The Israeli Cabinet was seriously worried. Despite effective control of the western media by the Jewish-American lobby, risk assessment conducted in Tel Aviv showed there was still a high probability that continued ruthless Israeli activity in Palestine, would lead in turn to increased sanctions by the western nations. Initially the sanctions would take the form of decreased arms shipments to Israel, followed later by increasingly large cuts in overseas financial “aid”, still provided in the main by unwitting American taxpayers. Sooner or later financial aid might dry up completely, but this was not the worst case scenario.
Eventually, if western public opinion became strident enough, America and Europe might feel compelled to impose a complete oil embargo on Israel. With no natural resources of its own, and only limited strategic oil reserves in the country, Israel’s armed forces would grind to a complete standstill in only a few weeks. Aircraft and battle tanks have an almost insatiable thirst for petroleum products, and when those products run out, the aircraft and tanks are no more use to their owners than chunks of aluminum and steel waiting for the recycling smelters.
Clearly then, the Israeli Cabinet had to find an alternate source of oil, and find it quickly. Moreover, bearing in mind they would no longer be able to pay for the oil because of financial sanctions, the new source would have to be “free”. Back in the sixties, ambitious Israelis had made detailed plans to acquire just such an alternate source of oil by force, but the plans had to be shelved for geopolitical reasons. Those geopolitical restrictions no longer existed in 2001, so the old plans were taken out of storage, dusted off, and renamed Operation Shekhinah.