Thursday, March 06, 2008

After meeting Condi, Israeli officials start planning for a forced mass evacuation of Palestinians from northern Gaza: Israeli TV

Some reports in English have noted that the Israeli Security Cabinet yesterday decided against any more attempted "partial stoppages" of the rocket attacks, in favor of a "complete stoppage", but they don't explain what that means. Al-Quds Al-Arabi this morning has this:

A journalist monitoring Israeli television from Nazareth in the West Bank reports:
Channel Two of Israeli Television disclosed yesterday, Wednesday, that the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has gotten the green light from the Security and Political Council of Ministers, which met yesterday to decide how to end the problem of the Qassam rockets, to initiate implementation of the new plan aimed an ending the problem of the Palestinian Qassam rockets aimed at southern Israel.

The televised report cited high-level security sources as saying Barak intends to plan for the removal of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, namely from the region that the resistance uses for the launch of these rockets, and to move them toward Gaza City and to confine them there. The Israeli reporter added that Barak is turning to legal advisers in the Defence Ministry, in order to obtain legal authorization for the removal of the Palestinian civilians. Barak is also asking Professor David Friedmann, minister of Israeli Affairs [Justice Minister], who supports toughening of penalties on Gaza to end the launching of rockets, in order to obtain his authorization to begin execution of the plan.

The reporter said that once [or if] the plan becomes operational, it would start immediately: In the first stage there would be a drop of leaflets advising residents to leave their homes, in addition to special radio announcements in Arabic directed to the residents, and in the event residents didn't obey the warnings, the occupation army would begin bombing the inhabited areas, in order to compel them to leave their homes and go to Gaza City.

The Council [of Ministers], which met yesterday after the departure of the American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, stressed that they did not agree with previous army planning for [only] a partial end to the Qassam rockets. And the Council decided to target the leaders of Hamas, political and military alike, and to desroy every symbol of Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip.


Blogger Dr. Mathews said...

On the other hand, there is this news item:

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is considered a terrorist group by Washington. U.S. law forbids official contacts. Nonetheless, the Bush administration is giving quiet support for Egypt's attempt to broker a deal with Hamas for a truce in Gaza.

Under this approach, which U.S. officials and Mideast diplomats confirmed, Hamas would halt rocket attacks from Gaza. Israel would agree not to launch the kind of military incursions that nearly wrecked the U.S.-sponsored peace talks last weekend and would ease its blockade of Gaza.

"It's better to have a stable situation right now than to have Hamas doing what Hamas was doing, which was pulling the thread," a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

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