After Warning of 'Large and Painful Military Operation,' Israel Begins Massive Bombing of Gaza

"Israeli snipers shoot and kill scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including kids, then calls it self-defense. When a Palestinian sniper fires at one Israeli soldier, Israel bombs Gaza with F-16s and preps for all out war."

A fireball exploding in Gaza City during Israeli bombardment on July 20, 2018. Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets throughout the Gaza Strip. Gaza's health ministry reporting three Palestinians killed. (Photo: Bashar Taleb/AFP via Getty Images)

Just hours after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel is gearing up to launch a "large and painful military operation" in Gaza that would rival Operation Protective Edge—a 2014 assault that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians—the Israeli military carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes across Gaza on Friday following weekly anti-occupation protests along the border fence.

 

The airstrikes began to slam Gaza just hours after Israeli soldiers gunned down at least three Palestinians during anti-occupation demonstrations. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says one of its soldiers was killed by retaliatory gunfire from the Palestinians.

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"Palestinian defense forces fired back at Israeli snipers who have been murdering Palestinian men, women, and children for weeks," noted journalist Ali Abunimah.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, added: "Israeli snipers shoot and kill scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including kids, then calls it self-defense. When a Palestinian sniper fires at one Israeli soldier, Israel bombs Gaza with F-16s and preps for all out war."

In response to Israel's "massive" wave of airstrikes, activists began circulating the #StoptheWar hashtag in an effort to pressure the international community to step in and stop Israel's efforts to launch yet another catastrophic assault on the "occupied, blockaded, unlivable, and exhausted Gaza Strip."

 

Munayyer of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights argued in a tweet on Friday that the airstrikes are a deliberate escalation that is merely a precursor to a broader military attack on Gaza.

"Israel has been planning another war on Gaza for some time. They recently conducted exercises, declared Friday as an ultimatum day, and the Americans to wrote a WaPo oped to open the Israeli propaganda campaign," Munayyer noted, referring to an opinion piece co-authored by White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, which blames Hamas for Israel's brutal decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory.

"Seems Israel is hell bent on war, again," Munayyer added.

Israel's latest bombardment of Gaza comes just days after Israel further intensified its collective punishment of the Palestinian people by imposing "genocidal" trade restrictions on the occupied territory.

As Common Dreams reported, Israel's legislature also approved a bill this week that enshrines "apartheid into law" and makes the 1.8 million Arabs living in Israel second-class citizens.

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Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @wordsofdissent