GERTZ - "They [Hamas] are forcefully pushing us into Gaza," National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said.
The sources said Olmert has presented the plan to the Bush administration. They said Olmert has urged Western leaders to support the establishment of a non-Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, which would be monitored and assisted by the international community.
BIG BIG MISTAKE. Unless, responsibility for the welfare of the people (food, electricity, water, economy) is given over completely to non Israeli sources. Now that would be a great thing, but who is that crazy?
The sources said the military has not clamored for an immediate invasion of the Gaza Strip. Instead, the General Staff has sought to adopt the model of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, in which a military assault would be preceded by the destruction of Hamas command and control and other military facilities.
Trucks carrying goods to the Gaza strip drive past Israeli tanks at the Sufa crossing between Israel and Gaza, on Feb. 18. AP/Sebastian Scheiner
"The idea is to diminish their defenses and eliminate their commanders to the point where we can quickly enter Gaza, control most or all of the strip and destroy the regime," a government source said. "This will minimize international reaction and our own casualties."
An Iraq invasion which would have ended in May 2003?
The sources said Olmert has approved the military effort, in principle, but was not ready to order the launch of the military operation. They said Olmert has been lobbying U.S. President George Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel for support.
"There will be a heavy economic and political cost to this operation," [Res.] Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, former chief of the military's Southern Command, said.
The Israeli military plan envisioned the use of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers, backed by helicopters, warships and main battle tanks, to invade the Gaza Strip from at least four direction, including the Mediterranean Sea. Unlike previous short-lived operations, the sources said, the Israeli force would capture and destroy the Hamas government, military bases, arsenals and divide the strip into three regions.
I'm envisioning the protests around the world against the 'new nazis'.
At that point, the Israeli force would destroy the infrastructure of all Palestinian insurgency groups as well as those of crime families. Israeli troops would also target weapons tunnels that connect the divided city of Rafah and secure the Sinai-Gaza border. The entire operation was expected to take about two weeks.
"The plan is ready, but it requires [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's approval," a government source said. "Nobody believes he will approve it unless he gets explicit permission from the United States."
Israel's military would also remain on high alert along the Lebanese border for the prospect of rocket attacks by the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. Hamas and Hizbullah have been regarded as strategic partners, and the sources said Iran and Syria could order retaliatory strikes from Lebanon.
A regional middle east war in an American presidential election year. Hmmmmmm.....Obama on stage for truly committed explanation of his view on that.
Under the plan, Israel would eventually withdraw from the Gaza Strip but remain along the border area with Egypt. One scenario envisioned an early Israeli withdrawal should NATO or another Western force assume security.
As long as there is a HAMAS, there can never be peace. As long as their positions on the existence of Israel represent s the majority of palestinians there will always be a HAMAS. As long at the muslim brotherhood's influence is felt among the imams in Islam, there will always be wide support for a HAMAS.