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Operation Cast Lead: A War of Necessity-or Choice?

February 13, 2009

THE SIX-MONTH TRUCE WAS WORKING WELL UNTIL NOVEMBER 4, 2009
Nancy Kanwisher, “How Do Ceasefires End?” The Huffington Post, January 9, 2009,.
First, and most importantly, the ceasefire was remarkably effective: after it began in June 2008, the rate of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza dropped to almost zero, and stayed there for four straight months (see Figure 1, from a factsheet produced by the Israeli consulate in NYC).


ISRAEL, NOT HAMAS, BROKE THE TRUCE

Israeli Strike Is First in Gaza Since Start of Cease-Fire

By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: November 4, 2008                                                                                                            

JERUSALEM — Israel carried out an airstrike on Gaza on Tuesday night after its troops clashed with Hamas gunmen along the border in the first such confrontation since a cease-fire took effect in June.

THE ESCALATION OF ROCKET-FIRE FROM GAZA WAS A RESPONSE

 “The Situation on the Ground (As of November 5, 1700 hours),”Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC).

8. In response to the IDF’s preventive operation several dozen rockets and mortar shells were fired at western Negev towns and villages, most of them by Hamas.

9. It was the first time since the lull arrangement went into effect that Hamas participated in firing rockets into Israel . It was also the first time that the terrorist organizations attacked Israel with massive amounts of rocket and mortar shell fire (until now there were occasional violations of single rockets or mortar shells being fired).

ISRAEL PLANNED THE WAR—AND PR CAMPAIGN—MONTHS IN ADVANCE

Chris McGreal, “Why Israel Went to War in Gaza,” The Guardian, 4 January 2009.

A new information directorate was established to influence the media, with some success. And when the attack began just over a week ago, a tide of diplomats, lobby groups, bloggers and other supporters of Israel were unleashed to hammer home a handful of carefully crafted core messages intended to ensure that Israel was seen as the victim

Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months.

“This was something that was planned long ahead,” he said. “I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel’s efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery - whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister’s office, the police or the army - work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the message.”

ISRAEL VIOLATED THE TRUCE BY RESTRICTING HUMANITARIAN AID

Jimmy Carter, “An Unnecessary War,” The Washington Post, January 8, 2009..

. . . the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel’s unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. . . .

ISRAEL REBUFFED EFFORTS TO RENEW THE TRUCE

Jimmy Carter, “An Unnecessary War,” The Washington Post, January 8, 2009.

On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. It was clear that the preeminent issue was opening the crossings into Gaza. Representatives from the Carter Center visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli officials and asked if this was possible in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire. The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.

Gershon Baskin, “Encountering Peace: Spins and Lies: Gilat Schalit, Hamas and Omert,” The Jerusalem Post, February 9, 2009,.

I returned to Israel and 10 days before the war broke out I wrote to Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that Hamas was willing to open a direct secret back channel for a package deal that would include the renewal of the cease-fire, the ending of the economic siege and the prisoner exchange for the release of Schalit. I further indicated that Hamas would be willing to implement the agreement on Rafah. . . . The war was supported by 94 percent of Israelis because they really believed it was a “war of no choice.” Lies, lies and lies. There was a choice. That choice was made - our leaders preferred war regardless of the cost.

 

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