Saturday, November 03, 2007

War is Peace

The Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar, citing diplomatic sources, said this morning (Saturday Nov 3) the US administration has given the green light to Israel to launch a wide-ranging attack on the Gaza Strip, although timing is complicated by preparations for the Annapolis peace conference. The paper said the planned incursion is based on Israeli intelligence warnings about the arming of various Palestinian groups, including an allegation about funding from Lebanese Hizbullah, and Israeli demands for more US pressure on Egypt on the issue of arms-smuggling.

The paper sayd the US "green light" was based on reports that Ehud Barak brought with him on his recent visit to Washington, warning of increased arming and financing of three different groups: Qassam Bridages (Hamas); Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad); and Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah). The reports allege among other things that the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have received "huge funding" from various parties, particularly the Lebanese Hizbullah. Among the changes and reorganizations going on, the reports say there are dozens of senior people who had military positions in the government of Gaza before it fell last June, who have now joined the Quds Brigades. And the newspaper says the reports put particular stress on the issue of arms-smuggling from Egypt. "This is also an issue [the reports say], that cannot be dealt with without a broad military operation, that will have to be continued for a long time, in order to eliminate the financing that is doing this weapons-smuggling, and this is something that requires right now a limited military operation in order to assemble as much intelligence as possible on the funding sources and their size and the means of getting them under control".

The sources said Olmert and Barak have since then been meeting frequently to work out the timing and other details for the attack on Gaza, adding however that the American green light is being complicated or held up by current multi-party efforts to come up with some kind of an Israel-Palestine agreement ahead of the Annapolis peace conference. They said the Israeli troops currently on the Gaza border are receiving instructions and training, in preparation for a giant military operation in the Gaza Strip which will begin in the north and central parts of the Gaza Strip, and then be extended throughout.


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