats.
Egypt, meanwhile, has deployed 2,500 police and security officers on its Sinai border with Gaza to keep out any movement of Palestinian refugees that might be caused by an Israeli military operation. Y'see, the Egyptians love their Palestinian `brothers' so much that they don't want a single one of them in Egypt.
If things proceed the way they appear to be proceeding, the real crunch for Israel will be after the initial offensive, when Israel has to create a new reality on the ground, and perhaps even go into populated areas like Gaza City or the `refugee' camps. Look for more phoney Pallywood cries of `massacre' at that point.
Israel will also have to consider the possiblity of attacks from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)by Fatah forces like the al Aqsa brigades.
Israel will have to figure out something to replace the failed security strategy in Gaza...and probably Judea and Samaria as well.
That ultimately won't work unless Israelis prepared to go full out and destroy
Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority and win this war...something they should have done four years ago. With Iran preparing to deploy against Israel onthe Syrian border, Israel cannot afford hostile forces surrounding it on the East and South. Hopefully, even Olmert is starting to realize this.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 11:39 AM