Israel at “Highest State of Readiness” for Gaza Ground Invasion
by RICHARD SILVERSTEIN
NOVEMBER 17, 2012
Sheera Frenkel reports in the Times of London that a senior IDF officer told her the army has been moved to its “highest state of readiness.” In IDF jargon, this is called P+1, which means the entire army must be ready for combat on one hour’s notice. Israel will not invade Gaza during Shabbat (too many religious-settler soldiers who are observant). That means the invasion could begin as early as Saturday night, Israel time, less than 24 hours from now. Cast Lead also started at the end of Shabbat, January 3, 2009.
Haaretz reports that the Israeli cabinet is considering calling up as many as 75,000 reservists, which is a massive mobilization many times larger than the call-up for Cast Lead. Even if you discount this report as psy-ops on the part of Israel against Hamas, it appears that Netanyahu wants a massive display of force. Though it could mean he intends to re-occupy Gaza, I strongly doubt that’s his intent. It would bring massive international opprobrium, which isn’t what he wants in the run-up to elections.
My sense (wholly personal and not based on specific knowledge) is that Bibi and Barak plan for this to be a two to three-week military exercise. I can’t believe they’d want it to fester longer than that because that would put in major dent in the feel-good atmosphere he’d like to engender in the late-January election period. That still gives plenty of time for the IDF to collect its scalps, which can be prominently displayed before the Israeli public, thus giving Bibi his own personal war on which he can proudly campaign.
The death toll has risen to 35 in Gaza. There were no Israeli deaths today.