Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – BEIRUT WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Baghdad – Damascus – Nablus – El Arish – Beirut – Gaza/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Hamas Human Chain Event Monday Night Could Result in Storming Erez Crossing into Israel – Heavy Fighting in Gaza – Russia DPM Medvedev to Visit Belgrade Monday – Five Hours of Planning with Belgrade
Night Watch: EREZ CROSSING – When Tehran had Hamas explode open the Rafah Terminal between Gaza/Egypt a month ago a Hamas official threatened to do the same against Israel. Perhaps not with explosives but through a mass demonstration of a half-million people a third of Gaza’s population massed on Israel’s border at one of the crossings. Since 700,000 Gazans went through the Rafah Terminal Hamas’ threat to mass nearly that many at the Erez crossing between north Gaza/Israel is being taken seriously. Or it could be another crossing that could be stormed Monday night. INN reports Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gaby Ashkenazi will meet Sunday evening with officers of Israel’s Southern Command to plan measures they may have to employ in confronting a mass Palestinian demonstration that could be armed. Jerusalem has already sent more battalions, in full riot gear, to each border crossing. Israeli troops would first fire into the air, then at the legs and if that does not stop the advance then shoot to kill, which will probably happen since they will be confronting people prepared for martyrdom and some of them could even be equipped with suicide vests. Israel also has what is called a Scream Machine that induces nausea, disorientation and dizziness. [INN]
Monday 10 am – What has made the situation in Gaza more desperate is on Saturday the territory ran out of gasoline except for emergency vehicles. Hamas has now called for a human chain event on Monday night, a demonstration of people 30 miles (50 km) long running the length of the Gaza Strip from south to north. Haaretz reports Israeli intelligence officials are anticipating 40,000 people and are haunted by what they call the “Hezbollah Precedent” when in May 2000, just before the IDF withdrew from south Lebanon, the Lebanese army left their border posts enabling hundreds of civilians to mass on the Israel/Lebanon border. [HAARETZ]
The head of the Palestinian Popular Anti-Siege Committee protest, Jamal al-Khudary stated, “We do not have any intentions of approaching the fence, either in the north or the south. We hope all the participants will abide by the instructions and we will try to prevent any violations.” That statement puts them in a position to blame Israel for any disturbance. A Hamas official then said there will be a spontaneous mass movement of women and children toward the border. It is not possible to plan spontaneity, the women and children will do as they have been instructed. Israel suspects Hamas is planning this confrontation deliberately. A security source in Jerusalem warned the army is ready for “all scenarios”. He continued, “Obviously, if gunmen start shooting at the fence we will have to respond in kind and we are absolutely unwilling to countenance a situation where the fence is breached like it was in Rafah.” Tehran of course wants mass killings, blamed on Israel, as a way of increasing the crisis-chaos atmosphere in the region and justifying enlarging the war around Israel.
In the meantime heavy fighting is continuing between Palestinian militants and units of the IDF. An Israel Air Force (IAF) strike killed three Palestinians over the weekend near Beit Hanoun in north Gaza as they were preparing to fire mortars. At Dahaniyeh, in south Gaza, the IDF uncovered five weapon smuggling tunnels. A limited amount of Qassam rocket fire is ongoing but for the moment Iran seems to want Hamas to use the mass demonstration weapon knowing it will result in mass martyrdom and mass hatred.
Moscow – As accusations and counter-accusations are hurling back and forth between Belgrade/Washington, Moscow/Washington, Brussels/Belgrade and Brussels/Moscow, Serbianna/AFP report Russia Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will visit Belgrade Monday for extensive discussions on bilateral relations and cooperation over Kosovo. The meeting has added importance because Medvedev has been hand picked by Russia President Vladimir Putin to be his successor. Medvedev will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Spokeswoman for the Russian Embassy in Belgrade, Aliona Kudriavceva, announced the meeting is expected to “last around five hours. [SERBIANNA]
Belgrade – B92 reports also with Medvedev will be Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu which reveals the military tone of the discussions and I suspect there will of course be joint statements afterward in which Medvedev states any attack on Serbia will be considered by Moscow an attack on Russia. Moscow’s Ambassador to Belgrade, Aleksander Alekseyev stated, “Russia is not willing to modify its position on Kosovo and Metohija, which is very consistent.” Alekseyev then added the purpose of the meeting will be to, “Define what their joint policy will be in future and which additional steps the two countries should make.” I suspect joint military operations are being planned since Belgrade-Moscow know some NATO governments want to continue to make a show of strength using Serbia as their example, something they decided to do in 1990 at the end of the Cold War, by staging crises-wars with Serbia’s nationalistic President Slobodan Milosevic. [B92]
I also suspect the next series of confrontational demonstrations will be planned, on the Kosovo/Serbia border perhaps using Serbian veterans, while at the same time joint statements guaranteeing Serbia’s territorial sovereignty and no recognition of Kosovo as an independent republic. At their joint press conference there may even be statements regarding the Serbian communities in the north of Kosovo, around Kosovska Mitrovica as being under the rule of Belgrade, therefore any attempt by Pristina to exert its authority over northern Kosovo will be resisted by any means Serbia decides.