Israel's Gaza goal: destroy Hamas power, replace with Abbas' Fatah

Israel’s doctrine of destruction
Bombs to “send Gaza back decades”

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

21 January 2009

Jonathan Cook describes how, after running out of targets in the first few days of its war on Gaza, Israel widened the definition “Hamas-affiliated targets” to include mosques, universities, the courts, schools, ambulances, hospitals, bridges, roads, electricity generating stations, sewage lines, factories, workshops and shops.

In the last days before Israel imposed a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza to avoid embarrassing the incoming Obama administration, it upped its assault, driving troops deeper into Gaza City, intensifying its artillery bombardment and creating thousands more displaced people.

Israel’s military strategy in Gaza, even in what its officials were calling the “final act”, followed a blueprint laid down during the Lebanon war more than two years ago.
Israel regards schools and other civilian buildings as "legitimate" targets

"That included mosques, universities, most government buildings, the courts, 25 schools, 20 ambulances and several hospitals, as well as bridges, roads, 10 electricity generating stations, sewage lines, and 1,500 factories, workshops and shops."

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah estimate the damage so far at .9 billion, pointing out that at least 21,000 residential apartment buildings need repairing or rebuilding, forcing 100,000 Palestinians into refugeedom once again. In addition, 80 per cent of all agricultural infrastructure and crops were destroyed. The PA has described its estimate as “conservative”.

"None of this will be regretted by Israel. In fact the general devastation, far from being unfortunate collateral damage, has been the offensive’s unstated goal. Israel has sought the political, as well as military, emasculation of Hamas through the widespread destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure and economy.

This is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine”, named after a suburb of Beirut that was almost levelled during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in summer 2006. The doctrine was encapsulated in a phrase used by Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff, at the time. He said Lebanon’s bombardment would “turn back the clock 20 years”."

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