Thursday, October 25, 2007

Barak okays plan to cut power in Gaza for every rocket fired

Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved on Thursday a list of civilian sanctions against the Gaza Strip as a means to combat the ongoing Kassam rocket barrages that have been fired at southern Israel since the disengagement from Gaza in August 2005. The decision was made during a special meeting of security officials in which he discussed the matter with senior military personnel, and it marks the first time Israel has scaled back vital supplies to Gaza since the cabinet defined Gaza as a "hostile entity" last month.

Under the plan, Israel will cut electricity for increasing lengths of time each time a Palestinian rocket is fired into Israel. Officials would not say when Israel plans to begin the cutoffs.

Throughout Wednesday, Palestinians continued to fire rockets into Israeli territory, all of which landed in open areas in the western Negev and caused no damage. In response, IAF planes struck a Kassam rocket cell in northern Gaza moments after its members launched two rockets at Israel. Two of the three cell members were killed.
On Tuesday, Barak ordered Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i to prepare a list of sanctions to be imposed on Gaza. Following a meeting with senior defense officials, Southern Command officers and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the deputy defense minister recommended that Israel begin cutting back the supply of gasoline and electricity to Gaza in the coming days.
"It's clear that we have to cut off ... the supply of electricity and the supply of fuel," Vilna'i told Army Radio Wednesday. "We will dramatically reduce the flow of electricity from Israel over several weeks."

Barak was also advised to shut down one of the five power lines connecting Israel and Gaza for two hours at night.

"We need to show the residents of Gaza that life does not carry on freely when Kassam rockets land in Israel," a senior defense official said. "If rockets are fired, then the Palestinians will pay a price."

Defense officials said the cuts in gasoline supply would be enough to "slightly disrupt" Palestinians' daily lives and cause them to think twice before driving their car.

During Tuesday's meeting, Vilna'i decided to allow the continued supply of diesel fuel, which is used by ambulances and sanitation vehicles.

"We do not want to cause a humanitarian crisis," a defense official said. "But we do want to send a clear message to the Palestinians that the rocket fire will not be tolerated."

Comment:< This "action" demonstrates how weak the Israeli government is. This will backfire within a matter of a few days of implementation. First, the Palestinians will rally around the "humanitarian crisis" the Israelis have created. The UN will rush in to stop our terrible actions. Resolutions will be brought to the General Assembly and the media will cover the horrific stories from Gaza. Hamas and Fatah now have a common foe again, this will allow the political opening for them to reunite. The EU will move to condemn Israel. We've discussed this option many times and the only way it works is if you believe that the regular people have any control in Gaza-they do not. Furthermore, the Hamas is not afraid to use its own people's suffering to further its gains. This is a doomed strategy but it makes Olmert and Barak look good, tough like they are doing something. It appeals to some Israeli citizens but only emotionally will it help some of them. There are other options that would stop the Kassams but the West is afraid to use them-this is political correctness gone astray-it is the only reason why Israel does not do what it needs to do.span>

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