Israel Attacks Gaza - Again
by Stephen Lendman
Israel invents pretexts to attack. Other times, it provokes them lawlessly. Palestinians are wrongfully blamed for its crimes. Incidents happen repeatedly.
Islamic Jihad (IJ) responded to multiple Israeli killings. So did other Gazan resistance groups.
They included the National Resistance Brigades, Abu Mustafa Brigades, and Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade.
They called doing so "Breaking the Silence." Ihab al-Ghussein is Gaza-based Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry spokesman.
He called Israel "responsible for any escalation." He warned of "consequences."
"Resistance is the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves," he stressed.
Israeli attacks were the most intense since Operation Pillar of Cloud (aka Cloud Column/Pillar of Defense) from November 14 - 21, 2012.
Over 170 Palestinians were killed. Over 1,000 were injured. Nearly half were women and children. At least 963 houses were damaged or destroyed.
They included 10 health centers, 35 schools, 2 universities, 15 NGO offices, 30 mosques, 14 media offices, 92 industrial and commercial facilities, 1 UNWRA food distribution center, 8 government buildings, 14 police/security stations, 5 banks, 34 vehicles, 3 youth clubs, 3 cemeteries, and 2 bridges.
Whether Israel intends more of the same ahead remains to be seen. On Thursday, an Islamic Jihad leader said Egypt brokered a ceasefire. Maintaining it is another matter.
Overnight Wednesday, an IDF statement reported 29 Israeli air strikes. Israel didn't comment on halting them. A senior Defense Ministry official said he expected them to end soon.
Multiple Israeli murders occurred days after Amnesty International's scathing report. It's titled "Trigger-Happy: Israel's Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank."
It accused Israel of cold-blooded murder. In 2013, Israel killed at least two dozen nonviolent Palestinians. Four were young children. They were shot in cold blood. Some in the back.
Thousands of Palestinians are wounded annually. Thousands more are lawlessly arrested, detained, and brutalized in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst.
Palestinian resistance groups fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel. No casualties were reported. More on this below.
Days earlier, Israel murdered seven Palestinians in cold blood. Three were killed in separate West Bank incidents.
An Israeli air strike killed three others in Gaza. An Israel soldier murdered a Palestinian judge at Allenby crossing.
Raed Zeitar lived in Jordan. He was en route home by bus to visit his daughter. She's aged six. She's hospitalized in a coma.
An IDF spokesman lied, saying:
"A short while ago a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan."
"In response, the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect. A hit was identified."
Eyewitness Mohammed Zaid said:
"(A)n Israeli soldier pushed Zeiter. They started scuffling and (he) was brought to the floor."
He "then stood up and shoved the soldier, who in turn fired a shot that barely missed" him.
"The soldier then proceeded to fire three shots that hit Zeiter in the chest, leaving him dead on the floor."
Efforts to resuscitate him failed. Medics arrived too late. "Israeli police closed the scene and unloaded passengers off the bus and ordered them to the ground in order to search them," said Zaid.
The Jordan Times disputed Israel's explanation. It headlined "Eyewitness says Israeli army lying, judge did not try to seize soldier's gun."
Zaid said he was meters away from what happened. "It is not true that (Zeiter) tried to take the soldier's gun," he said.
"Passengers were shocked and started crying and screaming." Other Israeli forces arrived. They detained bus passengers for six hours.
On March 11, Zeiter was laid to rest. He was wrapped in Palestinian and Jordanian flags.
The same day, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined "Israeli Forces Kill a Judge in Cold Blood at al-Karamah Border Crossing with Jordan."
He served in Jordan's Magistrate Court. Israel lied claiming he tried seizing a soldier's weapon, said PCHR.
"Investigations (it) conducted refuted the Israeli claims and emphasized that the judge did not constitute any threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers," it said.
Eyewitness testimony confirmed it. Zeiter was maliciously mistreated. He was pushed to the ground.
He was shot at point blank range. He was murdered in cold blood. "He bled to death." No one came to his aid in time to save him.
"PCHR strongly condemns the cold-blooded murder of Zeiter and stresses that this Israeli crime proves again (its) disregard for civilian lives."
PCHR wants international community action. It wants repeated Israeli crimes stopped. It wants guilty parties held responsible. Fourth Geneva High Contracting Parties are legally obligated to act.
Article 146 calls for "effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention (as) defined" under Article 147.
They include "willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
Jordanian anger is palpable. Its parliament held two emergency sessions. Discussion included recalling its ambassador.
Hundreds of lawyers protested. So did students on university campuses. Lawyers want a stiff government response. They want more than verbal condemnation.
Some want Amman's peace treaty with Israel ended. They want Israel's ambassador expelled. Some parliamentarians threatened a no confidence vote if their demands aren't met.
They want an independent transparent investigation. Others want King Abdullah to intervene directly.
Overnight Wednesday, Israel launched multiple air strikes. No reports of casualties so far. Civilians are always harmed most.
Israel treats them like combatants. Doing so violates international law. Israel spurns it repeatedly. It does what it wants with impunity.
World leaders able to make a difference turn a blind eye. They do nothing to confront wanton Israeli lawlessness. Inaction lets Tel Aviv get away with crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.
Netanyahu is Israel's worst ever leader. He's a world class thug. He pledged to act "with great force" against anyone seeking to harm Israel, he said.
"If there won't be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza - a lot of noise, and this is an understatement."
Through his spokesman Ofir Gendelman, he added a statement saying:
"We will continue to strike those who want to harm us. We'll act against them very forcefully."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered closure of Gazan border crossings with Israel. He suspended rare visitation rights for Gazans incarcerated in Israel.
"Israel will not stand idly by," he said. "We will not allow Islamic Jihad or any other player in (Gaza) to disrupt the lives of the citizens of Israel."
"When there is no quiet in the south, there will be no quiet in the Gaza Strip - in such a way that will make the Islamic Jihad terrorists regret the volley."
Israel systematically blames victims for crimes it commits. It calls aggression self-defense. It calls legitimate self-defense "terrorism."
Ultranationalist/serial felon/latter day Kahanist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman represents Israel's far right lunatic fringe.
On Israel's Channel 2, he said:
"Following an attack like this - a barrage of more than 50 rockets - there is no alternative to a full reoccupation of the entire Gaza Strip."
He outrageously called Gaza a weapons arsenal. It's "hostage in the hands of a group of terrorists," he added."
"No sovereign country can accept a situation whereby dozens of rockets land on peaceful cities, villages and kibbutzim."
"There is no price we cannot pay for the security of the citizens of Israel."
Washington ignored Israeli cold-blooded murder. It issued one-sided statement saying it "condemns in the strongest terms today's rocket attacks into Israel by terrorists from the Gaza Strip."
"It is reprehensible that dozens of rockets have been fired today alone. There is no justification for such attacks."
"We call for these terrorist attacks to cease immediately. Israel, like any nation, has a right to defend itself."
On Thursday, Israel ignored Egypt's brokered truce. It launched more airstrikes. Southern Gazan targets were attacked. No deaths were reported. At least three Palestinians were injured.
Israel confirmed the attacks saying:
"Since yesterday there has seen a substantial deterioration in the safety of the residents in southern Israel."
"We have responded and will continue to do so in order to eliminate threats as they develop. This is our obligation and responsibility to those exposed to Gaza terrorism."
What Israel intends going forward remains to be seen. Rogue states make their own rules. Israel and America are by far the world's worst.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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