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June 28, 2006
Peretz Gives Order For Stage Two Of Gaza Incursion

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz reacted to the additional abduction claimed by the Palestinians by giving a green light to the second stage of the Israeli incursion into Gaza. The IDF will roll into northern Gaza and begin a vise manuever on the region as Israel solidifies its grip on Rafah:

Less than 24 hours after the IDF entered Gaza in the biggest operation since disengagement last summer, Defense Minister Amir Peretz gave the green light on Wednesday evening for the second part of the IDF Gaza incursion. The IDF was poised to enter northern Gaza.

IAF planes will distribute flyers on Wednesday night in the Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun areas in the northern Gaza Strip, warning local residents that they are endangering their lives by being in the vicinity of Kassam launch sites. ...

The Hamas-led Palestinian government called for a prisoner swap with Israel, saying the Gaza offensive would not secure the soldier's release. Hamas-affiliated militants holding the hostage previously made that demand, but this was the first time the government did. Israeli has ruled out a deal.

Earlier, IAF aircraft struck a Hamas training camp in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Wednesday afternoon, witnesses said.

The Israelis rejected the call for a so-called "prisoner swap", with Hamas attempting to trade Gilad Shalit and now an unnamed 62-year-old for all of the Palestinian juveniles in Israeli jails. Unfortunately, Israel has agreed to these one-sided trades with terrorists in the past, leading Hamas to believe that the Israelis would do business as usual. The second stage of the Gaza operation is a response that Israel should have given before to terrorist blackmail, and it certainly sends the message that this government will not do business as usual.

The Israelis have poured a lot of resources into Gaza in this mission. At some point, Israel will need to mobilize additional forces to protect itself against an opportunistic attack from Syria, the only one of Israel's neighbors still dumb enough to try something against the Israelis. If the Israelis decide to keep this mission going, they may call up more reserves soon.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 28, 2006 2:01 PM

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