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
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
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
Orders to attack arenít issued. Preparations are ongoing to be ready
"at a moment's notice and if needed."
According to an unnamed General Staff official, "Gaza is possibly
Israel's most volatile front today. It is a front that can explode
at any given moment." In fact, Hamas and other resistance groups
respond only when attacked. Israel does it belligerently. Victims
Perhaps more slaughter's coming. If so, civilians will suffer most.
Israel calls them legitimate targets. International law prohibits
attacking them. Doing so constitutes crimes of war and against
humanity. Nonetheless, they're standard Israeli policy. Lawlessness
and brutality define its agenda. War strategy embodies them.
Israel notoriously uses false flag incidents to justify attacks or
all-out war. In June 1982, Arafat was falsely blamed for Abu Nidal
militants' attempted assassination of Israeli UK ambassador Shlomo
War on Lebanon followed. Around 18,000 Palestinians were massacred.
Israel occupied South Lebanon until May 2000. It still illegally
holds Sheba Farms, a 14-square mile water-rich area near Syria's
Golan. It's also been lawlessly occupied since 1967 along with
Ghajar, a bordering Lebanese village.
If Israel plans Cast Lead II, expect one or more manufactured
incidents preceding it. The possibility is real. Like Washington,
Israel chooses confrontation, not diplomacy; hostility, not conflict
resolution; and war, not peace. The business of both countries is
war. Expect new theaters opened in 2012.
At the same time, sham peace talks continue in Jordan. Two rounds
were held. Two more are planned on January 21 and January 26.
Nothing's been accomplished. Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands.
Longtime collaborator Abbas never represented Palestinian interests
and doesn't now.
WikiLeaks cables disclosed Israel informed him of Cast Lead before
launching it. During the slaughter, his silence showed complicity.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak's telegrams to US deputy ambassador Luis
Moreni said Israel asked if Egypt and Fatah would take over Gaza
once Israel defeated Hamas.
At issue now is what do they know about possible new attacks, and
how will they respond if launched?
A Final Comment
On December 26, Israel's High Court ruled that state and private
Israeli companies may plunder Palestinian West Bank quarries. Doing
so violated international law and past Supreme Court decisions.
Expect Israel to take full advantage. At issue is controlling all
Palestinian resources and valued land. In March 2009, Yesh Din human
rights volunteers petitioned the High Court to prevent it. On
January 10, they requested another hearing for reconsideration. It
posed the following questions:
(1) What are Israel's boundaries with respect to Palestinian
resources? In addition, under military occupation, how do 1907 Hague
Convention Articles 43 and 55 apply?
Article 43 says occupiers "shall take all the measures in (their)
power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and
safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in
force in the country."
Article 55 stipulates that occupiers are regarded only as
administrators with temporary possession over "public buildings,
real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the
hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must
safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in
accordance with the rules of usufruct," reflecting temporary
(2) Have long-term occupiers authority to grant its citizens or
corporations exploitive power over territory not their own?
(3) May occupiers exploit the principles of "continuity" and
(4) Do Israel quarries employing Palestinians justify exploiting
Yesh Din said the High Court decision "revolutionizes the
international law of belligerent occupation, in its ruling that the
State of Israel, as an Occupying Power in a prolonged occupation,
has the authority to grant Israelis and Israeli corporations the
right to quarry (Palestinian) natural resources, including in
quarries that did not exist prior to the occupation - and with only
limitation being the reasonableness of the use of the natural
In other words, what right has Israel to exploit Palestinian
resources lawlessly? None whatever.
In the mid-1970s, Israeli West Bank quarry operations began. Ten
sites exist. Eight remain active. Israel declares them all "state
land." They produce 12 million tons of mined material annually.
Nearly all of it goes to Israel.
In 1983, Israel's High Court ruled occupied areas off-limits for
"open field....economic exploitation." In its December decision,
President Dorit Beinisch said the Court called the quarry issue
political to be settled under final status negotiations. She also
claimed Yesh Din's petition 40 years after quarry operations began
justified denying it.
Twisting international law, she said Israel may "utilize natural
resources in a reasonable manner" despite no legal basis for doing
so. She also claimed Israel's decades-long occupation justified it.
She called it the "reality on the ground."
In fact, occupiers only have temporary trustee authority. It
excludes exploitation. It requires administering natural resources
for the benefit of occupied people, not the occupier. Ruling
otherwise effectively justifies Israel's illegal settlements and all
stolen Palestinian land.
In this and other rulings, the Beinisch court trampled on
international law and lost legitimacy in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network
Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
All programs are archived for easy listening.