Assassinated Hamas leader Jabari was about to broker a permanent peace deal when an Israeli air-strike killed him and everyone around him. With an almost unanimous call from the world community for calm, to exercise restraint and not to escalate the already volatile situation in the region and between the two parties, the current Israeli – Gaza conflict continues to escalate, with Israel preparing for a full blown invasion of Gaza.
The exchange of bombings and rocket fire continues unabated between Israel and Gaza with Israel claiming that at least 245 rockets have been launched in Israel from Gaza since the hostilities began.
Israel claims to have hit more than 200 targets in Gaza and according to statements by officials their targets include missile locations and Hamas infrastructure.
Hamas claims to be targeting military bases and military locations using mortar fire and rockets to attack Israel, Hamas has even released videos showing Fajir F missiles be launch against Israel.
Meanwhile Israel has launched an all out propaganda war as well, with their main onslaught being through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The Western press, always sympathetic to Israel is assisting greatly with news sources repeating words and terms such as "terror sites", “Palestinian terrorist organizations”, “terrorists”, “Islamists” and the like.
Israel is attempting to gain support and saying what they are doing is in self-defense, using catchy American style code names for their military operations against the enclave such as "Operation Pillar of Defense".
The military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, of which Khalil al-Jabari was the head, also launched an operation with an American style name, announcing the commencement of “Operation Shale Stones” a short time ago.
Osama Hamdan a spokesman for Hamas also claims that Gaza is defending itself and repeated what many believe, namely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to increase his election chances in January. Unfortunately bombing and killing seems to be something people look for in a leader, equating it with strength and security.
The support is there from Israel’s staunchest and eternal allies, the US and the UK but the support is not as broad as Israel would like.
Israel’s refusal to stop settlement building on occupied territories, it refusal to enter into any sort of real productive dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, it superior firepower and military force and the fact that once again most of the victims of Israel’s “precision” missiles are killing innocent civilians, makes it hard for many to accept Israel’s stance. Israel’s threats of a full scale ground war and invasion of Gaza also ring hollow when claiming to act in self-defense.
Then there are all of the political machinations, for example the upcoming elections, and in my opinion the support of the US and the UK for Israel may actually be hurting Israel in the eyes of the world who are beginning to see the US and the UK’s imperial ambitions globally for what they are and have no sympathy for Israel’s own imperial ambitions.
For those citing Netanyahu’s elections prospects as the reason for the current attacks, they are supported by very similar events during the pre-election attacks on Gaza in 2008.
There are also issues as to the illegality of Israel’s actions which are of concern to many and the West’s arbitrary use of the term terrorism and terrorist. In Syria attacks that are truly terroristic in nature are not labeled as such by the West because they support the goal of the terrorists.
For many it seems strange that Gaza would attack the superior power of Israel but few would argue if Hamas did in fact carry out the initial attacks, and some experts are not quick to rule out the possibility that they may have been carried out not by Hamas but by extremist factions, that Israel does not have the right to defend itself. The problem is that Israel has refused to make a serious effort at attaining peace with its neighbors.
To look at the numbers, Gaza has approximately 36,000 fighters with some less-than-state-of-the-art mortars and rockets, while Israel has 175,000 regular troops, 450,000 reservists, US F-16 fighter-bombers, Merkava tanks, the Iron Dome interceptor system, precision guided missiles, Apache gunships and some of the best equipped ground troops in the world.
There is also speculation that, given these figures and the fact the Hamas would have been, quite frankly out of their minds, to risk any aggression against Israel knowing Netanyahu’s position and the fact that the 2013 elections are just around the corner, something that prohibits him from showing any sign of weakness as it may hurt his chances, the event was planned to allow Israel to break all ceasefire agreements and assassinate the leader of Hamas’s military wing Khalil al-Jabari, who was killed in the first precision air strike.
The UN meanwhile was at an impasse after an emergency session, with the US supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, Egypt saying further aggression from Israel would have a negative effect on the security and stability of the region, and Palestine’s envoy characterizing Israel’s aggression as vulgarly and publicly boasting about willfully killing Palestinians.
For Israel the support of Egypt is critical, because Israel needs Egypt to maintain peace with Gaza and the Palestinians, Egypt supports Palestine but experts agree it is unlikely, although possible that Egypt, under Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, would enter into an armed conflict with Israel.
Israel has the right to defend itself, no one would argue that point I think, but Palestine also has that right. With neighbors who want to see the Jewish state wiped off the face of the earth, Israel has every right to defend itself, and every right to do whatever it takes to guarantee its existence, but this must not infringe on the rights others have to exist as well. The same can be said for any state or people.
Israel, as well as Palestine must do everything they can to not allow innocent civilians to die, on this count Israel has lost the moral high-ground with consistent high-civilian casualties and seemingly indiscriminate killing, even in “precision” assassination operations such as that carried out against Khalil al-Jabari, when everyone who happened to be around him were also taken out. Mossad and Israeli special services could have just as easily assassinated him with a 50 caliber round rather than an air-strike.
Israel has reportedly killed approximately 20 people at the time of writing, including Jabari and six Hamas fighters, a pregnant woman with twins, three infants and, according to RT, the 11-month-old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Masharawi, who also lost his sister-in-law. According to reports at least 200 have been wounded.
There are reports that Israel has lost from 3-15, although there are no accurate reports as to their identities.
Meanwhile peace activists have come out all over the world, even in Israel where about 100 people gathered near the home of the Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak’s home, there were large scale protests in Ramallah, in Cairo, Istanbul, Haifa and Jerusalem.
Anonymous hacktivists are also involved in the protests and have come out strongly in defense of the Palestinians. Anons have called for attacks against websites belonging to the Israeli government and reportedly have been successful in taking down several sites including the Israeli Defense Forces site where the message “tango down” appeared.
Anonymous has distributed a statement reading: “To the people of Gaza and the 'Occupied Territories', know that Anonymous stands with you in this fight. We will do everything in our power to hinder the evil forces of the IDF arrayed against you.” Tools for staying on-line have also appeared on Anon sites.
Israel's sworn enemy Iran, has of course also condemned the Israeli offensive as "organized terrorism" and Lebanon’s Hezbollah called the strikes on Gaza a "criminal aggression".
Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, told Israel’s Haaretz: “Hours before Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. Senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination.”
Some will do anything to keep the war machine rolling.