Officially, by condemning Israel, with a few remarks to the effect that Hamas haven't helped matters.
Unoffically, there are unconfirmed reports that fatah are being extremely cooperative in providing info to the IDF.
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich.
Offensive's real objectives hidden behind rhetoric
THE FIRST bombardment took three minutes and 40 seconds. Sixty Israeli F-16 fighter jets bombed 50 sites in Gaza, killing more than 200 Palestinians and wounding close to 1,000 more.
A few hours after the deadly strike, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert convened a press conference in Tel Aviv. With foreign minister Tzipi Livni sitting on his right and defence minister Ehud Barak on his left, he declared: "It may take time, and each and every one of us must be patient so we can complete the mission."
But what exactly, one might ask, is Israel's mission? Although Olmert did not say as much, the mission includes four distinct objectives.
The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal. Even though the loss of hundreds of cadres and some key leaders will no doubt hurt the organisation, Hamas is a robust political movement with widespread grassroots support, and it is unlikely to surrender or capitulate to Israeli demands following a military assault. Ironically, Israel's attempt to destroy Hamas using military force has always ended up strengthening the organisation, thus corroborating the notion that power produces its own vulnerability.
The second objective has to do with Israel's coming elections. The assault on Gaza is also being carried out to help Kadima and Labour defeat Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently ahead in the polls. It is not coincidental that Netanyahu's two main competitors, Livni and Barak, were invited to the press conference - since, after the assault, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to characterise them as "soft" on the Palestinians. Whether or not the devastation in Gaza will help Livni defeat Netanyahu or help Barak gain votes in the February elections is difficult to say, but the strategy of competing with a warmonger like Netanyahu by beating the drums of war says a great deal about all three major contenders.
The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking for opportunities to re-establish its global standing. Last spring it used Syria as its laboratory and now it has decided to focus on Gaza. Emphasising the mere three minutes and 40 seconds it took to bomb 50 sites is just one of the ways the Israeli military aims to restore its international reputation.
Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how to proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as president of the Palestinian National Authority on January 9th. One of the outcomes of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer since Hamas will be unable to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign.
What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel's southern towns.
Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation's primary objective.
Yet, the government is actively misleading the public, since Israel could have put an end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed, there was relative quiet during the six-month truce with Hamas, a quiet that was broken most often as a reaction to Israeli violence: that is, following the extra-judicial execution of a militant or the imposition of a total blockade which prevented basic goods, such as foodstuff and medicine, from entering the Gaza Strip.
Rather than continuing the truce, the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt strategies of violence that are tragically akin to the ones deployed by Hamas; only the Israeli ones are much more lethal.
If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the country's long-term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would abandon the use of violence and talk with its enemies. - (Guardian service)
Neve Gordon is the chairman of the department of politics and government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and is the author of Israel's Occupation, University of California Press, 2008. His website is israeloccupation.com
Which makes the entire article completely worthless seeing as that organisation is run by a bunch of ex-torturers and scumbags who are about as anti-Palestinian as it is possible to be.
The truce between Hamas and Israel ended in the early hours of December 19, but the accusations over why it ended have followed the missiles and rockets across the border.
Hamas accuses Israel of not complying with the terms of the six-month Egyptian-mediated truce under which Israel was expected to end its siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip, re-open the commercial border crossing between Gaza and Israel and halt its military activities against Gazans.
Israel holds Hamas and other Palestinian groups responsible for not respecting their part of the truce. Israel claims that the firing of Qassam missiles and mortar shells did not stop and accuses Hamas of exploiting the truce by conducting more training and building better fortifications along the border between Gaza and Israel. Israel has also said straight out that the border crossings would not be fully re-opened without the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006.
'If Hamas remain defiant'. Interesting choice of words. The actions of Israel have little or nothing to do with the rocket attacks, and sure why would 1.5 million people who have been under a siege for nearly a year and are being attacked by one of the most powerful military forces in the world have any right or motivation to fight back? I guess they should just rollover and let Israel continue the slow strangulation of Gaza?
You could say something similar about the veracity of Hamas's claims. But it seems to me that the essential point (which you gloss over in your post upthread) is that both sides have (please do not misconstrue this as support for either side) understandable objectives in the conflict, and both sides have understandable objections to the so-called cease-fire status quo.
Saying that 'both sides have understandable objectives in the conflict' misses the point that this carnage was initiated by Israel. If I was attacked by a baseball bat wielding neighbour and I defended myself with my bare hands, would it be appropriate to discuss my 'motives' in the conflict?
Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2009, and they will present a further opportunity for Hamas to solidify its control of Palestinian politics. If Hamas, already in control of the parliament, can take more seats and the presidency, the remaining moderate Arab regimes will be unable to ignore them.
At the same time, regional shifts in the balance of power appear to favour Hamas. In a recent column, Hussam Tamem, the editor of IslamOnline, a pro-Islamist website, argued that Hamas’s decision to align itself with Syria and Iran was a sign of the changing times, a reflection that Egypt at present has little to offer as an ally. The Egyptian regime, burdened with a poor economy and preoccupied with a possible succession crisis, is weak and unable to resist American pressure. With the Obama administration expected to seek a rapprochement with Iran and Syria, Tamem wrote, Hamas has bet on the right horse.
Hamas, for its part, actively sought an escalation in violence at the close of the six-month ceasefire, perhaps with an eye toward the victory of the Likud hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s upcoming elections – which would surely lend credence to the argument that no negotiations with Israel are possible. Well before the expiration of the ceasefire Hamas leaders made their opposition to its renewal clear, with the expectation that a return to violence would create conditions to bolster their support and diminish Fatah.
The mood today in the Palestinian territories is one of anger and desire for revenge. Fatah has been pushed to the margins of Palestinian politics and seems likely to suffer a permanent dent to its reputation. So far the widespread, though perhaps predictable, consensus in the Arabic media is that Hamas is the chief beneficiary.
The moderate Arab regimes, according to Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of Al Quds al Arabi, have lost the most from this week’s carnage – and, it must be said, Egypt is foremost among them. On Tuesday alone protests were reported outside Egyptian embassies in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The fury of the protesters was given voice by the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who called openly for the Egyptian people to reject their government’s policies in Gaza – an unprecedented public attack that brought harsh criticism from Egypt. But most Egyptians prefer Nasrallah to their own leaders, and his salvo will only further damage the regime’s popularity.
Egypt, ironically enough, had been attempting in recent months to set up a rapprochement with Hizbollah as a means of increasing its influence in Lebanon, but those plans now seem a distant dream.
Sometimes the best advice is “be careful what you wish for”. Israel may manage to destroy the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and seriously damage its ability to fight back, which may in turn further divide the Palestinians. But it could also open the door for factions more extreme than Hamas to hijack the mantle of resistance, including those that share the worldview of al Qa’eda. Given the anger coursing through the Arab world, they would not have to search hard for new recruits.
You could go back through these proximate causes all day long still not resove this argument. 'Yes, but if you've been repeatedly throwing stones at your neighbour....' And so on. Hamas have their objectives; Israeli decision makers have theirs. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are well served by their leaders. Hamas want their supply lines, be they tunnels or the crossing at Rafah.
The Israelis don't want them to have access because, not unreasonably, they want to halt transport of materiel (i.e. military) goods into Gaza.
With this in mind, I’ve read over a detailed report issued by the IICC. Some readers may note that the IICC is firmly in the right-wing camp. To this criticism George Orwell’s famous dictum comes to mind: just because it’s in the Daily Telegraph, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In short, a priori objections are not sufficient, although I’d be happy if readers send me equally sober analyses from the left-wing camp. In the meantime, here’s my summary of the report’s key findings.
Nonetheless, there was a recent ceasefire, and the ceasefire was egregiously breached, and then unilaterally ended by Israel when they attacked Gaza on November 4th sparking a response form Hamas and other groups. Thus repeating a pattern which is almost as old as the conflict itself. Israel has repeatedly and flagrantly breached ceasfires, truces, treaties and agreements over the last 40 years.
Palestinian militants fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel yesterday, threatening to unravel a cease-fire days after it began, and Israel responded by closing vital border crossings into Gaza.
Despite what it called a "gross violation" of the truce, Israel refrained from military action and said it would send an envoy soon to Egypt to work on the next stage of a broader cease-fire agreement: a prisoner swap that would bring home an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than two years.
THE scale and ferocity of the onslaught on Gaza have been shocking, and the television images of civilian suffering wrench the heart. But however deplorable, Israel’s resort to military means to silence the rockets of Hamas should have been no surprise. This war has been a long time in the making.
Since Israel evacuated its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago, Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired thousands of rudimentary rockets and mortar bombs across the border, killing very few people but disrupting normal life in a swathe of southern Israel. They fired almost 300 between December 19th, when Hamas ignored Egypt’s entreaties and decided not to renew a six-month truce, and December 27th, when Israel started its bombing campaign.
So it would not be unreasonable for Palestinians to attack US military planes shipping arms to Israel?
Abu Bilal, commander of Islamic Jihad's forces in the Rafah Refugee Camp in southern Gaza admitted that his group's rocket attacks are mostly ineffectual against Israel, except psychologically, and that the group, which operates independently of the dominant Hamas movement, was literally praying for an invasion.
"We can't do anything (to hurt the Israelis) but fire the rockets and hope they enter Gaza," he said. "We are praying for the tanks to come so we can show them new things. We have made many preparations for the coming battle and all of our fighters wait for the chance to kill them."