As the WikiLeaks documents continue to be digested by the global media community, it was revealed that the Israeli military has been planning for a ‘major war’ against its adversaries in Gaza and Lebanon.
With Israeli aircraft striking targets in Gaza on Sunday – as Israeli and Hamas spokespeople confirmed to CNN – it is not difficult to imagine the linear progression toward a more massive conflict between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza. And the Israeli military’s plans for a “major war” were discussed openly with a US congressional delegation late in 2009, according to a Jerusalem Post report on US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
Israeli military sources have counted more than 235 armed projectiles – missiles, rockets, and mortar shells – that were fired from Gaza into Israel in 2010 alone, and it was this concern that prompted the Israeli military leadership to explain its larger-scale military planning.
In addition to the proactive military planning, it was also revealed by the WikiLeaks documents that and Iranian rocket attack on Israel would only allow a 10-12 minute period for Israeli defenses to prepare and to respond. However, the larger threat to Israeli military planners appears to be found in Hamas-controlled Gaza and Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon.
“I’m preparing the Israeli army in a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite,” Israel’s defense chief Gabi Ashkenazi told the US congressional delegation, according to the Jerusalem Post report on the WikiLeaks release.
Given the threat of missile attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah, Ashkenazi spoke also of plans to shore up Israeli missile defense systems. General Ashkenazi also noted that Hezbollah has over 40,000 rockets – and that these rockets are considerably more accurate than prior generations of fire power available to the Hezbollah and Hamas organizations.
“We therefore believe,” Ashkenazi told the Americans, according to the leaked cables, “that the next war will take place in the same areas where the previous wars occurred,” meaning Lebanon and Gaza.