Renewed Israeli assault on Gaza

The latest round of violence was triggered by Israel’s assassination of Zuhair al-Qaisy secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees along with two associates in an airstrike on Gaza yesterday.

Ynet reported:

Minister of Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai stressed on Saturday that “the IDF is not planning on launching another military campaign in Gaza.

“This round of fighting began due to the targeted killing of a PRC operative who was in the midst of planning another attack. It was clear to the security establishment that this would lead to an escalation, but targeting him was necessary,” he noted.

Israel repeatedly trots out these two explanations for its attacks: that it is thwarting a Palestinian attack that is being prepared or that it is directly targeting rocket-launching sites. But if the escalation of rocket attacks on Southern Israel (apparently 100 rockets so far) is greater than the attack that has supposedly been thwarted, there’s little logic to this kind of “preemptive” attack.

As always, there seems to be greater reason to think that Israel initiates an action like this for political rather than security reasons.

Hamas’s political power is rising. It has struck a deal on joint governance with Fatah and in response to the Arab Spring is strengthening its ties with other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood while severing its ties with Syria. It now has growing political support from Qatar, Egypt, and Turkey.

In this context, Benjamin Netanyahu would no doubt prefer to see Hamas abandon its ceasefire with Israel. While he is internationally perceived as a man itching to start a war on Iran, a few dozen rockets getting fired at Israel is probably a welcome sight since it helps renew the appearance of Israel as victim rather than aggressor.

Hamas seems unlikely to rise to the bait and given that they already announced that they would not involve themselves in a war between Israel and Iran, many Israelis (especially those in the south) must be wondering how they are served by a defense force that might more accurately be called the Israel Provocation Force.

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4 thoughts on “Renewed Israeli assault on Gaza

  1. delia ruhe

    Well, Bibi failed to get Obama to put on his warpaint, so I guess a war on Gaza is the next best thing.

  2. rosemerry

    Homemade rockets, from a prison with huge numbers of unemployed young poeple, land made unusable by destruction every day by “defensive” israeli attacks, Hamas NOT responsible but blamed anyway, drums of war against a non-threatening foe, but instead attacks on helpless enclosed strip of stateless humans. Big brave Israel, the Jewish, democratic State of chosen ones.

  3. Paul Woodward

    I wrote about the success of Hamas’ 2008 ceasefire here:

    When, after ignoring the subject for several days, the New York Times finally got around to making an editorial pronouncement on the war on Gaza, it trotted out what is among most inattentive observers the conventional wisdom:

    Hamas never fully observed the cease-fire that went into effect on June 19 and Israel never really lived up to its commitment to ease its punishing embargo on Gaza.

    In fact, Hamas’ compliance with the ceasefire was stunningly disciplined. Don’t take my word for it. The proof comes from the Israeli government.

    Look at this graph provided by the Israeli Foreign Ministry showing rocket attacks from Gaza per month during 2008. From January through June there were an average of 179 rocket attacks per month. From July through October there were an average of 3 rocket attacks per month.

    For the residents of Sderot, those months were indeed a period of calm. But the calm ended when Israel unilaterally broke the ceasefire right after the US elections and just before Hamas and Fatah sat down for crucial reconciliation talks in Cairo.

    If Israel, as it would currently have the world believe, was so strongly in favor of extending the six-month ceasefire, why did it attach so little value to what had already been accomplished? Why did it not acknowledge the effectiveness with which Hamas was holding up its side of the bargain? Why did it not demonstrate that it valued the calm by lifting or at least easing the economic embargo on Gaza in a significant way?

    All Israel accomplished was to confirm Hamas’ suspicions – suspicions shared by most Palestinians – that Israel cannot be trusted.

    and about the Israeli efforts to obscure the data here:

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