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by CTuttle

Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’: Cast Lead 2

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters is reporting…

Israel hammers Hamas in Gaza offensive

* Israel says major operation may last days

…Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that the Islamist group vowed would “open the gates of hell”.

The onslaught shattered hopes that a truce mediated on Tuesday by Egypt could pull the two sides back from the brink of war after five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes at militant targets.

Operation “Pillar of Defence” began with a surgical strike on a car carrying the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the Iranian-armed Islamist movement which controls Gaza and dominates a score of smaller armed groups.

Within minutes of the death of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, big explosions shook Gaza as the Israeli air force struck at selected targets just before sundown, blasting plumes of smoke and debris high above the crowded city.

Panicking civilians ran for cover and the death toll mounted quickly. Ten people including three children were killed, the health ministry said, and about 40 were wounded. Also among the dead were an 11-month-old baby and a woman pregnant with twins.

Army tanks shelled border areas of Gaza in south and the Israeli navy shelled a Hamas security position from the sea… {…}

OBAMA BRIEFED

Israeli President Shimon Peres briefed U.S. President Barack Obama on the operation, Peres’s office said. He told Obama that Jaabari was a “mass-murderer” and his killing was Israel’s response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.

“Israel is not interested in stoking the flames, but for the past five days there has been constant missile fire at Israel and mothers and children cannot sleep quietly at night,” said Peres, who visited the border town of Sderot earlier…

You can cut the rank hypocrisy of Peres’ words with a butter knife…!

As Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein posits…

…It is, of course, no accident that Israeli elections will be held in two months. Israeli prime ministers routinely use wars to bolster their popularity. Menachem Begin attacked the Osirak reactor shortly before elections, which he subsequently won. Aluf Benn offers (Hebrew) a long list of such political opportunism including Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996) and Operation Cast Lead just before the 2009 elections. Bibi, being a master of political tactics (but not strategy, since he has none) wanted to leave no stone unturned in his march to victory in January.

As happened numerous times in the past, including after the Eilat terror attack, when Israel lied in ascribing blame for the attack on Gaza and murdered 30 in revenge strikes, terror in Gaza is not the issue. Gaza is a useful tool or canvas on which Israeli generals and politicians embellish their careers. It’s the utmost in cynicism, but alas all too common in the debased society Israel has become… {…}

It must be said clearly, Jabari’s assassination is not an act of defense or even a response to past terror attacks against it. It is a blatant act of provocation and an act of terror in itself. It is akin to the 2003 assassination of Saleh Shehadeh and will, in the end, cause the deaths of more Israelis and Gazans than that ghastly massacre. These are war crimes and must eventually be held accountable as such.

Israel knows that by murdering Jabari they’ve not dented Hamas’ military capability. Another Jabari will arise who will out-Jabari Jabari just as Nasrallah outdid Abbas Musawi, who Israel assassinated. Bibi needs Hamas. He needs an eternal enemy. It’s what makes him strong. He and the Likud are the political equivalent of Dracula. Just as Jefferson said the Tree of Liberty needed to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants, the ultranationalists cynically need to drink the blood of dead Palestinians (or Iranians or Lebanese) in order to guarantee their political reign. This is ghoulish. It is insane. Israeli policy is insane.

Not satisfied with pursuing war as a political objective to dominate the Palestinians, the IDF has invoked the Torah in calling this operation Pillar of Cloud (as in “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way”). No, I’m sorry. God doesn’t walk with killers. My God doesn’t want blood, either Jewish or Palestinian. My God is not an anti-jihadi. He doesn’t hate Muslims or Arabs. Bibi, do not debase my holy texts. Do not exploit them in your attempt to provoke religious wars. I’d prefer calling this new campaign Pillar of White Phosphorus, myself

Amen, Richard…!

Now, +972 Mag’s Dimi Reider, differs from Richard, in that Ehud Barak is pushing the illegal invasion…

Politicians line up behind Israeli assault on Gaza

…My own hunch, and that of several Israeli observers, is that Barak is the prime mover behind this recent escalation. His has been a consistent voice for stronger Israeli military action in previous rounds of escalation in Gaza, and he stands more to gain from a large-scale military operation. Netanyahu is winning the elections with one hand tied behind his back; Barak and his splinter Independence Party, by contrast, have barely been scratching the electoral barrier. Appearing as a decisive, wily and sophisticated military mind next to a wallowing Netanyahu can only do Barak that much good, and Israeli Twitterati have already replaced “Pillar of Defense” the cringe-inducing, Freud-evoking codename for the operation with “Independence War.”

Be that as it may, Netanyahu has signed up for this offensive and it now bears his name as surely as Cast Lead bears those of Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni. In the short term, his gamble might well conclude without political damage (the damage to the lives of Israeli and Gazan residents is clearly of comparatively little consequence to either him or his defense minister, otherwise the deescalation would have been allowed to take its course, as it has throughout Netanyahu’s tenure). In the optimal scenario, Hamas will not escalate the conflagration further, and will not fire the long-range missiles in its arsenal to Tel Aviv and its suburbs, both because an Israeli strike took out much of said arsenal immediately after Jabari was slain, and because this would blow the violence dials sky-high and require an Israeli response at least as forceful as the 2008-2009 Cast Lead operation. After a few exchanges, Egyptians will oblige once again with a ceasefire and Netanyahu and Barak will have brought their electoral chances up a notch…

Now, just when you thought the rank hypocrisy couldn’t get any ranker…

US welcomes reelection to Human Rights Council

Hillary Clinton pledges US support to combat panel’s anti-Israel activity; UN ambassador says HRC delivered “real results.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed America’s reelection to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday and pledged that the country would continue to combat the panel’s anti-Israel activity.

“Much hard work remains to be done,” Clinton said in a statement, “especially ending the council’s disproportionate and biased focus on Israel.”

The US has come under criticism from some in the Jewish community for participating in a group that routinely censures Israel while ignoring many of the most pressing human rights problems in the world, some being committed by countries with representatives on the council.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed Washington’s reelection, saying that the Human Rights Council “has delivered real results” since the US first joined it in 2010 after running for a seat on it a year before. She cited council action on Syria as a positive example of its work.

However, she also criticized the council’s “excessive and unbalanced focus on Israel.” Advocates of America’s participation, however, say the situation would be worse without a US presence, and that the US has been behind important initiatives challenging Iran’s human rights record and other initiatives

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

On 3rd Anniversary, Cast Lead II, Or WW III…?

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The IDF’s Benny Gantz recently boasted…

IDF chief: Gaza war against Hamas was an ‘excellent’ operation

Second round of fighting in Gaza is not a matter of choice for Israel; it must be initiated by Israel and must be ‘swift and painful,’ Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz says…

As Paul Mutter wrote at Mondoweiss…

…For now, I think Gantz is saber-rattling. Israel is hoping to scare or wrongfoot Hamas as it scores political successes through the prisoner exchanges, the electoral success of Egypt’s Islamist bloc, entry to the PLO and new unity talks with Fatah. A more conciliatory Hamas is not what Likud wants to deal with. The best way to undermine Hamas’s nonviolent political successes would be to put Hamas in awkward position over the actions of Islamic Jihad (which Israel struck just this week) or another militant organization. Hamas’s leadership would be an awkward position of having to manage feelings of militant nationalism that it has cultivated in order to secure potentially ephemeral political concessions. Its legitimacy would be at stake, but should it respond with violence, its survival would be in jeopardy.

Hamas will likely avoid the temptation to return to fighting. The Middle East is too politically fluid at the moment. But given the hawkishness of the “liberal” alternatives to Likud, as Dimi Reider points out, I am still convinced that the timing of Cast Lead II will be a question of when, not if. Israel would be more likely to use massive force against Gaza than Iran if it came down to an eleventh-hour choice for Defense Minister Barak. Israel’s leadership has no doubt been encouraged by SecDef Leon Panetta and President Obama’s public backpedalling on their reluctance to attack Iran. The U.S. could deal with Iran (an “October surprise,” as some have suggested), leaving Israel a stronger hand to play against Hamas. The timing for any of these possible actions will greatly depend on how the 2012 U.S. presidential election progresses.

As for how the IDF will react to Hamas’s announced new focus on popular demonstrations, Gantz’s past comments about the Arab Spring offer some insight:

There is a focal player in the Middle East – the street – and it is clear to us that in the coming months we can find ourselves in broad popular demonstrations, which gain public resonance. The IDF is preparing for these demonstrations.

[snip]

For this reason, we will act with great fire power and full force at the very beginning of the confrontation. Anything the camera can stand or could stand in the first three days of fighting – it will not be prepared to put up with thereafter.

Now, here’s proof positive the Likudniks don’t want peace with the Palestinians on any terms…

Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says

PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel rejects offer fearing renewal of only low-grade talks…

…The Palestinian proposal was reputedly the result of heavy pressure applied by Quartet members – the United States, the European Union, Russian, and the United Nations – on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks before January 26…

…Quartet officials – especially EU – made it clear to the Palestinians that they would bear equal responsibility in the event that the two sides would not resume talks by late January…

…With one month to the Quartet deadline, the two sides haven’t even held predatory meetings that were supposed to take place two months ago, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were supposed to set the talks agenda.

The Israeli official indicated that Israel rejects the Palestinian offer for two reasons: 1) That is replaces one precondition with another, and 2) since officials say the Palestinian proposal is too vague and did not make it clear whether the prisoners’ release will lead to full talks that would include meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas or just the preparatory sessions…

…News of the new PA proposal came after on Sunday, Netanyahu commented on the recent moves by Fatah and Hamas to set up a unity government, saying that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a government be established.

“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors.

He added that he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, anywhere, in order to renew negotiations

Now, isn’t this reassuring…

Israel, U.S. discuss triggers for military strike on Iran

The Daily Beast reports that the countries are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities…

Please read this entire, well-researched, and chilling article, Tom Burghhardt wrote recently…

Red Lines and Ticking Clocks: U.S. War Plans Against Iran

Wars don’t just happen.

Before the first bomb falls disinformation specialists prepare the ground.

Leading media outlets, foreign policy journals and a plethora of think tanks funded by elite foundations, energy and weapons’ conglomerates, “right,” “left” or “center” take your pick, churn out war propaganda disguised as “analysis.”

From the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP), rhetorical skirmishes aside, the line is remarkably similar.

Indeed, for “conservative” and “liberal” elite bloviators alike, Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel and America’s regional “allies,” a disparate crew of land-grabbing colonizers, murderous princes and profligate potentates.

Only U.S. intervention, in the form of an overt military attack now or crippling economic sanctions followed by military action later, can save the day and bring “democracy” to the benighted Iranian people…

{snip}

…That an attack on Iran might set-off a global conflict with far-reaching, and deadly, consequences was underscored by Russia Today.

Analyst Col. Vladimir Popov said that “if in the midst [of an attack on Iran] Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all of the adversary’s attacks against Armenia will be repelled by Russia in conjunction with Armenian anti-missile defense forces.”

“The analyst does not exclude the possibility of Russia’s military involvement in the Iranian conflict.”

“‘In the worst-case scenario’,” Popov told RT, “‘if Tehran is facing complete military defeat after a land invasion of the US and NATO troops, Russia will provide its military support–at least on a military-technical level.”

As the United States, Israel and NATO prepare the ground for war against Iran, and with operations already underway by the U.S. and NATO to effect “regime change” in Syria, Iran’s close regional ally, the pieces of a slow-motion global catastrophe are falling into place.

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

A Look at The New Israeli Cables

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Dr. Noam Chomsky – Wikileaks,Israel & Palestine Part 2

Although that Democracy Now clip is a bit dated, the points made are still very relevant. With the recent release of about 4,000 new cables from both, the smaller Consulate in Jerusalem, and, our much larger Embassy in Tel Aviv, by Wikileaks, I felt that I should revisit Noam Chomsky. Now, I’ve been busy perusing them and wanted to highlight a few of them. I also want to offer up some of my own observations on the context and substance of the cables. Btw, If you’d like to read some on your own, and even contribute your own input, Kevin Gosztola has provided some great links: Cablegate Search, Cabledrum, and, on Twitter search hashtag #wlfind…!

First a general observation, when Bibi had crowed that ‘Wikileaks completely vindicates Israel,’ and, even thundered that ’60 years of Propaganda against Israel has failed’, I would posit instead that 60 years of Hasbara has indeed been highly successful…!

Seriously…! Virtually every CoDel(Congressional Delegation) cable I’ve read always seems to have a reference to Iran and their purported pursuit of a Nuke! Here’s a great example: Rep. Wexler Discusses Iran With IDF Intelligence. I have concentrated more on the CoDel’s as they appear to provide the meatier tidbits. What I’ve also focused in on was the Cast Lead time frame. Before I delve into some of the specific cables, I want to make a few more general observations.

Most of the cables issued by our Consulate in Jerusalem appear to be nothing more than a daily recap of all the Israeli/Palestinian headlines, and, are in fact labelled ‘Israel Media Reaction’. Damn I can do that job, I already do it daily anyways! Maybe I could telecommute…?

What I’ve also gleaned from my readings is that the Jerusalem Consulate is more open to the plight of the Palestinians than the Embassy personnel ensconced in Tel Aviv! In that, our Consul dutifully reports OCHA’s regular findings and Tel Aviv tends to completely ignore them! But, I digress…

What I’ve also discerned from my perusal was that the Palestine Papers were completely vindicated in their withering exposure of the PA’s complicity in suppressing the Palestinians…

Here’s a great example…

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SECURITY OFFICIALS ON COORDINATION WITH ISRAEL

…In meetings held in Ramallah on February 7(2010), PA security officials stated their continued commitment to security coordination with Israel. Minister of Interior Said Abu Ali told Post, “We support coordination if it is in the spirit of implementing Oslo,” noting that cooperation benefits both sides. However, he said, publicity about Israeli-Palestinian security coordination threatens the sustainability of the PA’s security campaign. It is essential to depoliticize these contacts and keep them out of the public eye, he noted. (emphasis added)

Even the Shin Bet Chief had crowed all about it…

SHIN BET CHIEF ON GOI-PA SECURITY COOPERATION

During a January 5 meeting, Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Director Yuval Diskin gave a frank account of the December 26 Israeli operation in Nablus and his assessment of the current state of Israel-PA security cooperation. Diskin noted that he had publicly cited real improvements across the board in PASF willingness and ability to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror networks on the West Bank. He said he was also satisfied with the level of information and intelligence sharing between the PA and the GOI, which he characterized as “not fully transparent, but transparent enough.” Diskin noted that bilateral security cooperation is the best that it has been in the last 16 years, since the Oslo Agreement. He added, however, that this impressive progress had to be measured from a very low base; things had been so bad in the past that many root problems remain.

Ironically, that was the first cable that I’d actually seen names edited out by Wikileaks.

Now, in focusing on the Cast Lead time frame some of the more poignant ones…

From a week prior to Cast Lead…

A PROLIFERATION OF MESSAGES AS ISRAEL AND HAMAS APPROACH THE SIX-MONTH “TAHDIYAH” ANNIVERSARY

…In the absence of any published policy directive on Gaza from the
December 10 trilateral meeting of Olmert, Barak and Livni, the
Israeli media is focused on perceived policy differences within the
GOI. The media reports that Minister of Defense Barak favors
renewal of the truce between Israel and Hamas while Foreign Minister
Livni and others are portrayed as advocates of military action. In
fact, Barak has stated publicly that Israel will determine how and
when it responds to Hamas, and his advisor and envoy, (ret.) MG Amos
Gilad, who visited Cairo on December 14, reportedly threatened that
Israel would “change the rules” if a cease-fire is not restored.
Meanwhile, Israeli dailies reported on conflicting Hamas
perspectives on future of the truce after its first six-month
anniversary on December 19.

——————————————— –
BARAK AND GILAD: WAITING TIL THE TIME IS RIGHT
——————————————— –

¶2. Israel’s position on the “tahdiyah” (loosely translated as
“truce”) was clarified by the action of Defense Minister Barak, who
dispatched his top aide Amos Gilad to Cairo December 14 to discuss
the possible extension of the truce with Hamas. According to a
report in the mass circulation Yediot Aharonot on December 14, Gilad
carried a message for Hamas to the effect that if the rocket fire
continues, Israel will “change the rules.” In an earlier December 8
radio interview, Gilad elaborated: “we are dealing with an enemy
… that will get what is coming to it.
…The right timing is of
great importance, because striking without preparing for the results
that follow, is not enough. … At the moment, we are taking such
steps as the closing of crossings to convince them that it is of no
benefit to commit murderous attacks on Israeli civilians. …The IDF
is prepared and is preparing for the right time to strike.”

Here’s another one that was issued during Cast Lead…

“SAVING GAZA TO SAVE THE PLO”

Main Stories:
————-
The situation in Gaza continues to dominate all Palestinian news
outlets. Al Quds leads with news of the rescue of four Palestinian
children clinging to the bodies of their dead mothers killed in the
Gaza fighting. The paper adds, in red font headlines, that bodies
of 50 Palestinians were found in the Gaza rubble, bringing the
Palestinian death toll to 767. The paper also reports on Israeli
overnight strikes that killed four Palestinians, one of whom was a
photographer for Palestinian Authority President Abbas. All front
pages highlight UNRWA’s decision to suspend operations in Gaza after
Israeli “attacks” on its personnel and facilities.
Al Ayyam and Al Hayat Al Jadida lead with “agreement” at the UN
Security Council over a draft resolution calling for an immediate
ceasefire in Gaza, while Al Quds highlights that the UN Human Rights
Council will hold an emergency session on January 9, “to pressure
Israel” on operations in Gaza. Al Ayyam’s front page adds that
Israel is, “determined to commit more crimes” as Palestinians
continue to die in the Israeli military operation. Al Hayat Al
Jadida’s front page adds that the “Gaza massacre” continues, as more
Palestinians are found dead under the rubble. Al Ayyam and Al Hayat
Al Jadida front page reports that one Israeli army officer and two
other soldiers were killed, and 13 soldiers injured on January 8.

In news on U.S. actions, Al Hayat Al Jadida’s front page reports
that Secretary Rice and her French and British counterparts have
decided to extend their stay in New York to continue work with Arab
counterparts on a Gaza draft resolution that will be put to a UN
Security Council vote on January 9. Both Al Hayat Al Jadida’s and
Al Quds’ front pages cite news agencies in reporting that the U.S.
Congress has voted to formally express support for the Israeli
“aggression” on Gaza.
The Congress called for a ceasefire agreement
that will prevent Hamas from using Gaza as a base to fire rockets
into Israel. Al Quds’ inside page cites AFP in reporting that a
State Department spokesman stated on January 8 that the U.S. is
asking Israel to increase the number of hours of the daily
“humanitarian pause” in Gaza. He also described the humanitarian
situation in Gaza as “dire”

Dire indeed…! I almost chuckled when I’d read this title…

LEFT-WING GENERALS ON GAZA SITUATION

SUMMARY: Retired IDF General Daniel Rothschild, President
of the Council for Peace and Security, briefed the diplomatic corps
on January 12 at Peace Now on the background and future of the Gaza
operation. Rothschild believes that Operation Cast Lead has
achieved deterrence, and Israel is ready for a ceasefire. The two
biggest obstacles, he explained, are the Hamas leadership in
Damascus (Hamas-Damascus) and the Egyptians; Hamas-Damascus because
it does not feel the same pressure as Hamas in Gaza, and Egypt
because it is not pushing Hamas enough for fear of appearing to be
Israeli collaborators. Looking to the future, Rothschild believes
that in six months either Iran will increase its influence in Gaza,
or there will be anarchy fueled by armed gangs. In a separate
conversation on January 12, retired General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak told
the Embassy that Israel will continue to fight until Hamas accepts
an unlimited ceasefire, and will not leave troops in Gaza after the
ceasefire. Both Lipkin-Shahak and Rothschild are highly respected
former IDF generals now associated with the left, and while neither
hold a government position, both remain influential thinkers. End
SUMMARY.

…¶5. (SBU) In a separate conversation on January 12, Lipkin-Shahak
told the Embassy that considerable damage had been done to Hamas and
its military wing, and the IDF would do considerably more if Hamas
failed to go to a ceasefire. However, he cautioned that there is no
military solution to Hamas in Gaza, and in the end a political
defeat will be needed. For that to happen, he said that the PA will
need finish making itself into a real government, and deal with
reform and corruption. He assessed that Hamas had won the 2006
elections because it was not corrupt.

Fancy that…! Hamas won because it was not corrupt like Fatah and the PA…!

Anyways, I’m still reading them and will post on more of them. I would greatly appreciate any new nuggets that ya’ll might come across if you want to take a gander at some of them…! If you can’t link to them, please cite the cable # and when it was ‘created’. For instance, that last cable is 09 Tel Aviv 99, created 2009-01-13…

Happy Hunting…!