Israel's Script in Gaza: Assassinate, Wait for Response and Bomb
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By Sunday evening in Gaza, a weekend of relentless Israeli bombing has left 18 people dead and dozens wounded. Israeli propaganda insists that the attacks are about preventing “terrorism” and stopping “rockets.”
But in fact, Israel provoked this violence and according to some Israeli commentators its goals are to escalate pressure for war with Iran and to drag Hamas away from diplomacy and back into violence.
Sunday’s victims of the Israeli bombing included Ayoub Useila, 12, of Jabalya refugee camp, whose seven year-old cousin was injured, and Adel al-Issi, 52, a farmer near Gaza City. Others suffered horrifying injuries, as recounted by doctors at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
On Monday, another 5 people were reported killed, and dozens more injured, bringing the reported total of dead to 23 (See also the Palestinian Center for Human Rights latest release for details on the attacks).
Israel launches attack on Friday
The Israeli assault began on Friday, when Israeli forces carried out the extrajudicial executions of Zuhair Al-Qaisi and Mahmoud Al-Hannani of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), whom Israel alleged were “masterminds” of an attack near Eilat last year. Except, as Max Blumenthal demonstrated, this is untrue, as even Israel previously acknowledged.
This weekend’s attacks have followed a typical pattern. Israel launches a lethal attack knowing full well that Palestinian resistance factions will respond. It then uses the response—dozens of rockets falling on Israel rarely causing injuries or damage—as the very pretext for continued bombing. Israel also claims to have shot down several dozen incoming missiles using its US-subsidized “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.
On Twitter, the Israeli military spokesperson even praised Israel for its “restraint” as if Israel hadn’t started the violence itself on a completely false pretext: " #IDF Spox: No other country in the world would have allowed 130 rockets in 48 hours and shown such restraint. #IsraelUnderFire."
Recall that after the Eilat attack last August, Israel launched a ferocious assault on Gaza, also on false pretexts, killing 14 people including a 2-year old child, a 13-year-old boy and a doctor.
Beyond the propaganda, informed Israeli commentators, even those supporting the action, acknowledge that Israel chose to initiate the current escalation of violence:
In the Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz wrote:
When the IDF decided on Friday afternoon to assassinate the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, it knew what it was getting itself into.
Assessments ahead of the decision to bomb the car carrying Zuhair Qaisi predicted that around 100 rockets could be fired into Israel during each day of the round of violence expected to erupt. This was a price the government felt it was capable of paying.
In other words, Israel was prepared to carry out an extrajudicial execution, a war crime, knowing that there would be retaliation. Israel’s routine policy of executing Palestinians in occupied territories without charge or trial, based on flimsy allegations made by the killers themselves, is a major violation of international humanitarian law and makes a mockery of Israel’s claim to be a “democracy” by any possible measure.
Even in China, Iran, and the United States, all prolific users of the death penalty where no doubt many innocent people have been put to death, authorities at least go through the formality of a trial. Not so in Israel, where in the past decade hundreds of Palestinians have been sentenced to death in secret and then executed in their beds, on the street, while riding in cars, or even when confined to wheelchairs, along with hundreds of bystanders.