Foreign Report can reveal that the Israeli government is planning an onslaught on the Gaza Strip. This is because, our informant said, its former policy of containing Palestinian violence, including the murder of the Hamas leadership, has failed. The idea is to launch an intervention in October, once a series of Jewish holidays have finished.
Since the beginning of the intifada, one of the cornerstones of Israeli military policy has been to kill the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah-Tanzim. The Israelis believe that these groups are behind Palestinian suicide attacks. In almost three years, more than 100 leading Palestinian militants have been killed by the Israelis.
The Israelis have a reply to the critics of their policy. They claim that the killings have prevented an even greater bloodbath. The Palestinians, on the other hand, claim that the ‘assassinations’ have only embittered young Palestinians and led to more suicide bombs.
“Hamas is getting professional and financial support from Hizbullah,” said our Israeli source. “Hamas is hectically working on increasing the range of its self-made rockets to reach the southern cities of Israel. Their idea is to build the equivalent of south Lebanon in Gaza, and that Israel will never accept.”
Israel is planning a huge call-up of at least 50,000 soldiers to cope with the conquering of the Gaza strip. Special Israeli troops will move from house to house to find and kill militants.
The Israelis are well aware of the difficulties of such an operation. Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth. The Israelis assume they will face serious resistance and many casualties. But it seems that the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is determined to crush Hamas in Gaza.