Five IDF task forces begin driving into Gaza City.

Israel draws up over-plan for control of the Gaza Strip

DEBKA

The IDF’s Shejaiya operation in the Gaza Strip continues apace, carried forward by five task forces now heading for the center of Gaza City amid casualties on both sides. Sunday, July 20, Israel’s crack Golani Brigades lost 18 fighters, without slowing down, compared with 170 Palestinian fatalities.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that each task force, the size of half a division, is an integrated amalgam of air, armored, artillery and engineering forces, capable of operating almost autonomously in field combat. The buildup of the last 24 hours has expanded Israel’s fighting strength in the Gaza Strip to a total of 75,000 men, the largest ever fielded in this territory. Because of its scale, Israeli leaders are referring to Defensive Edge as a war rather than an operation.

The battle for Shejaiya waged Sunday burst into public prominence because of the heavy losses suffered by the Golani Brigades, but it is not the largest engagement underway at present. The other ongoing IDF battles, their progress, the units involved and their locations, are kept secret. We can only point to their general locations as being around Beit Hanoun in the north; Zeitun, south of Gaza City and the Shati refugee camp to the north.

More arenas are scheduled to be added to the list of battle zones Monday.

Rather than causing despondency, the high IDF casualty toll Sunday – the highest in a single engagement since the 2006 Lebanon War – has invigorated the fighting forces in the field, making them more determined than ever to get the better of Hamas with all possible speed.

Whereas their orders on Sunday were to advance warily and slowly, meanwhile testing the strength of Hamas resistance and observing their tactics, the tempo went into high gear at dawn Monday, when the troops were told to speed their advance from the outer fringes of Gaza City into its center.

Their performance in Shejaiya and other engagements Sunday deeply impressed Israel’s war leaders and made them confident enough to step up the rate of advance.

This upbeat mood was evident in the comments made Sunday night by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and, from the field, by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. While condoling deeply with the bereaved families of the 18 soldiers who died in combat, they were full of praise for the troops’ performance “in defense of our home” which outdid all expectations.
The following decisions were reached in consequence:

1. Gen. Gantz would stay in the field and lead the forces from there, rather than from staff headquarters in Tel Aviv.

2. The prime minister and defense minister would manage the war, without constant recourse to security cabinet sessions to obtain its approval of every stage of the plan of operation, the final goal of which DEBKAfile has learned, is Israel’s military takeover of the Gaza Strip.

3. As the military operation unfolded, the three war leaders were convinced more than ever that demolishing Hamas’ terror tunnel complex was not optional, any more than wiping out the rocket menace hanging latterly over five million Israelis and, for nearly a decade over the million people living directly in the shadow of the Gaza border. Publicity guidelines were to be built around this conclusion.
International statesmen are flitting busily around regional capitals, including Jerusalem, in search of an opening to broker a ceasefire in Gaza hostilities. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been holding meetings and US Secretary John Kerry will try and reach the Middle East in the coming days, according to a White House directive – unless he again cancels at the last minute.

According to DEBKAfile’s sources, the requisite political and military conditions for a ceasefire are not yet in place because of a number of circumstances, not least of which is Hamas’ refusal to contemplate a halt.

Israel, for its part, is fighting for the first time in its history with solid Arab backing from the Egyptian-Saudi-United Arab Emirates bloc. So determined are its members to obliterate the Muslim Brotherhood that they have virtually blacklisted Qatar for supporting the Brothers and for patronizing the Palestinian Hamas, regarded as the MB’s paramilitary arm.

This rift has put a spoke in the diplomatic effort to set in motion effective mediation for a Gaza ceasefire predicated on co-opting Qatar.

A bid to make Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas the bridge between the Egyptian-Saudi-UAE grouping and Qatar has likewise foundered. And there isn’t much Secretary Kerry can do if and when he comes over to try his hand.

US President Barack Obama’s suggestion, when he called Netanyahu Sunday, to build a new Gaza ceasefire around the 2012 formula concocted by the US, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey – and accepted by Israel and Hamas – for ending Operation Pillar of Defense, shows him to be cut off from the fundamentally altered diplomatic and military realities of the current Gaza conflict.

He declines to recognize the emergence of a powerful new Arab bloc. It will be necessary to twist the arms of each of its members, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE, to gain their consent for a bid to cut the Israeli offensive short to rescue Hamas from defeat. And even then, they will stall.

And although anti-Israel demonstrations are being staged in some parts of the world, the most violent in Paris, hardly any world governments have openly condemned the Israeli operation – as yet.

July 21, 2014 | 27 Comments »

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27 Comments / 27 Comments

  1. the phoenix Said:

    Granted, there are MANY “what if” scenarios

    when the talks were going on for the 9 months i said that the outcome was pre agreed even if they agreed to a status quo with make up. I have come to the conclusion that the plan is to have no overt deal but rather to take small steps over years that the street, especially arab street, can get used to and accomodate with. In other words right now they wont get much but face saving devices: faux state stuff, area B becoming A, some areas of C close to existing pal populations centers to keep them consolidated, for settlements I think they will continue to curtail them bu maybe they will give settlement each time they dole out some of c to the pals. I think that direct Israel PA ongoing talks is the plan. If abbas gets gaza and it is developed then it will also be a magnet for west bank pals. I expect that gaza will come under the PA Israeli agreements wrt demilitarizaton. Gaza is intended to be operated like the PA is now. the unity gov is what is intended to be the vehicle of demilitarization. hamas will become a political party participating in the gas deals.

  2. SHmuel HaLevi 2 Said:

    Perfect review of reality.
    And that means that it is impossible to retain the same cadre in government if we expect true change.

    I am very well aware that I am threading on VERY THIN ICE.
    I have chosen a self imposed censorship to what I would like to say (not to mention what I would like to see be done..)
    However,
    We are all watching this very same sad movie, that has played numerous times in the past…with the same beginning, middle and end… And a ‘to be continued’, left hanging in the air….

    – Given the fact that EVEN TODAY, as rockets are falling on Israel from an external sworn enemy, and an internal enemy like zoabi gets voices of support from deluded morons that repeat that “zot medina demokratit’… Instead of having her summarily and unceremoniously shot like a rabid dog…
    – Reading talkbacks to today’s headlines there is no shortage of ‘beautiful people’ (SPIT!!!!!) that post comment of ‘being ashamed of my country’ posting on Facebook, garbage in support of the ‘poor darlings in gaza’ etc
    – and lastly, the previously mentioned on other threads, the fact that for all intents and purposes Israel is a police state with the intent of remaining thus (by the control of the ‘justice’ dept, police etc) and those that start raising waves… may end up in jail (the late rabbi kahane) OR, encounter ‘a rogue wave’ à la raful eitan….

    So given all that, do you think, a change COULD happen?
    (After the operation in gaza)

  3. Israel, for its part, is fighting for the first time in its history with solid Arab backing from the Egyptian-Saudi-United Arab Emirates bloc. So determined are its members to obliterate the Muslim Brotherhood that they have virtually blacklisted Qatar for supporting the Brothers and for patronizing the Palestinian Hamas, regarded as the MB’s paramilitary arm.

    this is the rhetoric and image presented to the street. qatar and saudi cooperated in the arming, training and funding of the sunni Jihadis in Syria and Iraq for the GCC and western alliance. They merely fund and operate “different” entities having the same goals. WRT Hamas:
    GCC member Saudi and its Egytian proxy Sisi are the GCC bad cop to Hamas and MB whereas GCC member qatar is the GCC good cop to hamas and the MB. In this way, and with this public presentation, the GCC get to influence the various factions whoever is in power. In this way the GCC through Qatar get to maintain influential links with those players out of power. Remember that Saudi funds many MB projects in the US. Furthermore, qatar has had relations with Israel whereas most GCC members have not. Although sunni, turkey is not arab and represents an MB which seeks political power rather than the saudi model whereby the Islamic network is subordinate to the political power. Saudi has no problem working with MB elements who are subservient to their instructions.
    Also, Meshaal recently advised his underlings that Qatar has instructed hamas to enter the unity gov with abbas under pressure from Saudi. Therefore, just like I do not buy the BS that ISIS is not saudi controlled I do not buy the BS that there is a “big rift” between Qatar and the other GCC members. It is a convenient cover for Qatar to play good cop to hamas and MB. Before benghazi, Qatar was recruiting MB jihadis to Syria while saudi was recruiting salafi jihadi to syria….all to the same goals. it’s still the same proxy war of sunni arab GCC and proxies against shia persian Iran and proxies with sunni turkey operating on its own behalf but primarily in tandem with sunni GCC where interests overlap. Turkey wants to carry arab oil in its pipelines and anyone elses.

    Qatar featured prominently in the 2012 cease fire and has been negotiating with Israel for rebuilding gaza. Morsi also originally began destroying hamas hamas tunnels. After benghazi Morsi began to slide.

  4. Perfect review of reality.
    And that means that it is impossible to retain the same cadre in government if we expect true change.

  5. demolishing Hamas’ terror tunnel complex was not optional, any more than wiping out the rocket menace hanging latterly over five million Israelis and, for nearly a decade over the million people living directly in the shadow of the Gaza border. .

    There is no real policy of deterence to hamas policy targeting of Israeli civillians. In fact hamas is incouraged to target Israeli cviilians in the absence of an effective detterent and in the absence of any sanctions applied by international institutions. Israel has contributed to this by following one sided set of rules of the GC and so everyone else follows Israels ridiculous example. The Jews can boast of their high morals but it is immoral to risk ones own to preserve enemy civilians when the enemy targets your own. It is a perverse set of values.

    Israel’s stated public policy should be to INTENTIONALLY target enemy civilians when the enemy intentionally targets Israeli civilians. Intentionally killed enemy civilians will create a deterrent against the enemy targeting civilians and encourage them to target only military facilities.

    israel is always placing double standards on itself that even the foreigners would never consider doing. However, once placing those standards on itself everyone else joins in to demand those double standards of Israel. One glaring example was that although Israel stated that it was not in occupation of the west bank but would adhere to the GC rules applying to occupied areas. Since then it has become written in stone that Israel is in occupation and must adhere to those rules or it is a criminal.

    the fault usually begins in Israel for most problems with the international community. Israels logic makes no sense, it begins with double standards and therefore perpetuates double standards. Israel appears to never have the guts to backtrack on failing policies.

    Its not rocket science:

    If you fire at my civilians I will intentionally kill your civilians until you stop. If you do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions then neither will I.

    Hence, Israel should announce a policy of deterrence to target enemy civilians rather than apologize and explain.
    Does anyone see hamas apologizing and explaining their targeting? No they boast of it while Israel is criticized for doing the opposite.

    Does anyone see sanctions called for by “famous” group for rockets fired at Israeli civilians? No they criticize Israel for self defensive counterattacks.

    Israel plays the fool and therefore it is treated like a fool!

    The Stockholm Syndrome shtetl Jew forever seeking approval from his former masters and ongoing torturers. Boasting of morals while killing his own. The masters are unimpressed, they are more impressed by ISIS.

  6. Avigail Said:

    I was just saying that NOW is not the time to take the streets since we’re still under rockets’ fire.

    Are you trying to be funny !!!!!!!!!!

  7. @ the phoenix:
    RFI is not yet up due to lack of physical support. All the parts are ready, but no help in sight. Part of the syndrome you report.
    Netanyahu will fold as is his make up to do. Of course while making resounding speeches.
    In the other hand, the military command is also of limited acumen. If any.
    I dread to consider what the major enemies conclude after seeing a purportedly huge military, ours, unable to smash a very small and locked force.
    If we don’t do Hamas, how can anyone tell me that the same crowd can do Iran.

  8. the phoenix Said:

    I respect and agree with the avigail’s comment to drjb that NOW, is not the time to criticize the govt etc.

    I was just saying that NOW is not the time to take the streets since we’re still under rockets’ fire.
    I feel no moral obligation to refrain from criticizing the Govt in time of war since 1) we are still under rocket fire 2) I still don’t believe that they are en route to topple Hamas – I’ll believe it when I see it.

  9. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    Listening to the state controlled media here one gets the drive promoted by the controllers.

    I had a recent demonstration of exactly what you’ve said.

    We had a couple of Israeli friends that stayed with us just before the gaza operation begun.
    He is a wounded Idf veteran paratrooper (six day war, ammunition hill…)
    I was astounded to hear the views and explanations offered to me by this ‘right wing’ nik… (Israeli media talking points)
    A telephone conversation with another Israeli friend (tel aviv…) yielded yet another sobering realization that SOME in Israel, have a ‘slightly misguided view’…

    When the (dis)information is so successful, this becomes worrisome.
    Is “radio free Israel” a reality?

  10. @ the phoenix:
    Listening to the state controlled media here one gets the drive promoted by the controllers.
    They know that the general consensus is far from ready to follow Netanyahu, Hertzog and Kerry. Peres is days away from being out of the president’s role and Mr. Rivlin, the sworn in next President is so far way different from Peres.
    I think that we will be better able to discern what’s up in a couple of days.

  11. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    others in the likud tell me that he is indeed bent on an overall agreement to give Abu Mazen Gaza and what follows.

    This is indeed BEYOND worrisome.
    Some two years ago, the black bastard (may we soon see him dangling from a rope , AMEN!!!) made a speech where he mentioned establishing a pee state with CONTIGUOUS borders!!!!
    I.e. as yamit above said, dividing Israel in two ????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Once such a criminal idea gets some traction, it will get a life of its own and (God forbid) this is Samantha powers’ wet dream to have a coalition a la NATO vs Yugoslavia 15 years ago to attack and invade Israel…

    I respect and agree with the avigail’s comment to drjb that NOW, is not the time to criticize the govt etc.
    THIS, however, I believe it to be of even greater danger than Hamas, (which, if only given the green light, Israel could bring it to its knees with a death blow).

    Granted, there are MANY “what if” scenarios and there is no need to waste time on something which is not even on the periphery of the radar screen.
    I hope and pray, that THIS, will never come to be, and most certainly, not with b.n. as the captain of the ship…

  12. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    I don’t see a ceasefire happening. Netanyahu said the IDF’s operation is going better than expected. And if Israel is holding the upper hand, it has no good to reason to stop and Hamas is not yet at the point where it wants to cease hostilities – to the contrary Hamas would rather be defeated than be humiliated by Israel into accepting a situation where it cannot continue to wage jihad upon the Jewish State. Its seeing all of its work with the tunnels and rockets disintegrating. But for all that, it won’t surrender. Evil never does.

  13. @ yamit82:
    True to form I hear that Netanyahu is awaiting Kerry to return to the 2012 cease fire agreement, but others in the likud tell me that he is indeed bent on an overall agreement to give Abu Mazen Gaza and what follows.

  14. yamit82 Said:

    @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:
    @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:
    2nd your wishes. But if the end game is to hand over the strip to Abbu Mazen then I see more problems ahead… “Peace process” with all that entails and a land bridge between Gaza and Ramallah or the geographical division of the State of Israel.

    Egypt hates Hamas and views Islamists as a national security threat. It backs Israel not because it loves the Jewish State but because Hamas is a bone in Egypt’s throat. Don’t be surprised why some Arab countries quietly are backing Israel. At the moment, their fears about the safety of their regimes outweigh their hate of the Jewish State. And Egypt’s new President in particular has no love for Obama and Kerry, who have hitherto backed the Muslim Brotherhood.

  15. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2: I support you sentiments. The IDF needs to stay in GAZA at the conclusion of this war. If we find someone to run their own municipal affairs fine but the borders and security need to be the IDF.

  16. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:
    @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    2nd your wishes. But if the end game is to hand over the strip to Abbu Mazen then I see more problems ahead… “Peace process” with all that entails and a land bridge between Gaza and Ramallah or the geographical division of the State of Israel.

  17. G.d bless and protect our soldiers.
    May the commanders safely plan to smash the poison snakes and anyone giving them support. Nothing may be left standing of Hamas, Jihad, etc.
    Intelligence units must ferret out the identity of all Hamas terrorists and eliminate them.