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IDF amassing forces for major offensive in southern Gaza Strip
Haaretz ^ | May 17, 2004 | Gideon Alon

Posted on 05/16/2004 7:30:51 PM PDT by yonif

The Israel Defense Forces are poised to begin a major operation in the southern Gaza Strip, the first time they have conducted a division-level operation in Gaza.

The massive reinforcements that were summoned to the Strip last week to help search for the remains of their slain comrades are still posted on the border of the Strip, even though the searches have been called off, and these forces will apparently be integrated into the planned offensive. The goals of the operation included completely separating the town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, from the rest of Gaza; arresting and/or killing wanted men, and destroying arms smuggling tunnels.

Senior military sources stressed that large-scale house demolitions were not among the operation's goals, but if the forces were fired on from houses in Rafah, or if certain houses constituted a danger to the troops, those houses would be destroyed.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: gaza; israel; waronterrorism

1 posted on 05/16/2004 7:30:53 PM PDT by yonif
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To: SJackson; Yehuda; Nachum; Paved Paradise; Thinkin' Gal; Bobby777; adam_az; Alouette; IFly4Him; ...

Ping.


2 posted on 05/16/2004 7:31:03 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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To: yonif

This is the best time to do it...while Colin Powell is figuring out the best way to negotiate surrender to the Islamofascists in Iraq, he won't have the stamina to slap down Israel, the only coutry truly interested in fighting the war on terror (notwithstanding Sharon's withdrawal plan from Gaza).


3 posted on 05/16/2004 7:34:22 PM PDT by Piranha
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To: Piranha

If this thing goes like the last IDF Operation Defensive Wall, you can be sure the US will demand Israel pull back its forces and criticize Israel, just like Powell did when he talked about the houses Israel demolished (belonging to terrorists).


4 posted on 05/16/2004 7:37:05 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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To: yonif
The goals of the operation included completely separating the town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, from the rest of Gaza; arresting and/or killing wanted men, and destroying arms smuggling tunnels.

I smell a need to do more than what is being reported.

Perhaps time will tell if my sense of smell has any credence.

5 posted on 05/16/2004 7:40:47 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: EGPWS

Such as?


6 posted on 05/16/2004 7:53:30 PM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: yonif

Best wishes to the IDF.


7 posted on 05/16/2004 7:57:05 PM PDT by Tax-chick (It's possible that I look exactly like Catherine Zeta-Jones.)
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To: yonif

FWIW

http://debka.com/article.php?aid=845



Israel Readies Military Solution for Rafah Terror and Tunnels

DEBKAfile Special Report

May 16, 2004, 3:18 PM (GMT+02:00)

The gap between Israeli politics and security was never so strikingly articulated as Saturday night, May 15, after Israel lost 13 servicemen in action between Tuesday and Friday. While an estimated 100,000-150,000 (depending on who is asked) rallied in Tel Aviv in favor of quitting the Gaza Strip, a full IDF armored division supplemented by artillery battalions were making last preparations to go into the Gaza Strip to clean out the Palestinian terrorist strongholds daily harassing the Israeli-controlled Gaza-Israel-Egyptian border sector.

This border splits Rafah’s urban area down the middle between Palestinian and Egyptian controlled areas. The border itself is controlled by Israel under its peace agreement with Egypt and its 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

While the left-wing organizers of the demonstration counted noses to prove they outnumbered the Likud members who rejected the prime minister’s disengagement proposals, the prime minister Ariel Sharon himself was closeted with defense minister Shaul Mofaz and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon. They were tying up the last ends of the coming military drive into Palestinian Rafah, its refugee camps and the fringes of the Philadelphi route. Rather than pulling up stakes in the Gaza Strip, Israel forces were thus preparing to take back 18 percent of the territory that was turned over to Palestinian control in 1994.

Yaalon and Mofaz, in their reports to the cabinet Sunday, May 16, pointed out that Egypt does very little to hamper illegal traffic through Palestinian tunnels. Failing IDF action, they warned, the smuggled weapons will be used against Israelis everywhere, whether or not Israel abandons the Gaza Strip.

DEBKAfile’s military sources outline hereunder the IDF’s Rafah takeover offensive with the help of an exclusive map we have attached to this article.

Israeli forces will push round the greater Rafah region from the Rafah Crossing to the Rafah Intersection in the southeast, from the Morag Intersection to the Sufa Crossing in the northeast – to cut Rafah off from the terrorist hotbed of Khan Younes and obstruct the flow of Palestinian reinforcements from the rest of the Gaza Strip; in the west, Israeli tanks will be deployed in the region from Rafah Yam to Morag Intersection, thereby blockading the Rafah refugee camp and isolating its inhabitants from Bnei Atzmon and the sea, where they maintain a fishing anchorage. The Philadelphi Route closes the encirclement from the south.

A Palestinian population of 75,000 to 80,000 will thus find itself under siege.

This will enable Israeli forces will carry out three tactical missions:

1. To take out the main cluster of Palestinian smuggling tunnels which snake between the Israeli Termit position and the Rafah refugee camp opposite. More than 90 tunnels have been painfully destroyed this year, one by one, but more keep on taking their place. Solutions bandied about include digging a wide crossways trench deep down to the water level, that is, some 20 meters, or even flooding it to create a barrier impassable both for underground and overland passage.

2. To widen the 9-km long Philadelphi Route to 700-800 meters, first leveling structures and evicting inhabitants, and converting the corridor into a fortified zone that can be defended from Palestinian and Egyptian Rafah alike.

3. To strike, seize and dismantle the armed Palestinian structures managing the tunnels and activating the various terrorist groups preying on the Rafah zone. Targeted are the Palestinian military intelligence outfit headed by Mussa Arafat, the popular resistance committees and units of the suicide arm of Arafat’s Fatah, the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The Hamas and Jihad Islami are mainly concentrated in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Here, the Palestinian population is thinly spread out between the Israel-Egyptian border and Dahaniyeh, site of the Palestinian airfield that Israel shut down twoo years ago after seizing Arafat’s Karin-A arms smuggling ship. The Palestinians here are believed to be running low on ammunition. Barring surprises, therefore, the Israeli command does not see a protected run-in with the Palestinians.

4. To once and for all smash Palestinian fighting strength in the greater Rafah region, long a constant threat to Israel’s control of the international border with Egypt, and to deactivate its tunnel-building enterprise.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that Arafat in person receives a substantial rake-off on income from the contraband entering the Gaza Strip through these tunnels – whether arms, drugs, illegal entrants, or women – earning an important cash infusion for financing his campaign of terror.

Timing

If it was up to Mofaz and Yaalon, the operation would have been underway by now. However, the prime minister decided to hold off for a few days so as not to turn the three-day World Economic Forum conference beginning Saturday, May 15, on the Jordanian bank of the Dead Sea, into an international anti-Israeli chorus, or to cause the cancellation of the Berlin interview on Monday, May 17, between US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia, which Sharon himself requested.

The second half of May is therefore the earliest time for the large-scale Rafah operation to take place, even though, by and large, events postponed once often tend to be put off again. Furthermore –

A. The opposition, namely Arafat, Hizballah, the al Aqsa Brigades, the Hamas and the Jihad Islami, will not be twiddling their thumbs knowing a major Israeli move is in the works. The Palestinian leader’s fighting words in Ramallah Saturday indicated that the terrorists were poised to strike first. This week must therefore be marked red for danger

B. The IDF cannot count on following through on its operation to the end. There will be constraints to prevent its missions being accomplished. Going on past performance, international and domestic left-wing opinion will raise their voices in noisy protest, injunctions will fly to the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem and may be upheld, foreign governments will demand Israel hold its hand, especially for an operation in civilian areas that is more than likely to cause collateral harm. Three years ago, a spate of Israeli high court injunctions held General Doron Almog back from launching a similar offensive that would have prevented the violence and the tunnels from developing to their present pitch.

Muddled political scene

At the WEF conference in Jordan, Powell urged the Palestinian prime minister and the more than a thousand participants to support Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. He explained that President George W. Bush was not longer certain about the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state in 2005. Quraia shot back with a question: The Palestinians, he said, would like to know what the Sharon plain contains. According to DEBKAfile’s sources, Abu Ala put his finger on the weakness of the Sharon strategy. He knows as well as Powell that there is no real, coherent disengagement plan.

Speaking at the “Quite Gaza, Start Talking” rally in Tel Aviv, former Shin Beit director Ami Ayalon spoke of three red lines that Israel crosses at its peril: allowing 1948 Palestinian refugees into Israel, letting a Palestinian state pose a security threat to Israel, and the descent into civil strife at home. Those mottos of Ayalon did not exactly embody the spirit desired by the demonstration’s organizers. What he said was: Try and talk, but also fight united. He also noted that the gathering did not represent a true crosscut of the population, there being few immigrants or supporters from outside metropolitan Tel Aviv present.

Another former general, Yom Tom Samia, who was formerly southern district commander, advised pulling out of the Gaza Strip but only in controlled stages – not in one precipitate step.

But opposition leader Shimon Peres of Labor addressed “the gallery” when he insisted that Israel does have a negotiating partner, Abu Mazen and Abu Ala, who should be engaged today rather than tomorrow. The assembled demonstrators, said Peres, are capable of building up their strength and become a majority for toppling the government.

Peres was fantasizing. He knew perfectly well, even as he spoke, that neither Abu Mazen nor Abu Ala command the political following or the military clout for changing the course of terror dictated by Yasser Arafat. He knew just as well that a majority of the voting public is far from standing behind the factions who organized the demonstration or his own Labor party.

Throughout the week of terrible Israeli losses in active anti-terrorist operations in the Gaza Strip, therefore, prime minister Sharon did not go back once to his former boast that in a single day he could an alternative government with pro-evacuation parties. Instead, he got set for a military initiative.


8 posted on 05/16/2004 8:03:16 PM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: adam_az

9 posted on 05/16/2004 8:03:39 PM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: adam_az

Holy crap! I didn't realize this was about the Israel - Egypt border. Time to start brushing up on my geography!


10 posted on 05/16/2004 8:10:45 PM PDT by CatOwner
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To: adam_az
Such as?

After decades of diplomacy, the taking of land by the Israelis through defense of their homeland warranted by the Anti-Israeli state aggression shown before and after the '67 war, perhaps, once again, they will take the initiative and stifle this continual aggression brought about by pure hatred for their existence.

11 posted on 05/16/2004 8:10:55 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: Piranha; yonif; All
This is the best time to do it...while Colin Powell is figuring out the best way to negotiate surrender to the Islamofascists in Iraq, he won't have the stamina to slap down Israel, the only coutry truly interested in fighting the war on terror (notwithstanding Sharon's withdrawal plan from Gaza).

LOL!!!

DEBKA had a good article with detailed maps showing the various objectives, etc.

Seems Sharon is holding back until after the G8 Conference being held in Jordan.

12 posted on 05/16/2004 8:25:57 PM PDT by Lael (Patent Law...not a single Supreme Court Justice is qualified to take the PTO Bar Exam!)
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To: CatOwner

"The goals of the operation included completely separating the town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, from the rest of Gaza"


13 posted on 05/16/2004 8:27:38 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: yonif
Prayers being lifted for the safety and success of the brave IDF. Full speed ahead and d*mn the torpedoes (launched by the rest of the world at long suffering Israel)!
14 posted on 05/16/2004 8:36:28 PM PDT by Lakeside
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: yonif

may it be a successful operation for the IDF ...


17 posted on 05/16/2004 9:33:43 PM PDT by Bobby777
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To: Bobby777

Looks like it is about to begin. Israel Army Radio reports IDF helicopters hovering around the area.


18 posted on 05/16/2004 9:36:31 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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To: Lakeside

amen


19 posted on 05/16/2004 9:39:35 PM PDT by hoot2
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To: yonif

G-d speed and good hunting!


20 posted on 05/16/2004 9:39:38 PM PDT by Petronski (They could choose between shame and war: Some chose shame, but got war anyway.)
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IDF helicopters currently firing warning shots over Rafiah.


21 posted on 05/16/2004 9:45:00 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: yonif

thanks for the update ...


23 posted on 05/16/2004 9:51:46 PM PDT by Bobby777
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To: Hymie

INN usually is a little after, because it translates its Hebrew edition to English. I get my stuff from various Israeli outlets and quickly translate them myself. My last report about the helicopters was taken from INN, but its Hebrew edition.


24 posted on 05/16/2004 9:53:00 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

Many forces in the area including Armor, Engineering, Givanti and Golani troops. Operation has begun, but its climax has not been reached yet. Looks like something which will last a few days (IDF Radio).


26 posted on 05/16/2004 10:11:29 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: adam_az; yonif; SJackson; dennisw

anyone know where Sharon's planned giveaway to Jordan (for access to the med) fits in here?


28 posted on 05/16/2004 11:09:26 PM PDT by Yehuda (http://www.JewPoint.blogspot.com)
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IDF set to launch large-scale operation in Rafah

Armored corps and infantry units take over road around city, disconnect it from rest of Gaza Strip. Army going after weapon smuggling tunnels, wanted terrorists.
Amir Buhbut

Large IDF forces have entered the area north of Rafah this morning (Monday). At this time, armored corps and infantry units are separating Rafah from Khan Younis. The objective of the operation is to dry up the weapons smuggling tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip and prevent wanted terror suspects from escaping the city.

Early this morning, an advance guard took over dominating positions on the road separating Khan Younis from Rafah, allowing additional infantry units to be dispatched to the area. A few hours later, the area was closed off.

A senior IDF source told Maariv Online that at the beginning of the operation there was resistance by terror activists and exchanges of fire were reported.The source also characterized the weapon smuggling tunnels as "Gaza's lifeline".

Yesterday, IDF troops killed three Palestinian terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip. Earlier, an IDF force uncovered a 40-kg explosive device near the northern Gaza strip security fence. The charge was blown up in a controlled degeneration by IDF sappers.

Since the outbreak of the Intifada three and half years ago, the IDF and General Security Service have invested great efforts in thwarting the construction of weapon smuggling tunnels used to bring in arms from Egypt to Rafah. Over 90 tunnels have been uncovered and destroyed over this period, including ten tunnels demolished this year alone.

Criminal gangs make millions of dollars annually by purchasing and selling various types of weapons, including rifles and ammunition, RPG launchers, explosive materials, hand grenades and long-range rockets.

http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=7440


29 posted on 05/17/2004 12:06:59 AM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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To: yonif

Go get 'em, Israel. Godspeed to you.


30 posted on 05/17/2004 12:46:28 AM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: sjeann

bump


31 posted on 05/17/2004 1:29:10 AM PDT by Bellflower
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To: yonif

Fine when the job is done. What does he think they will do, when the ops are over.


32 posted on 05/17/2004 6:44:19 AM PDT by marty60
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