I was reading the front page story on the NYT’s website about the Israel/Gaza Strip conflict and found five bits of information that drew my interest.
Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.
Israel’s military made clear it had widened the scope of the bombing campaign in Gaza to hit the political structures of Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, including the home of Ismael Haniya, the No. 2 Hamas official behind Khaled Meshal, its leader-in-exile in Qatar. But Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said it was unclear whether Israel had been responsible for the debilitating strike on the power plant, where an enormous fire hurtled thick, black smoke skyward, visible for miles.
The shutdown of the power plant, which Israel previously attacked in 2006 and which sat idle for weeks this past winter for lack of fuel, threatened to turn the situation in Gaza into a major humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.
F-16 and Apache helicopter strikes also ruined the headquarters of the Al Aqsa satellite television and radio channels affiliated with Hamas.
Also flattened was the Financial Monitoring Authority, a government building where some Hamas leaders kept offices. Relatives of Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, own the home next door, which was damaged; Mr. Sourani said his brother, his brother’s wife and his 94-year-old aunt were in the house at the time of the strike and had received no warning.
My question here is what happened to the stated goal of stopping rocket fire into Israel and eliminating Hamas’ smuggling tunnels? What’s all of this now? Collective punishment and the destruction of Hamas is the only real goal.
Israel has now detained 240 Palestinians in West Bank raids (including 65 freed prisoners from the Gilad Shilat prisoner exchange) in an effort to locate and free three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Yet the Israelis are also openly claiming that these actions are also an attempt to hurt Hamas.
Now I am not condoning the kidnappings by whom or whoever is behind these actions, and Palestinian Authority (P.A.) Pres. Mahmoud Abbas has come out publicly against them. But the Israeli government is using these raids as an excuse to target and intimidate Hamas members, also.
From The Guardian today:
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said the re-arrest of the prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit exchange “sent an important message” that the purpose of Israel‘s military campaign was both to return the teenagers and damage Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank.
As well as the arrests, the IDF said on Wednesday that it had carried out about 800 searches since Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-ad Sha’er and Naftali Frankel, both 16, went missing on Thursday. These included raids on Hamas’s charity arm, Dawa, which Israel claims is used to recruit operatives, disseminate information and raise funds.
This was from The Guardian yesterday:
“We are turning Hamas membership into a ticket to hell,” Naftali Bennett, a far-right member of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told army radio on Tuesday.
Should not the Israelis be trying to focus on the humanitarian issue here instead of having ulterior motives? Should they not be trying to cooperate with the new unity government and Abbas in that he has publicly announced his abhorrence regarding these kidnappings?
They do not for this is how the Israeli’s deal with the Palestinians. They act with over-aggression and with disregard for the so-called “peace process.” They do not want a two-state solution, they just want the Palestinians to just disappear.
According to a NYT report today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming the new joint Palestinian Authority for the disappearance/kidnapping of three missing Israeli teenagers from West Bank settlements in public statements today made to the International community. He is placing blame more specifically on Hamas, who just reconciled with the West-Bank base Fatah party to form the new joint P.A., but he said that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is directly responsible.
So what does Israel do but completely overreact with extreme acts of violence even though there is no proof that Hamas is behind the kidnapping? The article reports:
Hamas members of Parliament, former ministers, imams and professors were among those arrested in the night raids in Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and other West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps. Israel also carried out six airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight that Palestinian health officials said wounded a 15-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman, and it closed its commercial and pedestrian crossings into Gaza with exceptions only for fuel deliveries and humanitarian emergencies.
Now if Hamas would be behind these kidnappings it would be a breach of international law and should be treated as such. But as Qadura Fares, the Palestinians’ former minister of prisoner affairs, said, “the kidnapping is the result of the peace-process stalemate,” and the Israeli’s are using the incident to “make political gains.” The frustration with Israel’s planted obstacles to peace has kindled much resentment amongst Palestinians.
But, as usual, Israel is playing the victim here. They played to the international community today with Netanyahu speaking English, to appeal to the West, and spewed their usual apocalyptic predictions of Israel’s destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists.
But do they not now threaten the region the most with their over-use of military power?
Read this great story in the NYT.
As STL followers know, I am very critical of Israel and their occupation of the Palestinian territories, their inhumane war of terror on the peoples of the occupied territories, and the arguments regarding which territories (mainly, the Golan Heights and issues with Jerusalem) belong to whom.
But the politicized teaching of curriculums has no place in Palestinian or, more specifically, Hamas ran schools.
Yet, on the other hand, this is what happens after decades of occupation and Israeli military violent actions.
But finally, I do not sponsor any form of violence by the Palestinian peoples against the Israelis or anyone else, but I understand how the results of Israel’s actions can lead to these results.