[dehai-news] The Invasion of Gaza: "Operation Cast Lead", Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda

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From: wolda002@umn.edu
Date: Mon Jan 05 2009 - 23:40:26 EST

The Invasion of Gaza: "Operation Cast Lead", Part of a Broader Israeli
Military-Intelligence Agenda

By Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, January 4, 2009

The aerial bombings and the ongoing ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli
ground forces must be analysed in a historical context. Operation "Cast
Lead" is a carefully planned undertaking, which is part of a broader
military-intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001:

    "Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak
instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six
months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement
with Hamas."(Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike
followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

It was Israel which broke the truce on the day of the US presidential
elections, November 4:

    "Israel used this distraction to break the ceasefire between itself and
Hamas by bombing the Gaza strip. Israel claimed this violation of the
ceasefire was to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

    The very next day, Israel launched a terrorizing siege of Gaza, cutting
off food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities in an attempt to
“subdue” the Palestinians while at the same time engaging in armed

    In response, Hamas and others in Gaza again resorted to firing crude,
homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets into Israel. During the past seven
years, these rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 17 Israelis.
Over the same time span, Israeli Blitzkrieg assaults have killed thousands
of Palestinians, drawing worldwide protest but falling on deaf ears at the
UN." (Shamus Cooke, The Massacre in Palestine and the Threat of a Wider
War, Global Research, December 2008)

Planned Humanitarian Disaster

On December 8, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was in Tel Aviv
for discussions with his Israeli counterparts including the director of
Mossad, Meir Dagan.

"Operation Cast Lead" was initiated two days day after Christmas. It was
coupled with a carefully designed international Public Relations campaign
under the auspices of Israel's Foreign Ministry.

Hamas' military targets are not the main objective. Operation "Cast Lead"
is intended, quite deliberately, to trigger civilian casualities.

What we are dealing with is a "planned humanitarian disaster" in Gaza in a
densly populated urban area. (See map below)

The longer term objective of this plan, as formulated by Israeli policy
makers, is the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestinian lands:

    "Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of
property and cultural resources... The daily life of the Palestinians must
be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns,
prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces,
schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the
resistance to future expulsions" Ur Shlonsky, quoted by Ghali Hassan, Gaza:
The World’s Largest Prison, Global Research, 2005)

"Operation Justified Vengeance"

A turning point has been reached. Operation "Cast Lead" is part of the
broader military-intelligence operation initiated at the outset of the
Ariel Sharon government in 2001. It was under Sharon's "Operation Justified
Vengeance" that F-16 fighter planes were initially used to bomb Palestinian

"Operation Justified Vengeance" was presented in July 2001 to the Israeli
government of Ariel Sharon by IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, under the
title "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All
Armed Forces".

    "A contingency plan, codenamed Operation Justified Vengeance, was drawn
up last June [2001] to reoccupy all of the West Bank and possibly the Gaza
Strip at a likely cost of "hundreds" of Israeli casualties." (Washington
Times, 19 March 2002).

According to Jane's 'Foreign Report' (July 12, 2001) the Israeli army under
Sharon had updated its plans for an "all-out assault to smash the
Palestinian authority, force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain
its army".

"Bloodshed Justification"

The "Bloodshed Justification" was an essential component of the
military-intelligence agenda. The killing of Palestinian civilians was
justified on "humanitarian grounds." Israeli military operations were
carefully timed to coincide with the suicide attacks:

    The assault would be launched, at the government's discretion, after a
big suicide bomb attack in Israel, causing widespread deaths and injuries,
citing the bloodshed as justification. (Tanya Reinhart, Evil Unleashed,
Israel's move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan,
long in the making, Global Research, December 2001, emphasis added)

The Dagan Plan

"Operation Justified Vengeance" was also referred to as the "Dagan Plan",
named after General (ret.) Meir Dagan, who currently heads Mossad, Israel's
intelligence agency.

Reserve General Meir Dagan was Sharon's national security adviser during
the 2000 election campaign. The plan was apparently drawn up prior to
Sharon’s election as Prime Minister in February 2001. "According to Alex
Fishman writing in Yediot Aharonot, the Dagan Plan consisted in destroying
the Palestinian authority and putting Yasser Arafat 'out of the game'."
(Ellis Shulman, "Operation Justified Vengeance": a Secret Plan to Destroy
the Palestinian Authority, March 2001):

    "As reported in the Foreign Report [Jane] and disclosed locally by
Maariv, Israel's invasion plan — reportedly dubbed Justified Vengeance
— would be launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide
bombing, would last about a month and is expected to result in the death of
hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians. (Ibid, emphasis added)

The "Dagan Plan" envisaged the so-called "cantonization" of the Palestinian
territories whereby the West Bank and Gaza would be totally cut off from
one other, with separate "governments" in each of the territories. Under
this scenario, already envisaged in 2001, Israel would:

     "negotiate separately with Palestinian forces that are dominant in
each territory-Palestinian forces responsible for security, intelligence,
and even for the Tanzim (Fatah)." The plan thus closely resembles the idea
of "cantonization" of Palestinian territories, put forth by a number of
ministers." Sylvain Cypel, The infamous 'Dagan Plan' Sharon's plan for
getting rid of Arafat, Le Monde, December 17, 2001)

>From Left to Right: Dagan, Sharon, Halevy

The Dagan Plan has established continuity in the military-intelligence
agenda. In the wake of the 2000 elections, Meir Dagan was assigned a key
role. "He became Sharon’s "go-between" in security issues with
President’s Bush’s special envoys Zinni and Mitchell." He was
subsequently appointed Director of the Mossad by Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon in August 2002. In the post-Sharon period, he remained head of
Mossad. He was reconfirmed in his position as Director of Israeli
Intelligence by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in June 2008.

Meir Dagan, in coordination with his US counterparts, has been in charge of
various military-intelligence operations. It is worth noting that Meir
Dagan as a young Colonel had worked closely with defense minister Ariel
Sharon in the raids on Palestinian settlements in Beirut in 1982. The 2009
ground invasion of Gaza, in many regards, bear a canny resemblance to the
1982 military operation led by Sharon and Dagan.

Continuity: From Sharon to Olmert

Olmert and Sharon

It is important to focus on a number of key events which have led up to the
killings in Gaza under "Operation Cast Lead":

1. The assassination in November 2004 of Yaser Arafat. This assassination
had been on the drawing board since 1996 under "Operation Fields of
Thorns". According to an October 2000 document "prepared by the security
services, at the request of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, stated that
'Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of
Israel] and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less
than the damage caused by his existence'". (Tanya Reinhart, Evil Unleashed,
Israel's move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan,
long in the making, Global Research, December 2001. Details of the document
were published in Ma'ariv, July 6, 2001.).

Arafat's assassination was ordered in 2003 by the Israeli cabinet. It was
approved by the US which vetoed a United Nations Security Resolution
condemning the 2003 Israeli Cabinet decision. Reacting to increased
Palestinian attacks, in August 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
declared "all out war" on the militants whom he vowed "marked for death."

    "In mid September, Israel's government passed a law to get rid of
Arafat. Israel's cabinet for political security affairs declared it "a
decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace." Mofaz threatened; "we
will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat." Palestinian
Minister Saeb Erekat told CNN he thought Arafat was the next target. CNN
asked Sharon spokesman Ra'anan Gissan if the vote meant expulsion of
Arafat. Gissan clarified; "It doesn't mean that. The Cabinet has today
resolved to remove this obstacle. The time, the method, the ways by which
this will take place will be decided separately, and the security services
will monitor the situation and make the recommendation about proper
action." (See Trish Shuh, Road Map for a Decease Plan, www.mehrnews.com
November 9 2005

The assassination of Arafat was part of the 2001 Dagan Plan. In all
likelihood, it was carried out by Israeli Intelligence. It was intended to
destroy the Palestinian Authority, foment divisions within Fatah as well as
between Fatah and Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian quisling. He was
installed as leader of Fatah, with the approval of Israel and the US, which
finance the Palestinian Authority's paramilitary and security forces.

2. The removal, under the orders of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005, of
all Jewish settlements in Gaza. A Jewish population of over 7,000 was

    "It is my intention [Sharon] to carry out an evacuation – sorry, a
relocation – of settlements that cause us problems and of places that we
will not hold onto anyway in a final settlement, like the Gaza
settlements.... I am working on the assumption that in the future there
will be no Jews in Gaza," Sharon said." (CBC, March 2004)

The issue of the settlements in Gaza was presented as part of Washington's
"road map to peace". Celebrated by the Palestinians as a "victory", this
measure was not directed against the Jewish settlers. Quite the opposite:
It was part of the overall covert operation, which consisted in
transforming Gaza into a concentration camp. As long as Jewish settlers
were living inside Gaza, the objective of sustaining a large barricaded
prison territory could not be achieved. The Implementation of "Operation
Cast Lead" required "no Jews in Gaza".

3. The building of the infamous Apartheid Wall was decided upon at the
beginning of the Sharon government. (See Map below).

4. The next phase was the Hamas election victory in January 2006. Without
Arafat, the Israeli military-intelligence architects knew that Fatah under
Mahmoud Abbas would loose the elections. This was part of the scenario,
which had been envisaged and analyzed well in advance.

With Hamas in charge of the Palestinian authority, using the pretext that
Hamas is a terrorist organization, Israel would carry out the process of
"cantonization" as formulated under the Dagan plan. Fatah under Mahmoud
Abbas would remain formally in charge of the West Bank. The duly elected
Hamas government would be confined to the Gaza strip.

Ground Attack

On January 3, Israeli tanks and infantry entered Gaza in an all out ground

    "The ground operation was preceded by several hours of heavy artillery
fire after dark, igniting targets in flames that burst into the night sky.
Machine gun fire rattled as bright tracer rounds flashed through the
darkness and the crash of hundreds of shells sent up streaks of fire. (AP,
January 3, 2009)

Israeli sources have pointed to a lengthy drawn out military operation. It
"won't be easy and it won't be short," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak in
a TV address.

Israel is not seeking to oblige Hamas "to cooperate". What we are dealing
with is the implementation of the "Dagan Plan" as initially formulated in
2001, which called for:

    "an invasion of Palestinian-controlled territory by some 30,000 Israeli
soldiers, with the clearly defined mission of destroying the infrastructure
of the Palestinian leadership and collecting weaponry currently possessed
by the various Palestinian forces, and expelling or killing its military
leadership. (Ellis Shulman, op cit, emphasis added)

The broader question is whether Israel in consultation with Washington is
intent upon triggering a wider war.

Mass expulsion could occur at some later stage of the ground invasion, were
the Israelis to open up Gaza's borders to allow for an exodus of
population. Expulsion was referred to by Ariel Sharon as the "a 1948 style
solution". For Sharon "it is only necessary to find another state for the
Palestinians. -'Jordan is Palestine' - was the phrase that Sharon coined."
(Tanya Reinhart, op cit)


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