Israel got obviously a green light from the US to escalate the fighting. This of course contradicts the statement that the „United States has urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties in their military operations.”
White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe said when asked if Israel would be justified in launching a ground assault, "Those will be decisions made by the Israelis."
AFP: US gives Israel free rein on whether to invade Gaza (2. January 2008)
Even with the Israeli relative “restrain” already more than 100 civilians were killed. A Palestinian severe hit/s in Israeli territories will justify a wild escalation along the lines recommended by various Israeli officers like Brig. General (res.) Tzvi Fogel, or Colonel (res.) Gabriel Siboni: Bombing dense populated areas and causing the Gazan civilians to flee.
Today Israel started even without such a pretext to use artillery today and the likelihood that a larger number of civilians will be killed and wounded is much higher than when using “smart” bombs. Few hours ago The ground Assault started.
There are numerous reports that in the last days the Israeli air force has dropped thousands of leaflets over Gaza warning people to leave their homes before targeted bombing raids (http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnB485081.html ). With this step the Israeli legal experts have the feeling that Israel is avoiding from committing war crimes in the sense of the international law.
The forceful transfer to Northern Sinai has started. Egypt will probably be “compelled” soon to open its gates.
In 2006 Brig. General (res.) Fogel said in the state TV station Channel One:
“…the more we are able, with reasonable humaneness, to pressure the population so that they goes out of their houses and put pressure on Ismail Haniyyeh and on Abu-Mazen, the closer we’ll get to a situation in which, in the end …
Ayala Hasson (journalist): How will you do that? In theory it sounds simple.
Fogel: It’s also simple in practice. By the way, we did it in Lebanon. We took 300,000 residents in Lebanon and drove them from south Lebanon to the gates of Beirut. We can do that here too.
Fogel: Ayala, it is not nice, but if we want to solve the problem and to stop the qassams then I assume that that is what we must do. Ayala, if a qassam fell not in the western Negev but – God forbid – in Herzliya, or in Ramat Hasharon or Raanana, I think that even you would change your tune.”
Interview with the former Chief of Staff of the Southern Command, Zvi Fogel, Channel 1, “Today in the News”, 9 April 2006 ( Translation Mark Marshall)
Colonel (res.) Gabriel Siboni pleads for the use of disproportionate force:
“Israel again will not be able to limit its response to actions whose severity is seemingly proportionate to an isolated incident.” Disproportionate Force: Israel’s Concept of Response in Light of the Second Lebanon War INSS Insight No. 74, October 2, 2008, Siboni, Gabriel
On December 1, 2005 the Israeli journalist Yigal Laviv wrote about a secret Sharon's plan to "encourage" the 'transfer" of most of the Gazans if not all of them to Northern Sinai (Inian Merkazi Heb.). Few months ago I saw an Egyptian report about intensifying the investments in projects that will enable soon the absorption in Northern Sinai of millions…..
For me it is crystal clear that since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000 the Israeli leadership has being trying to complete the ethnic cleansing of 1948. (See e.g. my text from 2006).
In the geographical conditions in Gaza the Israeli strategy has better chances than in Lebanon. But still it is not clear how Hizballah, Syria and Iran will react to the blood bath in Gaza. They have the capability to fire missiles all over Israel. Another possible fall out is upheavals in various Arab countries.
The US opposition to this Israeli goal has been able till now only to slow down the cleansing but not to stop it. Israel just made from time to time some symbolic concessions under US pressure but not more. Now as a Xmas present and before departing from his office president Bush decided to give the green light for the Israeli satanic plan. Bush obviously leads “scorched earth” tactic and wishes to leave his successor Obama just shambles.
Just demonstrating and calling upon the conscious of the world community is not enough. There is an urgent need for a more effective strategy that will enable to prevent a larger catastrophe.
It is high time to call upon the Israeli soldiers to do their moral and political duty and try to stop the ongoing war crimes and prevent further escalation.
Actually it is amazing how even intelligent Israelis are easily manipulated again and again by their leadership to believe that there is a military “solution” to the Middle East conflict. But even on the state TV Channel 1, that is a very central part of the propaganda machinery, somebody succeeded to smuggle yesterday old footage from the Lebanon war of 1982 into a news broadcast in prime time. The hollow words of the minister speaking could have been from today and the viewers should have gotten the message.
It is not enough that some Israelis will in twenty or thirty years work on their Post-Traumatic-Syndrome because they participated in war crimes. Maybe the “Shooting and Crying Syndrome” is good enough to win an Oscar prize (see the successful film “Waltz with Bashir” . A movie praising the self pity of Israeli perpetrators.
It is not enough to demand from the soldiers just to refuse. As even if some hundreds or even thousand will not, there are more than enough soldiers who will commit the crime. I know it from my own experience. In 1967 we got an order to commit a massacre in Nablus. Most of us refused to do it, but some, very few did it and we did not prevent them...
Today, as the Israeli army relies to a wide extent on computer technology and therefore even a single soldier at the right place can stop the war crimes. Never have possessed so few people, like computer experts, so much power. The Israeli military law says clearly that everybody has to prevent war crimes and prevent the implementation of orders over which a so called black flag is flying.
The support, publication and propagation of the appeal unto Israeli soldiers to do their duty published in a German website ((there are English and Hebrew versions down the page)might have a deterring effect on the Israeli leadership even if not a single soldier will follow it. The broader support for the appeal will build a further pressure on the Israeli government to look at last for a just political settlement.
The Israeli soldiers will not just fulfill their moral duty but will help to prevent a catastrophe (Shoa) from happening to all the residents of the Middle East including the Israeli Jews.
Parallel to this, calls have to be launched appealing upon the Palestinian militants to declare a unilateral ceasefire. This might make it more difficult for the Israeli leadership to justify the war crimes.