The next Israeli massacre foretold

Haaretz on the next war on Gaza (Amos Harel)

The next round will likely be more intense than previous campaigns – more rockets of higher accuracy and greater range, “from Dimona northward,” as Military Intelligence puts it. To put a stop to the firing, the IDF will have to use considerable force, combining massive firepower with the deployment of ground forces.

On the first day of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the U.S. secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, presented then-prime minister Ehud Olmert with two red lines: Israel must not attack strategic infrastructures, or targets identified with the Washington-backed government of Fuad Siniora. But with the exception of these two constraints (and despite the fact that Dan Halutz, who was chief of staff at the time, claims that they were why Israel did not win), the United States barely intervened. During Operation Cast Lead the Bush administration was in its final days and Olmert decided to end the operation just before the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Short wars

The calm on the Lebanese border is deceptive. All that’s needed to spark a war is one significant terror incident, such as the kidnapping of a soldier in the north or a Hezbollah attack on Israeli tourists abroad. Hardly a week goes by without Defense Minister Ehud Barak issuing a threat to the effect that Israel will hold the government of Lebanon directly responsible for any aggression from its territory. But the limitations Rice imposed on Olmert could become valid again under Obama and after Goldstone.

According to a report by Nahum Barnea in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Netanyahu has already drawn his conclusions from the Goldstone report: Israel must fight only short wars, which will end before the international community wakes up. This is a systematic doctrine whose chief advocate in the General Staff is the head of the Planning Branch (and a former fighter pilot), Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel. “Short” is almost code for “aerial.” It takes far longer to mount a meaningful ground maneuver than to bomb Beirut from the air. At the moment of truth, Israel will face a serious dilemma: Should it initiate a massive blow to remove the danger, despite the major international damage this would cause?

Top Defense Ministry officials admit today about the Gaza campaign what was publicly denied 10 months ago. The assumption was that a large number of IDF dead would bring about public pressure to stop the fighting and would make it difficult to present it as an achievement, on the eve of last February’s general election. Thus the General Staff decided to use massive force and wreak major destruction on the ground in order to preserve the lives of Israeli soldiers.

Emphasis added.

Gideon Levy defends Goldstone from Peres. There’s one line which I found curious: “He may or may not have exaggerated a bit in his report, but Peres’ silence over what happened is much more shameful.” What does Levy think was exaggeration? Surely this is an unreasonable way to deal with Goldstone’s report.


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