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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Israelis demand blood after youths’ bodies found

Israel launched air strikes against the occupied Gaza Strip in the early hours of Tuesday morning and reports from Hebron in the West Bank say that occupation forces damaged or destroyed the homes of the families of two men Israel claims were behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths.

Israel says its bombing of Gaza is in “retaliation” for rocket fire from the territory, but Israel has escalated the situation in recent days with an upsurge of extrajudicial executions. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Israeli politicians have called for blood, one demanding that Ramadan be turned into a “month of darkness.” Meanwhile the United States has called for “restraint.”

Bodies found

The latest Israeli violence followed the discovery of the bodies of the three youths near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Monday.

They went missing on 12 June while hitchhiking between Israeli settlements.

Israel has claimed that Hamas was responsible for the killings, an accusation the group has denied.

Twitter user @Pal_1948 in Hebron posted this image of an area resident attempting to put out fires in one of the houses that Israeli forces blew up:

on Twitter

This video shows the home of the Abu Eishe family after it had been ransacked, but not demolished:

Israel recently announced that it planned to resume punitive home demolitions after suspending the practice a decade ago.

Collective punishment is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that no one living under occupation “may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.”

Palestinians braced for worse to come as Israeli leaders began to call for blood in response to the teenagers’ deaths.

Calls for revenge

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the pack, calling the killers of the youths “human animals” and stating “Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay.” Netanyahu specifically used the word “revenge” hinting at what he may have in store. But many went even further.

Former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari posted a video and a statement demanding “to transfer the pain to the cruel enemy. Make Ramadan into a month of darkness for them!”

We are living in a “jungle,” Ben-Ari said, calling Palestinian children “little terrorists.”

He called for a rally in Jerusalem on Tuesday demanding: “Death to the enemy, evacuation, and wiping off of [their] smile. And start with Haneen Zoabi, let her go help in Syria,” he said, referring to the Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Housing minister Uri Ariel called for the extrajudicial executions of leaders of Hamas and for Israel to “start a wave of construction in the settlements in response to the murder of the abductees.”

Limor Livnat, the minister for culture and sports, wrote on Facebook, “May God avenge their blood.”

Tzachi Hanegbi, a former cabinet minister from the ruling Likud party, speculated, “I don’t know how many Hamas leaders will remain alive after tonight.”

Tzipi Hotovely, another Likud lawmaker and deputy minister, wrote that “Israel must declare a war of annihilation of Hamas, which is responsible for the murder, and return to the assassination policy.”

Economy minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-anti-Palestinian Jewish Home party, declared “Murderers of children and those who direct them cannot be forgiven. Now is a time for actions, not words.”

Agriculture minister Yair Shamir took the news as an opportunity to incite against Palestinian citizens of Israel, whom he accused of defending the kidnapping. “It will not be long before history settles the account with you,” he wrote on Facebook.

Calls for any sort of restraint were virtually absent. Alarmed by the atmosphere of incitement, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called on the government to “refrain from acts of vengeance” and warned of “revenge” attacks by settlers.

Incitement on social media

From the moment news broke that the Israeli youths’ bodies were found, Israeli social media, including Twitter and the Facebook pages of major Israeli media outlets such as Walla! News, were quickly filled with pervasive and lurid calls for bloodshed that have become all too familiar.

Some examples included Facebook users Kobi and Karen Haddad, who demanded that Israel “incinerate Gaza and Hebron.”

Lior Banay demanded that Israel “destroy Hebron.”

“These Arabs,” wrote Yuval Efrat, “We should eliminate them all, just go in and spray them. Enough!”

Calls for “Death to the Arabs” were too numerous to count, but some went further. Twitter user Daniel Ronen, for instance wrote “Death to the Arabs! We must incinerate them and hang up their bodies in front of their children.”

Facebook user Lior Aminov took part in a discussion with several other people apparently organizing to go and carry out vigilante attacks on Arabs. He posted this picture of an Israeli army uniform and weapons he intended to use against his victims.

There were reports of several instances of reprisals and protests by Israelis.

In Jerusalem, dozens of people “converged on a pizzeria in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo to protest the employment of an Arab worker,” according to Ynet.

The worker was reportedly “rescued” by police.

US urges “restraint”

US President Barack Obama issued a statement of condolences to the families of the three youths and condemned their killings as a “senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”

Obama has never expressed sympathy or condolences for any of the more than 1,400 Palestinian children murdered by Israeli occupation forces and settlers.

But with the dire situation across the region, the US appears eager to avoid further escalation and Obama urged “all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who also ignores Israel’s frequent killings of Palestinian children, also condemned the killings of the Israeli youths and hoped that the “perpetrators of this barbaric act will swiftly be brought to justice.”

Ashton also surely knows that Palestinians cannot get anything resembling “justice” in Israel’s military court system.

Following Obama, Ashton also urged “restraint of all parties concerned in order not to further aggravate the fragile situation on the ground.”

Invasion of Gaza doubtful

In Ynet, Ron Ben-Yishai, a writer close to intelligence and military sources, speculated that Israel would not carry out a large scale invasion of Gaza.

The cabinet will be required to consider a severe military blow to Gaza. This kind of operation is a necessity at the moment, not only because Hamas is responsible for the abduction, but also because it does not prevent intense rocket fire into Israel.

However, if the option of an operation in Gaza is raised, it is likely that most cabinet ministers will refuse. Why? Because Hamas in Gaza wasn’t involved in the kidnap, and an IDF invasion of the Strip would be perceived as collective punishment, which the international community would not understand and even condemn. One of the things that the State of Israel cannot lose is international legitimacy for its actions, and cannot be perceived as a country that punishes an entire population with no justifiable cause.

It remains to be seen which voices Israel’s leaders will heed: those demanding blood in Palestinian streets, or Israel’s international sponsors who don’t wish to be embarrassed and inconvenienced by another of its wild and vengeful killing sprees at a time when the rest of the region is in particularly dire shape.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for assistance with research and analysis.

Comments

The only basis on which Hamas is said to be involved in this kidnapping incident is merely claims by Netanyahu. Where is the proof, the evidence on which to come to a correct conclusion? None has been produced.
Two individuals have been named but, again, no actual proof or evidence of their involvement has been produced.
This sort of kangaroo court justice does no one any good at all.
There are some who view this sort of action as a false flag operation - maybe there are even suspicious that the Israel secret service carried out this operation - maybe on orders from Netanyahu himself - to provide a justification to attack the newly forming Palestinian Fatah-Hamas Government?
There were reports yesterday that the Israeli police had received a call from one of the abducted boys, reporting their kidnapping, and the police did nothing about the report. It was only after one of the fathers of one of the three boys reported his son being missing to the police at 3 a.m. that a search was started, by which time it was far too late to be effective.
Is this true, does anyone know? If it is, what does tell us about all the sham and fake "outrage" by lying Israeli politicians?

All I can think about is my father supervising the re-building of Italian villages that Germans had destroyed in collective punishment actions during WWII .
As tragic as the murders of these boys are, nothing can excuse the indifference to all the killings of young Palestinians and the vindictiveness of these attacks on innocent citizens of Gaza.
The Israeli government revolts me.

The Israeli government can kill will impunity and the MSM does not report it.the US advises to uses restraint .What a joke if this was not so serious .

An historian has cogently written:

"From vary ancient times self-consciously 'civilized' people have favorably
compared themselves with their neighbors. The Greeks invented the term
'barbarian' (Israelis use "beasts") to apply to outsiders...Barbarism's definition has varied from century to century stressing linguistic or cultural difference
....but always retaining meaning of inferiority in moral worth." (Francis Jennings,
THE INVASION OF AMERICA, Chapter 1)

The seeds of hate which Israel has planted bear fruit.

In my opinion, Hamas represents a response to Israeli persecution of
many decades. Besides, Palestinians cannot decide who will and who will
not be in Israel's government/cabinet as a precondition for any so-called
"negotiations".

Or, to put it another way, for every action there is an equal and corresponding reaction. Now where have we heard that before - a law of physics?
Hamas is a reaction to Zionism, though very much a mild one at present.
If Israeli Zionism continues along its racist supremacist path, the eventual reaction could well be far more punishing than anything Hamas has managed to dream up.

Dear John:

Thanks you for your support. In my heart and soul I want to support
Hamas (without the Islamic part) but it is inappropriate for me to
urge others to risk their lives and the lives of their families. Joining
an armed resistance (as in World War Two ) must be a personal decision.

In reading of the diplomatic and policy history in Naseer H. Aruri's
book, DISHONEST BROKER:THE U.S. ROLE IN ISRAEL AND
PALESTINE (South End Press,Cambridge MA, 2003) one reads again
and again how intimately complicit is the US . This powerful little book covers many US administrations of both US parties during recent years but due to its year of writing fails to document the Obama administration which merely continues previous US-Israeli actions and policies.

I remember my horror at Obama's referring to Israel as "our allies". No,no!
They are my enemies.

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA

Peter: many people believe Hamas was supported, if not created, by the Israeli secret services in order to divide the Palestinians.
In the case of Gaza, the alleged Israeli policy has been spectacularly successful as it has aided Israel in avoiding realistic peace negotiations as a result.
Right now, the Israel state is provoking Hamas in Gaza in order to alter the balance of global media coverage.
The one thing the Zionists do not want to see is a united Hamas-Fatah Palestinian government in the making, which is why the 3 deaths of young Israelis were immediately denounced as being linked to Hamas, thus providing the Zionists with the excuse they needed to launch fresh attacks on Hamas.
Regrettably, the Fatah leadership may well be complicit in Israel's attacks against Hamas as Fatah would probably support any weakening of Hamas.
While it should not be forgotten that Hamas won convincingly the last election held for a Palestinain government, it is also the case that many young Gazans I have met now oppose the religious ideology of Hamas.
Most Palestinians I have met are essentially secular in nature.
Some of them are Christians too.

Very interesting comment. It is difficult to stretch one's mind into the perfidy of Israel's policies, secret services, military tactics, free-wheeling crazies, etc. but it is sure that they have always plotted to divide the Palestinians.
But what I find absolutely impossible to understand is why anyone would kidnap those three young settlers and kill them. Is the hate of an individual so great that they can ignore the inevitable wrath of Israel coming down on hundreds of thousands of already suffering Palestinians?

John I usually refrain from responding to comments. In this case, it has been
more than worth it. I too disagree with and oppose "the religious ideology of Hamas". I know only what I read in mass media reports here which I doubt
are reliable. (And of course coverage in the US is tilted far on Israel's side
when so-called "experts" expound Israel's line almost perfectly. No other
"comment" public would be "permissable" here to borrow Noam Chomsky's
phrase from MANUFACTURED CONSENT.)

I would suggest that in situations of persecution, it is the norm
for people to be frightened and have differences on where to go. Most
people do not think of ideology first! That makes for many opportunities for
those on all sides to take advantage of of the chaos. To use Hamas as
the cause is the usual Israeli tactic of "blame the victim". Israelis are expert
at using this method of managed fear and confusion as they have used it
to their advantage so many times in the past.

What frightens me is the specter of Israel and the US demolishing and
exterminating Palestinians. Palestinians like Native Americans in North
America (aka "Indians") will always live on in spirit but little more.

This is, of course, not a product of Hamas but of the actions of Israel and
the US. Nevertheless, it is a real possible outcome. The Israeli's and US
will proudly announce that they have "solved the Palestinian problem"etc.
which was created because Fatah failed to CONTROL (??) Hamas etc.

Incidentally, I wonder what "secret" deals Fatah is making today. Relax! We
all have Abbas and Netanyahu as our "saviors". Right? Perhaps we can look
forward to replicating the Egyptian (al Sisi) style of resolution!

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA

I don't know if you know Jeff Halper (ICAHD) but when I met with him in Jerusalem in 2012 we had a discussion about the situation in Palestine.
He holds to what he calls a warehousing theory - meaning that the eventual creation of warehouse-bantustans in the West Bank are designed to break up the unity of the West Bank Palestinians so that they can be completely dominated by Israel.
He used the example of a jail in which the inmates control the internal environment but the guards control all access and supplies into and out of the jail.
I argued with him that the apartheid South Africa analogy was - up to a point - appropriate but that as someone who had lived and worked in apartheid South Africa in the mid-1970s, I agreed with Desmond Tutu that the situation in Palestine-Israel was far far worse than it had ever been in South Africa for the Palestinians.
It is intriguing that the jail system in the USA is increasingly resembling a warehousing system for society's misfits and mentally ill people.
The inmates have become both the raw material and product of the system.
As work opportunities are diminished, the warehousing-jail system is becoming an ever more integral part of the US economic system.
The same appears to be happening in Gaza and West Bank, which provides Israel with an opportunity to export their know-how on human warehousing systems at a profit to countries like the USA.
I too mentioned the tribal reservation sytem to Jeff Halper, arguing that it was a far more approparie model to understand what the Zionists are doing to the Palestinians. The Palestinian "reservations" allow the Israelis to ignore and forget about the problems of the Palestinians just like the reservations in the USA have allowed American citizens to forget about the aboriginals and their descendants.
"Out of sight is out of mind", after all.

It is early July ,2014.

Those of us who have been following the directions of Israeli feelings of hatred on the one hand and US complicity for many decades on the other (See Naseer H. Aruri, DISHONEST BROKER: THE U.S. ROLE IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE (2003)) can only conclude that the Israeli destruction and completed extermination of the Palestinian people is at hand. (The U.S. will join Israel due to its commitment to Israle's "defense".

Near to tears I am trying to adjust to the inevitable. Specific details (dates,
massacres, murders etc.) are not yet available and will be a part
of "history". The complicity of the U.S. has been documented over
many Administrations over many decades (Aruri). Like the invasion of
America, the weaknesses and disagreements of Palestine's own representatives
has made Israel's extermination and persecution that much easier for the Israelis.

But no matter, the U.S. made Israel a mighty force. The various resistances
against Hitler were also defeated in World War Two. Western powers
then replaced those who had so courageously opposed Hitler with their bodies
with bureaucrats who had worked diligently in support of Hitler. (See the late
Gabriel Kolko, several landmark works).

To those in Palestine who survive, the rest of us must understand their
predicament and the demands for their very existence in some form. If
there are any left to them at all.

We outside of Palestine shall never forget the courage of resisting brothers
and sisters. Many of you will give your lives in murders to come. My love and
honor for you will always abide. Yet, we must not succumb to our collective
myths and wishes.

Yes, the truth often hurts.

The al-Nakba has never stopped. It goes on today. Israel with its patron
the U.S. pay no attention. Israel never has cared. (In the Ukraine perhaps, never in Palestine.)

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA

A friend was surprised when I told him the US had restored the mafia back in control of southern Italy after it came under Allied control, appointing known mafia figures to positions such as town mayors in many localities. In a perverse way, the logic is perhaps understandable as the existing appointees were all members of the Fascist Party and the only logical replacements were members of the Communist Party and/or socialist parties, in the main.
Having wrecked Italy to the present day, it comes as no surprise that the US achieved a similar result in Iraq, which has led to the emergence of an Islamic State in the area.
As far as mass genocide of Palestinians is concerned, I do not believe that is the immeditae goal of the Zionists. They realise they could not get away with it.
During WW2 it was impossible for Allied countries to intervene in any meaningful way until D Day in the continent of Europe.
The Middle East today is a very different matter.
The Zionists are in the position of having to rely on other power elites to stay in control of that part of the world. They cannot afford significantly to alienate any of the other power elites, which is why they put so much time into backing AIPAC in the US and countering the global BDS campaign.
There are - for the Zionists - indications that their strategy is unravelling as they are experiencing a much less sympathetic audience world-wide right now.
They have sustained a significant defeat at the hands of the Australian courts.
There are two opposing strategies in Palestine today.
The Zionist policy is slow-motion ethnic cleansing, based on making life for Palestinians so unbearable that the Palestinians will "voluntarily" leave areas like the West Bank. They have an earlier experience to draw upon, i.e. the policy of the Nazis in de-Judaising Europe prior to the outbreak of war.
The Palestinian policy is sumud or steadfastness.
They will wait out the Zionists just like all the previous occupiers.