Israel Attacks Gaza
Thursday, 15 November 2012
Israel has launched an attack on Gaza. The attacks followed years of blockading of Gaze, and sustained ineffective rocket attacks on civilian targets in Israel by militants based in Gaza. The escalation of hostilities commenced yesterday with the assassination by Israel of Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the military head of Hamas.
Israel have carried out a barrage of air strikes targeted on arms dumps and rocket launch sites, many of which are in civilian areas. Fifteen people, including four children have been killed in Gaza since this latest offensive was begun. Gaza militants have stepped up their attacks in retaliation, firing at least 274 rockets, killing three Isreali civilians. The rockets from Gaza largely land in uninhabited areas or the sea, and many more are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system.
The violence is at a lower level so far, than the last incursion by Israel, four years ago, when hundreds of civilians were killed by Israel on the first day of their air strikes, but Israel has called up 30,000 reservists and there are reports of troops massing at the border.
Mr Netanyahu said, "We've sent a clear message to Hamas and to other terrorist organisations, and if there is a need, the Israeli Defence Forces are prepared to widen the operation. We will continue to do everything to defend our citizens."
He went on to say, "There is no moral symmetry between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza. Hamas deliberately targets our children and they deliberately place their rockets next to their children. Now despite this reality - and it's a difficult reality - Israel will continue to do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties."
Israeli Defence Minister and former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak added, "This escalation will exact a price that the other side will have to pay."
Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, has condemned Israel's attack, describing it as a "ferocious assault" and further stating, "We here in Gaza will remain steadfast and unshaken, We will fend off the aggression."
Hamas now has the capacity to target Tel Aviv, further raising the stakes this time around.
Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas said, "Israel will regret the moment they even thought of doing this."
There has been a closed session of the UN Security Council, and the US, UK, and Egypt have all made calls for Israel to minimise civilian casualties, and for both sides to avoid further escalation. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has spoken Mr Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, expressing concern at the "deteriorating situation".
In addition the US has condemned the attacks on civilians by militants in Gaza, which has a detrimental effect on the security of Gaza, whilst at the same time, making it clear that Israel has an obligation to avoid civilian casualties.
Partition of Muslim Palestine into a Jewish state and a residual Palestinian state, was proposed at the end of the British mandate in 1947 following the Second World War. However, when the state of Israel declared itself it seized the majority of Palestine in 1949 forcing most of the population into refugee camps, and then established control over most of the remaining Palestinian lands in 1967, enjoying recognition and support from the United State of America. Since then through settlement and military land grabs such as building a wall denying Palestinians access to much of their territory, it has further reduced the area of Palestine leaving a small strip in Gaza, and a patchwork of isolated communities in the West Bank. Following the breakdown of peace talks Hamas, which has the abolishment of Israel as part of it's constitution won elections in Gaza in 2006 and formed it's administration, which Israel has refused to negotiate with.
Hostilities are on-going...