Truths and lies behind Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its whining about rockets

Relatives of Hamas fighter Ismail al-Tili mourns during his funeral in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on October 24, 2012.

Majdi Fathi APA images

Israel’s hasbara – propaganda – organs are cranked up to the maximum right now complaining that Israel is once again the innocent victim of barrages of rockets from Gaza, and justifiying Israel’s latest killings of Palestinians in Gaza as a necessary and legitimate response.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed today, “We neither chose nor initiated this escalation but if it continues we are prepared for much more extensive and deeper action” in Gaza.

Don’t believe the lies. Israel has been conducting a systematic campaign of “preemptive” extrajudicial executions in Gaza, knowing full well that this would bring on rocket fire. But Israel thinks the price is worth it.

On 14 October, Ynet published an interview with a senior military officer, under the headline, “Surgical strikes are worth risk of rocket fire”:

Israel’s southern communities are bracing for what may prove further escalation in rocket fire, following Saturday and Sunday’s surgical IAF strikes, which left three terrorists dead; but Colonel Tal Hermoni, the IDF’s outgoing Gaza Division commander, is convinced that the benefits of the IDF’s operations outweigh the danger.

“If we wouldn’t be taking them out, the same terrorists would have infiltrated the border and killed 20 kids at a holiday party,” he said Sunday.

Isn’t this is the sort of “preemptive” logic that led so many to accept the US invasion of Iraq? 

Israel’s version of “calm,” it would seem, is that it should be allowed to kill whoever it pleases, but Palestinians can never respond.

During the week of 11-17 October, Israeli occupation forces killed five Palestinians in Gaza, two of them extrajudicial executions, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Five others, including two children were wounded. PCHR described the extrajudicial killings that Hermoni had overseen:

In the Gaza Strip, IOF extra-judicially executed 2 Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. On 13 October 2012, Israeli warplanes launched a missile on a motorcycle ridden by 2 Palestinians on Mas’oud Street in Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, one of them was killed immediately, while the other died 3 hours later. A child who was in the vicinity of the attack was wounded and the windows of 2 houses in the area were broken. The glass door of a nearby pharmacy was also smashed.

Praising Hamas

In the same Ynet interview, Hermoni praised Hamas, which rules the interior of Israeli-occupied Gaza, for doing its best to keep things calm despite the execution campaign he was promoting:

“Hamas is taking action to prevent an escalation and is turning from a terror group to a sovereign movement that is assuming governmental responsibility. They have to worry about feeding and educating people, and every act of terror costs them dearly.

“But they day the decision is made, we’ll know how to bring it to its knees. There will be a (ground) operation in Gaza. The only question is when,” he said.

Israel, it seems, cannot be satisfied unless there is war and violence along its frontiers.

Half the story

Israel’s full-volume hasbara about how it is the passive victim of rocket attacks is, as Yousef Munayyer pointed out in February, only half (in fact much less than half) the story:

If a rocket from Gaza falls in the middle of the desert, does it make a sound?

It does if you are on Twitter. Regular updates on just about every projectile fired from Gaza is reported by the Israeli military’s official twitter account @IDFSpokesperson as well as from the accounts of other Israeli military figures like that of spokesperson @AvitalLeibovich.

But what about projectiles fired by Israel into Gaza? You’d think that since this is actual Israeli military activity the spokespeople from the Israeli military would provide this information.

Munayyer provided the answer, based on UN data:

In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 where from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.

In 2012, the story is no different. Beware of Israel manufacturing a “rocket crisis” as it did in the weeks before its 2008-2009 “Operation Cast Lead” massacre in Gaza.

Update: 25 October

Also see Munayyer’s latest post: “#Israel and #Gaza: Context Behind Projectile Fire




Two were extrajudicial executions ('targeted killings'), three were plain murder I guess.


Perhaps it gets more complex than this. The recent bombing of a munitions factory in Sudan is widely attributed to Israel (which doesn't confirm or deny it). The supposed logic is that it was an Iran-sponsored factory supplying arms to Hamas that were used against Israel.
But this act of aggression may have further consequences for Israel and the region.