Minister raps “inadequate” Israeli army action in Gaza, jabs prime minister Olmert
Internal security minister Avi Dichter warned the Israeli cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Jan. 20, that without a new kind of military deterrence to halt the Palestinian missile offensive from Gaza, Sderot would break down. He asked why the chief of staff was absent from the session.
The minister, a former Shin Bet director, took sharp issue with prime minister Ehud Olmert, who he said he was encouraged by finding less complaints and more appreciation for the IDF when he visited Sderot last Thursday.
Dichter went on to blast the defense minister and chief of staff: “Current tactics in Gaza are making no difference at all,” he said. Gazan [Russian] roulette against civilians is no basis for strategy. The people living within range of Gaza have lost hope in the face of a “thick-skinned government.”
There has to be a different kind of deterrence to stop the missiles, mortars and snipers coming at the rate of dozens a day, said the internal security minister. “And if there is no choice, let the Gazans pay the price and let there be ghost towns there, not here.”
debkafile reported earlier: Prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak dodged heavy pressure for effective military action to stop the nightmarish attacks when they toured the dwindling population Thursday.
Taking a leaf out of the Lebanese Hizballah’s book in last year’s war and chalking up its four-day gains, Hamas can well afford to accept a ceasefire forced on both sides by the international community – or even a slowdown – thereby holding off further Israeli counter-attacks and forcing the reopening of the crossings.
Meanwhile, Hamas and its partners can quietly restore their missile, mortar and fuel stocks ready for the next round of aggression. They have achieved their goals of retaining the initiative for war operations at all times and further undermining Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas’ credibility for agreeing to join the “Zionist entity” in US-brokered peace talks.
debkafile‘s military sources report: Two Gaza organizations have acquired mobile missile units mounted on mini-vans Taliban style: Hamas and the al Qaeda-linked Fatah al Islam, which has recently deployed in the Strip. The well-camouflaged vans drive around until their crews are certain they have thrown off IDF drones and other surveillance. They then pull up and shoot. This tactic makes it almost impossible for the Israel Air Force to put a stop to the massive Palestinian missile offensive against Israeli civilians. Hence the need for a different kind of deterrent as Dichter pointed out Sunday.