No Gaza war warning: Israel

AFP , Monday 24 Jan 2011

Israel denies having given a specific warning to the PA about Operation Cast Lead

A senior Israeli official on Monday denied that the Palestinian Authority received specific advance warning that Israel planned to invade Gaza in 2008, as contradicting documents leaked by Al-Jazeera announced.

The news channel reported overnight that a cache of 1,600 leaked documents related to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations showed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas received advance warning of Israel's Operation Cast Lead offensive.

But Amos Gilad, the senior Israeli defence official said to have informed Abbas of the plan , on Monday denied having given any such warning.

"This is an example of inaccuracy. No concrete warning concerning an offensive was given to the Palestinian Authority," Gilad, director of political-military affairs at the Defence Ministry, told Israeli public radio.

The documents obtained by Al-Jazeera, which have already prompted a furious reaction from the Palestinian Authority, contain a series of revelations about contacts between Israel and the Palestinians over the past decade.

But Gilad said the suggestion that the Palestinian Authority received specific advance information about the 22-day Operation Cast Lead was ridiculous.

"I didn't say anything to president Abbas that I hadn't said to the entire world: that we could not tolerate the resumption of rocket fire and other terrorist attacks against our territory," said Gilad.

At the time of the invasion, Gilad served as a co-coordinator on Israeli activities in the Palestinian territories.

"You could have just deduced that Israel would act. But no concrete information was given," he added.

The documents obtained by Al-Jazeera and shared with British newspaper The Guardian have been touted as providing an "unprecedented look" at Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

They come after whistleblower website WikiLeaks released thousands of US diplomatic cables, including some that reported Israeli officials had offered to coordinate the devastating Cast Lead operation with the Palestinian leadership and offered to hand control of Gaza to Abbas' Fatah and Egypt.

The Palestinians and Egypt both reportedly refused any role.

Gaza has been under the control of the militant movement Hamas since 2007, when it routed Fatah forces in bloody fighting, a year after it won legislative elections.

Israel's Operation Cast Lead ended in a ceasefire on 18 January 2009, killed 1,400 Palestinians, most of which were civilians, and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.

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