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Israel’s real targets in the Gaza Strip

19.11.2012 11:34

T.Alekseev

Last week, the confrontation was heightened between Israel and Palestine. On November 14, 2012, Israel launched a massive air strike operation against the Palestinian Hamas movement, which is the main force in the Gaza Strip.

The official stated goal of the operation that was called "the Pillar of Cloud" is to stop shelling of Israeli territory by Palestinian unguided missiles. The operation's main objectives were the destruction of the Hamas group's major military infrastructures and its political, military and religious leaders. Only recently a few people who headed the radical directions of Hamas, in particular, a leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, have been eliminated.

Israel also does not rule out a ground invasion into the Gaza (in case the need arises), and the government began the reserve draft. Besides, the military command began to pull in troops and armored vehicles to the Strip borders, which probably should be further evidence of seriousness of Israel's intentions. The Israeli leadership has also political reasons for launching the military operation.

Firstly, the forthcoming elections to the Knesset ? the Parliament of the State of Israel in January 2013. War can bring serious political dividends to all the three major Israeli parties, in particular, to add votes to the bloc of Netanyahu and Lieberman.

The second objective reason is the Israeli government's warfare training against Iran. To attack the objectives in Iran and to avoid a possible response from both sides - from Iran and from Hamas, the Israeli government had previously prompted Hamas to attack now in order to use up all of their military capabilities that can not be quickly restored.

Currently over a hundred targets in the Gaza Strip have been attacked from air, sea and land: arms depots, missile launchers, police stations and residences of the Hamas leadership. The IAF F-16 Falcon fighter-bombers are involved in air raids.

The Israeli army also bombed targets of the information infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. On November 18 the building, which houses the media offices was attacked. For example, the Al Quds TV, which is considered close to Hamas, is located there. Along with that, there are also the Italian RAI TV channel's Palestinian editorial offices, the German ARD TV and Radio Company, Kuwait-TV channel, and the office of the Russia Today TV company. The blow was struck to stop broadcasting in the Gaza Strip of the information sources with the opinion other than the Israeli.

Both sides are actively using the Internet, especially the Twitter social network where there is an active discussion of current events. They also use the YouTube video portal by means of which videos on the military operations appear in the Internet. Israel, for example, has uploaded a video of the Palestinians receiving the Iranian missiles and launched full-time chronicle of the war on its own web site.

In turn, the Hamas militant groups and other Palestinian groups have continued shelling of Israel. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Beer Sheva and other communities were attacked by ballistic missile strikes. For the first time, the Palestinian missiles were intercepted when approaching Tel Aviv and Dimona nuclear center.

The world community's reaction to these events proved to be generally fairly restrained. The U.S. and British leaders adopted a pro-Israel position, the European countries the neutral one and the Arab states came out for of the Palestinians. U.S. President Barack Obama said that Israel has a right to defend itself from Palestinian missiles, but for both sides it would be cheaper to resolve the matter peacefully, not leading to a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Currently in Cairo there are informal peace talks between the sides. The Palestinians demand not only an end to Israeli incursions into the Gaza Strip, refusal of targeted killings of group leaders, but also the complete reversal of the coastal blockade of the enclave. Israel, according to Palestinian MAAN agency, originally sought a truce for more than 15 years; cessation of weapons deliveries into the Gaza Strip, missile attacks and attacks on the military at the border, the right to prosecute fighters if there is information of an impending attack.

In the course of the talks, the Israelis, whose representative, according to media reports, is secretly in Cairo, removed the claim to disarm Hamas, to completely stop attacks, and to grant international guarantees of implementation of potential agreements. According to experts, if the negotiation process fails and the proposed terms are rejected, Israel threatens to launch in a few days a full-scale land, sea and air operation in the Gaza Strip, and to continue it until the overthrow of the Hamas regime.

Thus, in the course of a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel intends to cause substantial damage to the organization's military infrastructure elements, its military-political and spiritual leadership, as well as to significantly reduce the possibility of information impact on the Arab world in general.