“Blue Sky” Operation
“Israel Makes up for its Concessions at Rafah with a Buffer Zone North of Gaza “

“Blue Sky” Operation <br>  “Israel Makes up for its Concessions at Rafah with a Buffer Zone North of Gaza “

Israel recent activities in northern Gaza (create a buffer zone) is no surprise, in fact it comes as a natural consistent with Israel's disengagement plan. Northern Gaza area have experienced a similar operation back in September 30, 2004 'Days of Penitence' when the Israeli Army carried out an offensive operation at the same targeted area under the same pretext of the current operation, which is to stop Palestinian resistant from firing Qassam rockets into Israeli territory. The Israeli Army lobbed flyer from the air to residents of northern Gaza 12; warning them of a 12 hours grace period to evacuate the targeted area referred to in the flyer area prior to commencement of their operation to create a buffer zone. The targeted area referred to in the Israeli flyers amount to 8 Km2, however, it is essentially an additional part to the 53 Km2 Israeli security belt wrapped around Gaza eastern side; starting south of Gaza at the Rafah-Israel-Egyptian border point all the way up to northern Gaza to the newly declared by Israel buffer zone area.


What is the truth behind the Buffer Zone North of Gaza

The Israeli declared buffer zone north of Gaze will entitle Israel to a comprehensive control of the Gaza-West Bank safe passage (supposedly should have been active since December 15, 2005), however, intense situation along anticipation of results of the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) election (January 25); all led Israel to defer opening of the safe passage. Whatever the out come of the coming elections, Israel would have guaranteed inclusive control of the safe passage and of every individual or thing going in and out of Gaza.  


ARIJ anticipated the Israeli buffer zone back in September 2004

The Israeli plans for a buffer zone north of Gaza came with no surprise to ARIJ as the subject was cited in a published case study 'What Does Sharon want of Gaza?' back in October 20, 2004. Israel disengagement plan was no more than a tactical move on the part of the Israelis were they portray the Gaza withdrawal as a gesture of goodwill toward the crippled peace process and at the same time to rid the Israeli state from a no win situation were the Israeli settlement project have proven to be infertile and excessively high maintenance at many levels; particularly the running costs to keep the settlers there under an exhausted Israeli Army protection. See Map 2


Did Israel disengage from Gaza?

Contrary to what was promoted systematically in the media, the Israelis did not disengage from Gaza and to be more accurate; they never had the intention to do so as it was constantly palpable by their tangible actions; the security belt zone along the Gaza eastern borders and its analogous north of Gaza. ARIJ case study, (To Pullout from Gaza!… A Daring Step or Just a Tactical One) dates back to February 25, 2004 and clearly indicates the locations of the three Israeli settlements north of Gaza (Elei Sinai, Nisanit & Dugit) and Erez Industrial Zone; which comprise the area declared by Israel as a buffer zone north of Gaza. See Map 2





The Israeli activities carried out at the designated area (north of Gaza) started in late 2003 with clear indication of Israeli intentions to create a buffer zone complementing the Israeli security belt at the eastern Gaza borders; promoted in Sharon's address to the Likud Central Committee on â??Disengagementâ?? (January 5, 2004) 'We will extend a security line that will prevent any passage to our territory'.


Why the security belt? Why the northern Buffer Zone?

The answer is obvious; simply to maintain a tight grip over Gaza's six outlets  used for individuals or commodities going in and out of Gaza (Beit Hanun 'Erez' crossing, Ash-Shuja'ia 'Nahal Oz' crossing, Al-Mintar 'Karni' crossing, Al-Qarara 'Qisoufem' crossing, A-Awda 'Sofeh' crossing and finally Kerim Shalom; a border crossing; already under complete Israeli control). Israel at no time intended to leave Gaza implicitly, which is why it devised and implemented the disengagement plan utterly in unilateral and threatening procedures, spelled out in Sharon's address to the Likud Central Committee on â??Disengagementâ?? (January 5, 2004) 'An agreement would be better than a unilateral move. An agreement would be better for us, and better for the Palestinians, who will gain much less from the Disengagement Plan than they would from a political agreement. than they would from a political agreement.


For some time, Israel distracted the world with its unilaterally devised and implemented disengagement plan and in the mist of world applause, Israel javelin its artillery deep amongst Palestinian civilian areas and consequently making the northern part of Gaza and the entire Gaza Strip for that matter hostage to their will. Under the Israeli led 'Blue Sky' operation, the Gaza Strip is virtually reoccupied by Israel; as they control the ground exists, the sea outlet the sky and now with the Israeli settlers evacuated from Gaza, the Israeli Army has even more extended latitude to hit the Palestinians even harder than ever before. Israel's belligerent and conscious shelling of Gaza's residential areas is illegal and may well rise to the level of war crimes according to international law.






Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem



Categories: Reports