Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday when defending the governments decision to call a truce and stop the invasion that; “It is still not time to enter Gaza in a very wide operation and conquer it”, leaving no doubt that ‘conquering’ the Gaza Strip is, indeed, the Zionists long term intention.
While it has always been surmised that invasion and occupation, with the goal of eventual annexation of the Gaza Strip, has always been Israel’s ultimate intention, this is possibly the clearest indication yet that any senior Israeli government minister has given confirming that intention.
Since the Israeli military are clearly capable at any time of overrunning the enclave with its well trained and well equipped ground forces including tanks and infantry, one needs to ask: what stopped them this time?
Considering Israeli public opinion would likely have supported an invasion in order to stop the rockets and the bombings, the only reason Israel did not follow through was, not so much that Israel wasn’t ready but, rather, because their major sponsors, the US and their other Western allies, with one eye on their own peoples public opinion, simply couldn’t afford to support such an invasion – at least not just yet. While Americans generally overwhelmingly support Israel, they prefer to see a peace arrived at via a two-state solution to the crisis rather than brute force, invasion and occupation. Britain and Europe are even less enthusiastic in supporting an Israeli invasion.
Even the warmongering Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman concedes that an invasion now would cost Israel dearly in public opinion brownie points but hasn’t given up the idea completely saying that an invasion may take place after the Israeli elections in January 2013.
Time will tell.