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July 11, 2006
Israel Plans Expansion Of Gaza Incursion

After Khaled Mashaal refused to release Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier kidnapped in a Hamas border raid that touched off a military escalation in Gaza, the Israelis have ordered a "massive" expansion of the Gaza operation:

IDF troops were gearing up Tuesday afternoon for a planned massive incursion into the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave the IDF a green light to re-enter Gaza in an effort to stop Kassam rocket attacks. Military sources said that the new incursion would involve naval, infantry, and air forces, which would operate in the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Olmert refused to trade Palestinian prisoners for Shalit, saying that such a capitulation would have serious long-term repercussions for the state of Israel. That reinforces the change in policy apparently made by Olmert over the last few weeks. Israel has made several such swaps before, trading hundreds of Palestinian terrorists for a handful of Israeli soldiers. That policy apparently led Mashaal to believe that grabbing Shalit would gain him and Hamas a much-needed victory by securing the release of a large number of prisoners from Israeli jails.

Instead, Olmert made his disdain for Mashaal clear:

"Khaled Mashaal is a terrorist with blood on his hands. He's not a legitimate partner for anything. He's not a partner and he won't be a partner. I will not negotiate with Hamas," the Israeli leader said. ...

On Monday, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal demanded a prisoner swap, but Olmert said that would be a "major mistake." ... "They will never be able to win from me any minor concession," Mashaal insisted in his first public appearance since the June 25 capture of the 19-year-old Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

At least we can get past the fiction that Hamas in the Palestinian Authority considers itself an independent political movement. We can see clearly that Mashaal controls Hamas in the entire region, including Gaza and the West Bank. His terrorists hold Shalit, and Mashaal has no intention of releasing him without some capitulation from Israel.

So far, Olmert has rightly denied him that satisfaction. Instead, the Israelis -- who believe Shalit remains in Gaza -- will continue escalating their incursion until they either find Shalit alive and rescue him, or until Hamas figures out that they have lost and return him to Israel after their act of war that resulted in his abduction. Either way, events have shown Ismail Haniyeh as an empty suit, a mere mouthpiece for Mashaal and the terrorists sheltered by Syria. And if Shalit does not return alive to Israel, Syria willl have to answer for their part in Hamas' act of war.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 11, 2006 11:38 AM

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I said when Operation Summer Rains began two weeks ago that this had to be an IDF reoccupation of the entire Gaza Strip if the serial kidnappings and endless Kassam rocket attacks into Israeli cities were going to be permanently stopped. Instead Olme... [Read More]

Tracked on July 12, 2006 9:07 PM


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