Israeli Massing Troops, Threatens War over Kidnapped Soldier

Israeli forces are massing on the Gaza border in preparation for war over a soldier kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists.

Israel massed troops Monday along the Gaza Strip border in preparation for what Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said would be a “broad and ongoing” operation against Palestinian militants following the abduction of an Israeli soldier.

Olmert issued the threat as Israeli and Palestinian officials furiously worked diplomatic channels to gain the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, a dual French-Israeli citizen who was seized in a cross-border raid on Sunday.

Speaking to a tourism conference in Jerusalem, Olmert said Israel’s patience was wearing thin and that he held the entire Palestinian leadership responsible for Shalit’s safety. “I gave the orders to our military commanders to prepare the army for a broad and ongoing military operation to strike the terrorist leaders and all those involved,” he said. “It should be clear. There will be immunity for no one.”

The irony, of course, is that this is precisely what the terrorists want: To disrupt any diplomatic efforts between Palestinian and Israeli authorities and to reignite a state of war. Given the fact that the Palestinians have elected a terrorist group to govern them and have shown little desire or capacity to stop terrorist incursions into Israel, however, it’s not clear that Olmert has other viable options.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.