This article published in July of last year points to a Plan of the Israeli Military to invade Palestinian territories and destroy the Palestinian Authority:
"Israel's invasion plan -- reportedly dubbed Justified Vengeance -- would be launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide bombing, would last about a month and is expected to result in the death of hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians."
According to the Washington Times (19 March 2002):
"A contingency plan, codenamed Operation Justified Vengeance, was drawn up last June to reoccupy all of the West Bank and possibly the Gaza Strip at a likely cost of "hundreds" of Israeli casualties. While that plan has never been fully implemented [sic], elements of it were employed during the past two weeks in an effort to show the Palestinians that Israel can still control these territories at will. Israeli military planners have been concerned about a major Palestinian strike against Israel since 1998."
According to unconfirmed media reports, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz presented the government on Sunday with an updated plan for an all-out attack on the Palestinian Authority. The London-based Foreign Report reported that the plan calls for an invasion of Palestinian-controlled territory by some 30,000 Israeli soldiers, with the clearly defined mission of destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian leadership and collecting weaponry currently possessed by the various Palestinian forces, and expelling or killing its military leadership. As reported in the Foreign Report this week and disclosed locally by Maariv, Israel's invasion plan -- reportedly dubbed Justified Vengeance -- would be launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide bombing, would last about a month and is expected to result in the death of hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians.
PA Chairman Yasser Arafat would no longer be in control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the end of the military action, the IDF assumes, according to the London weekly. The report also discloses the assumption that the massive Israeli military action would result in the stationing of an international peacekeeping force in the territories, but by the time that such a force would arrive, facts on the ground would be quite different, with improved security conditions for Israel.
The Foreign Report suggests that the outlook of the top echelon of IDF commanders has changed recently, and reflects the position of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who wants a more active role for the army.
Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres said no such plan was ever submitted or discussed by the government. "I'm so happy to see that such an important journal has such a fertile imagination. It simply didn't happen," Peres told Army Radio.
Who would succeed Arafat? According to the Qatari daily Al-Watan, Israel recently relayed to European officials a list of eight possible successors to Arafat. The newspaper, citing unnamed sources in London, said the list includes Palestinians who would be more flexible on the peace process than Arafat.
One of the names included on the list is Arafat's deputy, Abu Mazen. The Qatari newspaper reports that Arafat's relationship with Abu Mazen has soured, possibly as a result of Abu Mazen's meeting with high-level officials in the Bush administration whereas Arafat has been persona non grata with the Americans. Arafat reportedly feels this was an attempt by Abu Mazen and the Americans to undermine his leadership.
Peres continues to press the Israeli government into resuming a dialogue with Arafat. "It would be a mistake on our side to ignore the fact that Arafat represents the Palestinian people," Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres said yesterday. "It is an illusion to think that if Arafat would go, our problems would be solved," he said.
While Prime Minister Sharon insists that he is not leading Israel into war, and that he will continue with Israel's policy of restraint in the face of repeated Palestinian terrorist attacks, he has reportedly been leading an international campaign to discredit Arafat. According to media reports, Sharon told visiting Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman last night of Arafat's direct connection and involvement in terrorist activity. This was apparently part of Sharon's message to international leaders on recent trips to Germany and France as well.
Yesterday MK Michael Kleiner (Herut) called on Israel to either assassinate or topple Arafat. Kleiner's words came in response to a Maariv article that reported Arafat instructing his forces to "kill a settler every day." Kleiner suggested replacing Arafat, even if it meant the Hamas would take his place. According to Kleiner, the entire world recognizes the Hamas as a terrorist organization so Israel's continued efforts against a radical Palestinian leadership would not be condemned.
An Israeli action against Arafat and the Palestinian Authority would not have guaranteed results, according to the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Major General Yaakov Or. In an interview with Ha'aretz, Or warned against any Israeli action aiming to replace Arafat. "History teaches us that [such actions] lead to great disappointment," Or said.
Commentators have noted similarities between the invasion plan and the one that was implemented by Sharon as Defense Minister in Lebanon during 1982. Then, too, the goal was to destroy PLO infrastructure and weapons, and to expel or kill Arafat and his armed forces. The trigger for that invasion was the assassination attempt against Israel's Ambassador in London.
Palestinians reportedly consider the Foreign Report story accurate. Mohammed Dahlan, head of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security in Gaza, charged that Israel is seriously considering taking military action to topple the Palestinian Authority. In a newspaper interview, Dahlan claimed that Israel already has a detailed plan of attack, but the plan would never succeed because the Palestinian people are united in support of Arafat's leadership.
Copyright © Israel Insider 2002. Reprinted for fair use only.
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PIL204A.html
See related story:
Growing evidence of Israelís plans to invade the West Bank and Gaza , by Chris Marsden, World Socialist Website (14 July 2001)
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