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September 28, 2005

IDF: We'll turn Gaza town into DMZ if Qassams fired

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

On Tuesday, Israel's Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said that Israel will employ an "iron fist" until there are "zero" Qassams, and his operations chief said that the IDF chooses its targets with no connection to the terror group's identity. So it appears that from the second Israel withdrew from Gaza, the old differences Israel used to make between the various Palestinian terrorist groups were null and void. Comments like these, if in fact they're backed up by action rather than rhetoric, might indicate a change in strategy, and that subsequently, withdrawing from Gaza might end up being a good strategic move, if not a popular one. Turn GAZA into what in reality would be a free fire zone, if the PA doesn't control the Qassams!!!

The army's chief of operations sharply warned Palestinians Wednesday that if Qassam rockets were fired from the town of Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, Israel's retaliatory artillery barrages will be such that "the Israel Defense Forces will turn this town into a demilitarized zone."

Operations chief Major General Yisrael Ziv added that he would not rule out using artillery against homes in the town in response to Qassam fire from those areas. He later explained that if the fire continues, "we will warn residents, make sure they leave, and then fire artillery into the area."

Ziv stated that the IDF has already shelled open areas in the northern Gaza Strip in a bid to prevent Qassam units from firing. "Our message is clear," Ziv added, "We will not tolerate any Qassam fire."

Wasn't Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's initiative to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, really driven by despair over reaching an agreement with the Palestinians? And although many, myself included, disagreed with the withdrawal, there can be little doubt that Sharon remains pessimistically security-minded, viewing "the Arabs" en masse, and especially the Palestinians, through the sights of a weapon, and in that light, without the Jewish settlements in Gaza it is easier for the IDF to operate in Palestinian areas, to respond to shelling of communities in the western Negev and to create a balance of deterrance with the PA and the terror organizations. If this is really the case, he just may have done what needed to be done - create a DMZ between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza.

Posted by Richard at September 28, 2005 7:27 AM

This was probably Sharon's strategy all along, as it seems as if he is targeting political candidates for Hamas as well.

Israel's treatment of the PA as a backwater nation is a wise move, as it forces the PA to adopt a concept long ago forgotten by Abbas and his predeccessor, a concept called "responsibility."

Posted by: hiddennook Author Profile Page at September 28, 2005 1:44 PM

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