Archive for military operation

Israeli terrorism – nobody to condemn?

Posted in Israel, Palestine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by indonesiaunderground


Written by

Monday, 29 December 2008 03:34

We have witnessed terrorism at its barbaric best in Gaza since yesterday. Israeli terrorism has not even be condemned by the so-called ‘United Nations’ organization, which has proved once again that it is only functioning as an anti-Muslim body.
Israeli F-16 bombers have unleashed their full fury at innocent Palestinians and over 280 civilians have been reported dead. We now hear that after the aerial death and destruction, Israel has prepared its land forces to move into Gaza.

The number of civilian casualties is at least two times the number of casualties that occurred in the Mumbai carnage, yet there is no public outcry. How long will we ignore this hypocrisy of the international community?

Hamas, has vowed to retaliate, saying Israel had violated an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire intended to stem violence in the region.

“We will stand up, we will defend our own people, we will defend our land and we will not give up,” senior spokesman Osama Hamdan said.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad, blatantly supported Israel’s contention that it was up to Hamas to stop the violence. Such is the absurdity of the international community that helpless civilians are being crushed for NO REASON!

“Israel has the right to self defense and nothing in this press statement should be read as anything but that,” Khalilzad said.

I, on my part, condemn aggression of the Zionist forces and support of the United States of America in the strongest possible terms. May God damn these Zionist forces to hell.

Source :

Israeli Troops Mass Along Border; Arab Anger Rises

Posted in Israel, Palestine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

Published: December 28, 2008

GAZA — Israeli troops and tanks massed along the Gaza border and the government said it had called up reserves for a possible ground operation, as the death toll increased to nearly 300 after Israeli aircraft pounded Gaza for a second day on Sunday.

The continued strikes, which Israel said were in retaliation for sustained rocket fire from Gaza into its territory, unleashed a furious reaction across the Arab world, raising fears of greater instability in the region.

Much of the anger was also directed at Egypt, seen by Hamas and some nearby governments as having acceded to Israel’s military action by sealing its border with Gaza and forcing back many Palestinians at gunpoint who were trying to escape the destruction.

Witnesses at the Rafah border crossing described a chaotic scene as young men tried to force their way across into Egypt, amid sporadic exchanges of gunfire between Hamas and Egyptian forces. Egyptian state television reported that one Egyptian border guard was killed by a Hamas gunman. A Palestinian man was killed by an Egyptian guard near Rafah, Reuters reported.

In Gaza, officials said medical services, stretched to the breaking point after 18 months of Israeli sanctions, were on the verge of collapse as they struggled to care for the more than 600 people wounded in two days.

At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, women wailed as they searched for relatives among bodies that lay strewn on the hospital floor. One doctor said that given the dearth of facilities, not much could be done for the seriously wounded, and that it was “better to be brought in dead.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross appealed on Sunday for urgent humanitarian assistance, including medical supplies, to be allowed to enter Gaza. Israeli officials said that some aid had been allowed in through one of the crossings. Egypt temporarily opened the Rafah crossing on Saturday to allow some of the wounded to be taken to Egyptian hospitals.

Israel made a strong push to justify the attacks, saying it was forced into military action to defend its citizens. At the same time, the supreme religious leader of Iran and the leader of Hezbollah expressed strong support for Hamas.

Across Gaza, families huddled indoors as Israeli jets streaked overhead. Residents said that there were long blackouts and that they had no cooking gas. Some ventured out to receive bread rations at bakeries or to brave the streets to claim their dead at the hospitals. There were few mass funerals; rather, families buried the victims in small ceremonies.

At dusk on Sunday, Israeli fighter jets bombed over 40 tunnels along Gaza’s border with Egypt. The Israeli military said that the tunnels, on the Gaza side of the border, were used for smuggling weapons, explosives and fugitives. Gazans also use many of them to import consumer goods and fuel in order to get around the Israeli-imposed economic blockade.

In the first two days of the operation Israeli jets destroyed at least 30 targets in Gaza, including the main security compound and prison in Gaza City known as the Saraya, metal workshops throughout Gaza that were suspected of manufacturing rockets, and Hamas military posts.

Hamas said Israel bombed a government ministry compound and the Islamic University in Gaza, a stronghold of Hamas, late Sunday night. The Hamas-owned television station Al Aqsa was also struck, as was a mosque that the Israeli military said was being used as a terrorist base.

On Monday, Israeli warplanes bombed the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, Reuters reported, based on a Hamas statement.

Israel appeared to be settling in for a longer haul. The government on Sunday approved the emergency call-up of thousands of army reservists in preparation for a possible ground operation as Israeli troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and armored bulldozers massed at the border.

Speaking before the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said the army “will deepen and broaden its actions as needed” and “will continue to act.” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel’s goal was not to reoccupy Gaza, which it left unilaterally in 2005, but to “restore normal life and quiet to residents of the south” of Israel.

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, appeared on American talk shows to press Israel’s case. She said on “Fox News Sunday” that the operation “is needed in order to change the realities on the ground, and to give peace and quiet to the citizens in southern Israel.”

Militants in Gaza fired barrages of rockets and mortar shells the farthest yet into Israel on Sunday. One rocket fell in Gan Yavneh, a village near the major port city of Ashdod, almost 20 miles north of Gaza. Two landed in the coastal city of Ashkelon. Several Israelis were wounded.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, told reporters that Israel had started a “war” but that it would not be able to choose how it would end. He called for revenge in the form of strikes reaching “deep into the Zionist entity using all means,” including suicide attacks.

The hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens now within rocket range have been instructed by the authorities to stay close to protected spaces.

In Lebanon, the leader of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, put his fighters on alert, expressing strong support for Hamas and saying that he believed Israel might try to wage a two-front war, as it did in 2006. He called for a mass demonstration in Beirut on Monday. And he, too, denounced Egypt’s leaders. “If you don’t open the borders, you are accomplices in the killing,” he said in a televised speech.

Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned the silence of some Arab countries, which he said had prepared the grounds for the “catastrophe,” an Iranian news agency, ISNA, reported.

“The horrible crime of the Zionist regime in Gaza has once again revealed the bloodthirsty face of this regime from disguise,” he said in a statement. “But worse than this catastrophe is the encouraging silence of some Arab countries who claim to be Muslim,” he said, apparently in a reference to Egypt and Jordan.

Egypt has mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians and between Hamas and Hamas’s rival, Fatah, leaving it open to criticism that it is too willing to work with Israel. In turn, Egypt and other Western-allied Sunni Arab nations are deeply opposed to Hezbollah and Hamas, which they see as extensions of Iran, their Shiite nemesis.

Across the region, the Israeli strikes were being broadcast in grisly detail almost continually on Arab satellite networks.

In the Syrian capital, Damascus, a large group of protesters marched to Yusuf al Azmeh Square, where they chanted slogans and burned Israeli and American flags.

In Beirut, protesters were bused to a rally outside the United Nations building, holding up Palestinian flags and Hamas banners. Muhammad Mazen Ibrahim, a 25-year-old Palestinian who lives in one of the refugee camps here, choked up when asked about the assault on Gaza.

“There’s an agreement between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel against Hamas,” he said. “They want to end them; all the countries are in league against Hamas, but God willing, we will win.”

That sentiment is widespread here. Many see Ms. Livni’s visit to Cairo last week as evidence that Egypt, eager to be rid of Hamas, had consented to the airstrikes.

The anger echoes what happened in July 2006, when the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt publicly blamed Hezbollah for starting the conflict with Israel. Popular rage against Israel soon forced the leaders to change their positions.

Hamas, sworn to the destruction of Israel, took control of Gaza when it ousted Fatah last year. An Egyptian-brokered six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, always shaky, began to unravel in early November. It expired 10 days ago.

Smoke rose at the site of an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: Eyad Baba/Associated Press)
A family fled the scene of a missile strike at Rafah. Over the past two days, Israeli jets have destroyed at least 30 targets in Gaza. (Photo: Hatem Omar/MaanImages, via Associated Press)
The body of a Hamas security officer in a destroyed building. Across Gaza, families huddled indoors as Israeli jets streaked overhead. (Photo: Fadi Adwan/Associated Press)

Edi Israel/European Pressphoto Agency – Plumes of dark smoke rose from Gaza City during the Israeli airstrike

Suhaib Salem/Reuters – Palestinians evacuated a wounded man after an Israeli air strike on Hamas compounds in Gaza on Saturday

Hatem Omar/Associated Press – An injured Palestinian was helped from the rubble after an Israeli airstrike struck Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Saturday

Source : The New York Times

With Strikes, Israel Reminds Foes It Has Teeth

Posted in Israel with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

Published: December 28, 2008

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military operation in Gaza is aimed primarily at forcing Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup. But it has another goal as well: to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence.

On the second day of the offensive, which has already killed hundreds and is devastating Hamas’s resources, Israeli commanders on Sunday were lining up tanks and troops at the border. But they were also insisting that they did not intend to reoccupy the coastal strip of 1.5 million Palestinians or to overthrow the Hamas government there.

This is because whatever might replace Hamas — anarchy, for example — could in fact be worse for Israel’s security. So the goal, as stated by a senior military official, is “to stop the firing against our civilians in the south and shape a different and new security situation there.”

This means another peace treaty with Hamas, but one that has more specific terms than the one that ended 10 days ago. Such a concrete goal, however, should not obscure the fact that Israel has a larger concern — it worries that its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be. Israeli leaders are calculating that a display of power in Gaza could fix that.

“In the cabinet room today there was an energy, a feeling that after so long of showing restraint we had finally acted,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking of the weekly government meeting that he attended.

Mark Heller, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that that energy reflected the deep feeling among average Israelis that the country had to regain its deterrent capacity.

“There has been a nagging sense of uncertainty in the last couple years of whether anyone is really afraid of Israel anymore,” he said. “The concern is that in the past — perhaps a mythical past — people didn’t mess with Israel because they were afraid of the consequences. Now the region is filled with provocative rhetoric about Israel the paper tiger. This operation is an attempt to re-establish the perception that if you provoke or attack you are going to pay a disproportionate price.”

Numerous commentators on Sunday, both in Israel and in the Arab world, noted that the shadow of the 2006 Lebanon war was hanging over the attack on Gaza. Then, Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Islamist group, was lobbing deadly rockets into Israel with apparent impunity and had captured an Israeli soldier in a crossborder raid.

Israel invaded southern Lebanon and for 34 days carried out air, sea and land assaults before a truce was negotiated. But Hezbollah, by successfully shooting thousands of rockets into Israel while under attack and sounding defiant to the end, won a great deal of credit among Arabs across the region and used its prestige to grab a decisive role in the Lebanese government.

The risk to Israel in Gaza seems of a parallel nature — that if the operation fails or leaves Hamas in the position of scrappy survivor or even somehow perceived victor, it could then dominate Palestinian politics over the more conciliatory and pro-Western Fatah movement for years to come. Since Hamas, like Hezbollah, is committed to Israel’s destruction, that could pose a formidable strategic challenge.

And despite unwavering expressions of support for Israel from President-elect Barack Obama during his campaign, Israel is also gambling that its aggressive military posture will not alienate the new administration.

There are internal complications as well. At Sunday’s government meeting, Mr. Olmert portrayed the Lebanon war, which he led, not as a failure but as something of a model for the current operation, since the northern border has been completely quiet ever since. But most Israelis disagree.

Israel began that war vowing to decimate Hezbollah without fully realizing the extent of its military infrastructure, underground bunkers and rocket arsenals. And while many in Lebanon and overseas considered Israel’s military activities to be excessive, in Israel the opposite conclusion was reached — that it had been too restrained, too careful about distinguishing between Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon.

“We were not decisive enough, and that will not happen again,” a senior military officer said in reference to that war, speaking on condition of anonymity, some weeks ago. He added, “I have flown over Gaza thousands of times and we know how to hit something within two meters.”

The current operation started only after preparation and intelligence work, military commanders said, leading to a true surprise attack on Saturday and the instant deaths of scores of Hamas men. The Israeli military had mapped out Hamas bases, training camps and missile storehouses and systematically hit them simultaneously in an Israeli version of “shock and awe,” the sudden delivery of overwhelming force.

It was Ehud Barak, the defense minister, who directed the preparations, and politically it is Mr. Barak who stands to gain or lose most. As chairman of the Labor Party, he is running for prime minister in the February elections and polls show him to be a distant third to the Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Kadima leader, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

But if Hamas is driven to a kind of cease-fire and towns in Israel’s south no longer live in fear of constant rocket fire, he will certainly be seen as the kind of leader this country needs. If, on the other hand, the operation takes a disastrous turn or leads to a regional conflagration, his political future seems bleak and he will have given Hamas the kind of prestige it has long sought.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a veteran military correspondent who writes for Yediot Aharonot, said that Mr. Barak had phoned him shortly after the 2006 Lebanon war and said it had been an enormous error. Israel should have waited and prepared before reacting to Hezbollah, choosing its moment and circumstances, he said.

And that, Mr. Ben-Yishai said, is what Mr. Barak did, not only behind the scenes but through a subtle public disinformation campaign. On Friday night, after having decided to launch the operation, he appeared on a satirical television program. An attack seemed at least several days away and Hamas, which had been holding its breath, relaxed. The next day, the Jewish Sabbath and the first day of the Arab workweek, Israel struck.

There is palpable satisfaction at the moment in the Israeli government and the military because the operation so far is seen as a success. Few have focused on the fact that at this stage in the 2006 Lebanon war, there was the same satisfaction — before things turned disastrous.

Source : New York Times.