by Stephen Lendman
It wasn't the first time. It won't be the last. It's done it numerous times before. It strikes aggressively. It does it lawlessly. It's longstanding Israeli policy.
Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud attacks were major acts of aggression. Many other strikes were modest by comparison.
Israel lies claiming only militants are targeted in response to attacks on its territory.
Non-combatants, residential communities, hospitals, mosques, schools, fishing vessels, refugee camps, other civilian targets, and vital infrastructure unrelated to military necessity are systematically attacked. They're considered prime targets.
For days, Israeli soldiers fired on Gazan farmers. Children were targeted. So were other civilians. One non-combatant was murdered in cold blood. Others were earlier.
In response, gunfire from Gaza killed an IDF contract worker. Israeli warplanes attacked Gaza. According to an army spokesperson, tanks and ground forces did so from its side of the border.
Whether true or not isn't clear. Militarized Israeli forces enter Gaza often. They strike civilian areas. They destroy crops. They lay waste to agricultural land.
They attack government, commercial, academic, medical and residential buildings. They strike refugee camps. They consider non-combatant targets fair game.
Al-Maghazi refugee camp was struck. A Palestinian woman and son were wounded. Her three-year old daughter was killed. At least 10 others were injured.
A home near a chicken farm was bombarded. These and similar attacks are crimes of war and against humanity. Israel commits them with impunity.
An IDF spokesman lied claiming terrorists and "terror infrastructure" sites were targeted. Israel considers noncombatant men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm terrorists.
A senior IDF officer said:
Israeli forces launched "a wave of attacks and are currently considering our next steps."
While army forces want no further escalation, he added, its Gaza division remains on high alert. It's ready to act "in case the situation deteriorates."
In other words, it can easily invent pretexts to attack Palestinian civilians whenever it wishes.
IDF forces do so with disturbing regularity. They do it throughout occupied Palestine. Gazan are prime targets. They suffer most.
The Palestinian Resistance Committees (PRC) took responsibility for killing IDF contractor Salah Abu Latif.
"One of our snipers hit an Israeli officer, who is in the Engineering Forces of the Israeli army, and seriously wounded him, near the border between eastern Gaza and Israel," it said.
A single shot was fired. No exchange of gunfire followed. Latif was involved in repairing Israel's damaged security fence.
He was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center for treatment. It was too late. He succumbed to severe wounds sustained.
He's the second Israeli killed this month. He's the sixth since September. Since September 2000, Israel murdered nearly 7,000 Palestinians.
Tens of thousands more were injured, arrested, imprisoned, tortured and otherwise brutalized. Israel calls premeditated aggression self-defense.
It calls justifiable Palestinian responses terrorism. It holds Hamas responsible for Gaza launched attacks. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said:
"We will not let life in the south be disrupted, and we will respond aggressively and painfully to any attack on our authority and against our civilians and soldiers."
"I suggest Hamas not test our patience and use its authority in the territory. If there is no quiet in Israel, there will be no quiet in Gaza."
Netanyahu called Latif's shooting "an extremely grave incident." Israel won't "ignore it," he said.
It's "policy" is shoot first and ask questions later. "(T)his is how we will act in this case as well," he stressed.
He was visiting Sderot near Gaza's border when Latif was shot. His employer said:
"We worked for there for a long time and nothing happened, and then suddenly everything started."
"We got used to wandering around the area freely, but after what happened I don't think we'll go back there. It's scary."
He stopped of placing blame where it belongs. Palestinians don't act aggressively. Hamas goes way out of its way to avoid confrontations. So do other Palestinian resistance groups.
They respond solely to repeated Israeli provocations. They have every right to do so in self-defense.
They resent being used for Israeli target practice. One incident too many draws responses. Several occurred in recent days. Expect more if Israeli viciousness continues.
On December 20, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) blamed Israel for "excessive force."
IDF soldiers attacked two civilians. They were collecting scrap metal and plastics near Israel's border fence. They threatened no one. PCHR described what happened as follows:
"Israeli forces killed 'Odah Jihad Hamad (27) and wounded his Brother, Raddad (22), while being near the border fence."
"(A)t approximately (noon) on Friday, 20 December 2013, Raddad went with his brother 'Odah to the landfill near the border area, east of Beit Hanoun, in order to collect plastics and steels for livelihood."
"At approximately (5:30PM), when the area was very calm, Israeli forces stationed at the borderline opened fire at them without any prior warning."
"As a result, 'Odah was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell onto the ground while Raddad was hiding in a low area."
He "tried to reach his brother to rescue him, but Israeli forces opened fire at him (and) wound(ed) him by a bullet to the right hand."
"He immediately fled and managed to call the Palestine Red Crescent Society to send him an ambulance."
It "was delayed by Israeli forces till at approximately (6:15PM) when it obtained coordination through the International Committee of the Red Cross."
Its "staff searched for 'Odah...(They found) him wounded and then transferred him to the Beit Hanoun Governmental Hospital."
"He was entered into the Intensive Care Unit, but a few minutes later, he was pronounced dead."
Separately on the same day, IDF troops wounded three other civilians, including a child. They fired "at civilians who threw stones at the military site on the borderline, east of Jabalia," said PCHR.
On December 24, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Israel holds back on punishment for Palestinian murder to save Mid East talks."
Peace talks? What peace talks? None exist. Legitimate ones were never held. Sham ones substitute every time.
Israel wants violence and instability. It deplores calm and peace. It wants brutalizing occupation continued. It wants Palestinians denied all rights.
It wants them treated like non-persons. It wants them ruthlessly exploited. It wants racist persecution continued. It lies claiming otherwise.
"…Israeli government and military chiefs (agonized) over how to fight back against surging Palestinian terrorism attacks without derailing ongoing US-sponsored Middle East peace talks," said DF.
It bears repeating. Palestinians show remarkable restraint. They respond only after repeated Israeli provocations. They have every right to do so in self-defense.
Israel is a longstanding rogue aggressor. Don't expect DF to explain. It called air and ground attacks on multiple sites "a relatively mild response."
It lied claiming Palestinians established a new Gaza and Istanbul "terrorist command."
Next week, more Palestinian political prisoners are scheduled to be released. Their crime is wanting to live free on their own land. They want it in peace and security.
DF calls them "terrorists." It ignores repeated acts of Israeli aggression. They include air and ground assaults, daily community incursions, mass arrests, imprisonments and overall police state thuggishness.
Palestinian suffering continues. Gaza's attack is the latest incident. Expect more to follow. Expect Palestinians to be blamed for Israeli crimes.
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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