George Monbiot: Israel's war at least one year in the making

George Monbiot writes: "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that 'more than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and thinktanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail'.

"The attack, he said, would last for three weeks. It would begin with bombing and culminate in a ground invasion. Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, told the paper that 'of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared ... By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board'.

"A 'senior Israeli official' told the Washington Post that the raid by Hizbullah provided Israel with a 'unique moment' for wiping out the organisation. The New Statesman's editor, John Kampfner, says he was told by more than one official source that the US government knew in advance of Israel's intention to take military action in Lebanon. The Bush administration told the British government.

"Israel's assault, then, was premeditated: it was simply waiting for an appropriate excuse."

See also Updated Maps of the Israeli Assault on Lebanon.

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