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WikiLeaks: Israel preparing for 'large scale war'
Israel's army chief told a US Congress delegation in late 2009 he was preparing for a large war in the Middle East, probably against Hamas or Hezbollah
AFP, Sunday 2 Jan 2011
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Gaza
Shati refugee camp in Gaza, January 25, 2009. (Photo:Reuters)

"I am preparing the Israeli army for a large scale war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite," Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi was quoted as saying in a cable from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

The document, dated November 15, 2009, was quoted Sunday in Norwegian by Oslo-based daily Aftenposten, which said it had obtained WikiLeaks' entire cache of 251,187 leaked US embassy cables.

"The rocket threat against Israel is more serious than ever. That is why Israel is putting such emphasis on rocket defence," Ashkenazi told the US delegation led by Democrat Ike Skelton, the cable showed.

The army chief lamented that Iran has some 300 Shihab rockets that can reach Israel and stressed that the Jewish state would have only between 10 and 12 minutes warning in case of an attack. However, it was Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon that posed the most acute threat, he cautioned.

According to the quoted cable, Hezbollah is thought to have more than 40,000 rockets, many of which are believed capable of reaching deep into Israel.

US officials meanwhile reportedly estimate the militant group has acquired an arsenal of around 50,000 rockets.

A 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel killed 1,200 Lebanese, many of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers. And in his comments made nearly a year after Israel on December 27, 2008 launched the deadly Gaza war, Ashkenazi said "Israel is on a collision course also with Hamas, which rules Gaza."

"Hamas will have the possibility to bombard Tel Aviv, with Israel's highest population concentration," he was quoted as saying.

The Gaza war -- a response to hundreds of rockets fired into the Jewish State -- killed some 1,400 mainly civilian Palestinians and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers. It ended on January 18, 2009.
Israel had been harshly criticised for putting civilians at risk during fighting in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

However, in the cable leaked Sunday Ashkenazi is quoted saying Israel next time will not accept "any restrictions on warfare in populated areas," and insisted the army had never intentionally attacked civilian targets.



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kiwicris
04-01-2011 04:32am
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Hamas Rocket Attacks
Re Omayr - Yes, I too was flabbastered that an Arab paper would be passing on the zionist propaganda - just as Sara said - about all the NON EXISTANT rockets fired during the 6 month ceasefire that israhell broke. I am also very suspicious of any rockets fired from Gaza . . we never see photos of damage and if they were fired doesnt mean Hamas fired them !!! . could be Fatah stirring up crap for Gaza or any one of a number of other resistance offshoots working independently.
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Sara
03-01-2011 10:14am
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Israeli perceptions
Israel's continued remaking of history is in itself a problem. Not only do they try and sometimes successfully to convince the world of their version of historical events and their perceptions of "terrorism," "settlements," "defense" and "resistance" they also tend to believe it themselves and through continuous propaganda hand it down through the generations. I fear the truth would eventually disappear altogether.
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Dani
03-01-2011 12:16am
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Facts
In fact in the 6 months leading up to November 2008 Palestinian Terrorists fired 379 Mortars and 250 rockets into Israel. See here for the facts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2008
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Omayr
02-01-2011 05:05pm
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2008-9 Gaza Massacre
"The Gaza war -- a response to hundreds of rockets fired into the Jewish State --" Hamas fired no rockets for 6 months until Israel bombed Gaza on 4 November 2008. At which point they sued for a renewed truce depending on a relaxation of the siege, to which Israel responded by announcing a tightening of the siege and more bombing; at which point Hamas responding (wrongly in my opinion) with rocket fire. But for an arab news outlet to repeat the Israeli propaganda that Hamas initiated the Gaza massacre with rockets is just despicable
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