Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel's Security Agency) have long, odious histories of committing them. More on that below.
At issue now is whether the August 18 bus and other attacks inside Israel were committed by external elements or Israel, and if so, why?
Also at issue always is cui bono? In fact, Hamas and various Palestinian resistance groups have nothing to gain. Clearly Israel benefits greatly at least two ways:
(1) The upcoming September UN General Assembly vote on Palestinian self-determination Israel very much wants to derail.
(2) Weeks of nationwide internal social justice protests Netanyahu also wants to diffuse and end.
Both are compelling reasons for employing tried and true tactics - change the subject by diverting public attention.
In this case, scaring people enough to put safety above pocket book issues, as well as getting UN member states perhaps to rethink the wisdom of supporting Palestinian sovereignty at this time, with Israel allegedly under attack.
Whether it works will be known when the UN General Assembly meets in September. What's clear is that last March, Israel informed all Security Council members and prominent EU countries that if Palestinian self-determination efforts within 1967 borders persisted, unilateral Israeli steps would follow, implying harsh ones.
In addition, diffusing social justice protests temporarily worked based on an August 18 Reuters report, saying:
Campaigners "called off planned weekend demonstrations against the high cost of living after a series of terror attacks in the south left seven people dead."
Of concern is how to reignite protest energy after it wanes, even for a short time. Resumption often lacks initial levels of passion, mass support, and commitment to stay the course, especially when people have other daily priorities, besides worrying whether their country is under attack.
Add it up and it suggests classic false flag reasons, perhaps with planned follow-up attacks for reinforcement. They're likely if Israel also has another objective in mind - using the attacks as pretext for Cast Lead II.
Israel blamed the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC - a coalition of resistance factions) for launching internal attacks.
PRC spokesman Abu Mujahid told AFP:
"We salute (the operation) and we are proud of it, but we do not claim it. The occupation wants to pin (it) on us in order to escape its own internal problems."
Hamas also denied responsibility, spokesman Taher al-Nunu telling AFP:
"These (unfounded) accusations are an attempt to distract from the Israeli domestic crisis."
As expected, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak pointed fingers, despite no corroborating evidence, saying:
"The source of the terror incidents is Gaza and we will act against them with all our strength and determination."
Also as expected, New York Times coverage was pro-Israeli. On August 19, Heba Afify and Isabel Kershner headlined, "A Long Peace Is Threatened in Israel Attack," saying:
"A cross-border terrorist attack and an Israeli retaliation (threatened) to undermine" peace with Egypt, with no evidence, except rhetoric, to suggest either.
Afify and Kershner implied Israel was right, saying "attackers were Palestinians from Gaza who had crossed into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai, an assertion Egypt rejected."
Based on no evidence whatever, Israel's scripted story is that Gaza-based "terror" operations "began weeks" earlier, likely "involv(ing) 10 to 15 terrorists," entering Israel "with rifles, explosive belts, grenades, (and) heavier weapons."
Yet Times writers didn't question how they managed unspotted, given tight Israeli security and high-tech surveillance, assassinating children and farmers on the slightest pretext.
As for a "long peace," there's been none for decades. Daily, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and other human rights organizations document regular Israeli bombings, shellings, Cast Lead, Mavi Marmara and other massacres, shootings, targeted assassinations, other attacks, casualties, incursions, Gaza under siege, mass arrests, illegal settlement expansions, bulldozed homes, theft of Palestinian land, dispossessions, and overall Israeli lawlessness - enforcing militarized hell on Palestinians, not peace.
On August 19, PCHR discussed Israel's response to internal August 18 attacks, saying:
Israeli forces "launched a series of air attacks against civilian-populated areas in the Gaza Strip," including "extra-judicially executing Kamal al-Nairab, Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), 4 PRC leaders and a two-year old child...."
Other strikes injured 23 Palestinians, including seven children, six women and three police officers.
On August 20, various news agencies said Israeli air attacks and shelling raised the death toll to 16 and counting. In response, Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades armed wing suspended its unilateral ceasefire, a spokesman saying:
"There can be no truce with the Israeli occupation while it commits massacres against the Palestinian people without justification."
In fact, blaming victims, lawlessness, violence, crimes of war and against humanity, collective punishment, intimidation, attacking unarmed civilians, and overall brutality are Israeli specialties. Combined, they define a rogue state, defiant of international law principles, pursuing its own interests extrajudicially, and getting away with it.
Gazans now worry about a possible Cast Lead II, Israel using perhaps false flag attacks as pretext to launch it. Again, it's the oldest trick in the book, Israel expert at it like America.
Previous Israeli Targeted Assassinations and False Flags
An Israeli specialty, they began well before 1948 during the Mandatory Palestine period when Jewish terrorist groups targeted Jews, Brits and Arabs. Involved were paramilitary Hagana members, Irgun headed by future prime minister Menachem Begin, and Lehi (also called the Stern Gang) led by another future prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir. They were rogue killers before entering politics.
In November 1944, Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, Britain's Middle East minister of state, near his home in Cairo.
In September 1948, it also killed UN mediator Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem, five months after Israel was established. Yitzhak Shamir personally approved the assassination.
In July 1946, Irgun bombed the King David Hotel, massacring 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews, wounding 58 others, an operation future prime minister David Ben-Gurion approved as head of the Jewish Agency at the time.
Before and after May 1948, many thousands of targeted killings occurred or were attempted, most little remembered today except among relatives and their descendants.
Little wonder Israel's history is so bloodstained, involving individual and mass killings, including on April 9, 1948 (during Israel's "war of independence") when Irgun, Lehi and complicit terrorists slaughtered well over 120 Palestinian men, women and children in the bloody Deir Yassin village massacre. On April 14, The New York Times reported 254 killed.
Post-1948, Palestinian supporters were targeted regionally and in Europe. Waves of successful and attempted assassinations occurred, notably against high-profile figures.
In 1954, Israeli agents in Egypt planted bombs in various buildings, including US and UK facilities, using evidence to implicate Arabs. The so-called Lavon Affair failed when a device prematurely detonated, letting Egyptians capture and identify one of the bombers. In turn, it led to rounding up an Israeli spy ring.
More recently, Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in Dubai after two earlier failed attempts. Abu-Dhabi's the National reported he was poisoned, drugged, and suffocated after previously surviving a failed shooting. Found dead in a Dubai hotel on January 20, 2010, police accused Mossad of murder.
Earlier incidents included Palestinians Abdel Wael Zwaiter, shot 11 times by Israeli agents in Rome after returning home from dinner. It was the first of dozens of retaliatory assassinations against persons suspected of involvement in the 1972 Munich summer Olympic killings of Israeli athletes, coaches and officials, allegedly by Black September members, a resistance, not a terrorist organization.
On June 14, 1980, Yahia El Meshad, then head of Iraq's nuclear program, was found bludgeoned to death in his Paris hotel room. No one was arrested, but French authorities named Israeli intelligence.
On August 20, 1983, Mamoun Meraish was shot and killed while driving in Athens. Israeli agents were blamed.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Mossad was implicated in numerous Beirut and other car bombings, one of its specialities.
On January 6, 2007, Haaretz reported that newly released British documents claim Shin Bet collaborated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the hijacking of Air France 139 from Israel, diverted to Entebbe, Uganda.
Arab terrorists were falsely blamed. Elite Israeli commandos led by Yonatan Netanyahu, Bibi's older brother, became instant heros for their "miraculous" rescue. An unnamed UK diplomat blamed Israel, saying:
"The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO's standing in France and to prevent what (was seen as) growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans."
British diplomat DH Colvin included information in the document that Israel and the PFLP collaborated. Haaretz said it "was written on June 30, 1976, three days after the hijacking and prior to the rescue operation."
On September 25, 1997, two Mossad agents with forged Canadian passports attacked Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Jordan, spraying him with an unknown poison. He survived and recovered to explain.
In January 2002, a car bomb killed former Lebanese cabinet minister Elie Hobeika and three bodyguards. In 1982, he was involved in the infamous Sabra and Shatilla camp massacres. Days before his assassination, he expressed willingness to implicate then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon's direct role. Clearly, Mossad killed him to prevent it.
In May 2002, Mossad murdered Mohammed Jihad Jibril, son of Ahmed Jibril, founder and head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
In August 2003, Mossad assassinated Ali Hassan Saheh, Hezbollah's top security officer. Prime Minister Sharon ordered Meir Dagan, its head until January 1, 2011, to conduct assassinations abroad.
No explanation is needed for why Mossad exists. It functions as a de facto Murder, Inc. within or outside Israel, making Mafia families seem benign by comparison.
From 2002 - 2006, it was responsible for numerous car bombings, killing Hezbollah, Hamas, and other officials regionally.
On February 12, 2008, a car bomb killed Hezbollah member Imad Hugniyeh in Damascus. Mossad again was responsible.
On August 1, 2008, it killed Muhammad Suleiman, a Syrian army officer close to President Bashar al-Assad, shot by snipers offshore near his vacation villa.
Rafik Hariri's Assassination
On February 14, 2005, compelling visual and audio evidence revealed real time intercepted Israel aerial surveillance footage of routes former Prime Minister Hariri used on the day his motorcade was attacked. Clearly, Israel was involved.
Washington blamed Syria. Assad denied responsibility. Hezbollah was later falsely named. It was a typical Mossad assassination though no one at the time knew for sure. The blast ripped a 30 foot crater in the street, injuring over 100 besides those killed.
An International Court of Justice (ICC) Special Tribunal (STL) investigated Hariri's killing. On January 17, its sealed indictment was released, Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare saying the next day that the confidential document was important for the people of Lebanon, the international community, and "for those who believe in international justice."
On June 30, arrest warrants for four Hezbollah members were issued. None were detained. At the time, Hezbollah said no arrests would be made, calling the tribunal a Washington/Israeli manipulated sham, covering up a classic Mossad operation.
On August 17, the 47-page indictment was released, holding Hezbollah members responsible based on falsified evidence. Those named include Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra. Badreddine was called the mission head.
No evidence proves it or that others named were involved. Clearly, Hezbollah had nothing to gain from the assassination but plenty to lose if, in fact, responsible.
A Final Comment
Later evidence may prove one way or the other whether Israel staged the multiple August 18 attacks. It has much to gain by doing so. Hamas, PFLP, and other Palestinians, however, have everything to lose, so why risk involvement? No advantage comes to mind.
In contrast, Israel has compelling reasons as explained above and may succeed precisely as planned. In fact, if Cast Lead II is intended, a trifecta of successes may follow. Palestinians and working Israelis, however, will suffer enormous defeats.
As a result, public awareness of what's at stake is essential to derail Israel's latest scheme. Failure to do so is an unacceptable option.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.