Israel Plans Major Gaza War - by Stephen Lendman
Expect more war on Gaza in 2012.
Israel already threatens war on Iran. It's also involved with Washington, Turkey, Jordan, and other rogue Arab states behind Syria's externally generated insurgency.
Gaza's also threatened. On January 1, Haaretz writer Amos Harel headlined "Will 2012 bring another Israeli war against Hamas in Gaza?" saying:
Repeated Israeli air strikes and incursions target Gaza. Perhaps they precede a broader offensive. Israel's IDF chief Benny Gantz "said on Army radio that 'Operation Cast Lead was carried out in a professional, determined manner, and significantly strengthened Israel's deterrent strength.' "
At the same time, he suggested another round of fighting is likely. "Particularly worrisome (are the alleged) weapons smuggl(ed) into the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have....many thousands of rockets; hundreds" able to reach central Israel, said Harel.
As a result, "the IDF is preparing itself for the possibility of a land operation in another few months."
On January 16, Jerusalem Post writer Yaakov Katz headlined, "IDF preparing for major Gaza action within months," saying:
"The IDF General Staff has ordered the Southern Command to prepare for a possible large Gaza operation that could occur within the next few months, the Jerusalem Post has learned."
If true, preparations have been ongoing much longer. Three years ago, Southern Command head General Yoav Galant trained forces for two years prior to Cast Lead. Plans involved inflicting major damage while limiting Israeli casualties.
Now, said Katz, operational plans are being finalized and distributed to IDF units to be deployed against Gaza.
During Cast Lead, brigade units were used. They combined armor, infantry and combat engineer forces. Cast Lead's model will be replicated. Gaza Division head General Yossi Bachar plans "significantly larger" operations than last time.
"Every officer will need to know where he needs to be with his troops and what his mission will be," according to an unnamed senior IDF official. "Gaza has changed and the weaponry in Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's hands has significantly grown in quantity and quality."
Katz said Hamas' military wing is over 20,000 strong in five brigades. Each has a number of battalions. "(S)pecial teams" have "anti-tank missiles, mortar and rocket fire and anti-aircraft shoulder-to-air missiles."
Orders to attack aren't issued. Preparations are ongoing to be ready "at a moment's notice and if needed."