Palestine: Biggest Escalation of Violence in Gaza since Cast Lead

The Gaza Strip is lately experiencing the largest escalation of violence since Cast Lead operation in 2008-2009 that claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, among them over 350 children. Since the beginning of this year, several strikes by Israel have been justified by presence of military training camps or tunnels, and the lives claimed were said to be militants.

On the night of March 22, however, Israel started military operations that led to the bloodiest day in Gaza in two years. Shortly before midnight, 19 civilians – including seven children and two women – were injured by air strikes that were supposed to target tunnels and explosive manufacturing sites in retaliation to rockets sent from Gaza into open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council.

At Al Shifa hospital, one of the children injured by the shell that targeted Al Hilo house as the family was playing soccer. Screenshot of Al Aqsa TV report taken by Muhammad Qudaih in Gaza.

At Al Shifa hospital, one of the children injured by the shell that targeted Al Hilo house as the family was playing soccer. Screenshot of Al Aqsa TV report taken by Muhammad Qudaih in Gaza.

On Tuesday, March 22, during the evening, Israeli tanks shelled a house East of Gaza city belonging to Al Hilo family, killing four (among them two children, aged 11 and 16 years, and a 50-year-old man) and injuring 10, all civilians.

Later in the evening of the same day, Israel bombed Gaza for the third time, killing another four Palestinians belonging to the Al Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad military wing), bringing up the casualties to eight dead.

As Israel claims retaliation of rockets fired from the Strip to justify the air strikes, Hamas specifies that the rockets were fired in retaliation to previous strikes that killed two of its militants the week before.

On Twitter, Yousef Munayyer notes:

@YousefMunayyer: CONTEXT MATTERS: ONE #Israel artillery shell today killed at least 4 times as many people as 100s of Qassam rockets over 3 years #gaza

Drawing the parallel between the events that led to Cast Lead Operation and the current ones, he adds on his blog:

So when the war on Gaza inevitably started at the end of December in 2008, it permitted many editors to create this simple, context free story line:

Israel must defend itself. And Hamas must bear responsibility for ending a six-month cease-fire this month with a barrage of rocket attacks into Israeli territory.

[…] Another common feature of these stories is how shallow the context is. We are told Palestinians were killed by Israelis yesterday after Palestinians fired rockets over the weekend. 3 days, that's it. That's all the context we get. What happened before that? Don't we need to know? As far as editors are concerned, we don't.

On March, 23rd, a bomb attack in Jerusalem targeting a bus stop killed one woman and injured more than 30 others. The attack stirred wide condemnation:

@Huwaidaarraf: 1 bomb in #Jerusalem that wounded 25 Israelis will get more attention than all the bombs that Israel dropped on #Gaza killing 8 yesterday.

In Gaza, Palestinians predict a new escalation of violence as Tzipi Livni, the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset, asks for a new Cast Lead, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signals a new wave of air raids over the Strip:

@Omar_Gaza: @AmoonaE I mean that 2night Israhell will bomb the hell out of us even if Jerusalem-Operation has nothing 2 do with us! Gaza has 2 pay :-S

@imPalestine: Here's my plan for the night: I'll sleep now for a couple of hours before the bombing begins which is usually sometime around midnight #Gaza

Drones invade Gaza sky in the late hours of Thursday, as attacks are expected:

@imPalestine: Friends here is a much better recording: Israeli drones across Gaza's sky via @olanan #Palestine #Gaza

@Jnoubiyeh: It is past 1 a.m. now in besieged #Gaza and there are 185 Israeli drones in the skies. Is sleeping an existential threat to #Israel now too?

Israeli special forces are then reported to have made an incursion into Northern Gaza:

@Omar_Gaza: BREAKING: Israeli special forces took over a house that belongs to Al Zendah family in Beit Lahya #Gaza they r stationed in it!

@Solarah: All police stations & security centres been evacuated.. State of EMERGENCY declared in #Gaza #Palestine

@imPalestine: A state of cautious anticipation among #Gaza residents now as Israeli drones have completely cleared off the sky #Palestine

In this stressful moment, some still manage to keep some sense of humor:

@Omar_Gaza: LOOOOOOL RT @imPalestine: People want the drones BACK! Please no F16s, no Apaches. let's be friends! Allah yostor (May God have mercy) #Gaza #Palestine

After midnight, on March, 24th, bombings start and Gaza bloggers set up a livestream enabling people to witness the bombings by themselves as they happen:

@imPalestine: You can watch live broadcasts of what's happening in Gaza tonight on this link: #Gaza via @imNadZ

@Jess_Gaza: Mohammed Qudaih via FB Huge Explosion in Rafah city now

@WillOuda: 5 missiles till now…explosions heard in the distance to the south and east of #Gaza city

@Omar_Gaza: Israel targeted a tunnel in Rafah with 1 missile & a security HQ belongs 2 Hamas with 4 missiles which affected the high-voltage power lines

Drones haven’t stopped hovering the Strip on Thursday, and bombings have been reported early this afternoon:

@livefromgaza: they're back : the drones #Gaza #zanana

@Omar_Gaza: F16 striked again a while ago, targeted a crowd in jabalya, 1 injured! #Gaza

@Solarah: OMG! Again!!! more & more Ambulances rushing out & to Al-shifa Hospital! #Gaza #Palestine # Israel

Around 8:30pm local time, strikes started again:

@SafaJoudeh: 6 consecutive #Israel F16 strikes on #Gaza just now, LOUD, ambulances screaming, ppl on the street yelling

@imPalestine: I was lying all the time when I said I got used to it. You never get used to being BOMBED by F-16s! #Gaza #Palestine

@annan6: the US Consulate has told all Americans to leave #Gaza. A repeat of the Gaza Massacre coming soon? I really hope not. I pray not. Please no

As I finish this report, bombings stop and are replaced by drones:

@imPalestine: F-16s disappeared to be replaced by unmanned drones once again! an d this is how it goes on! #Gaza

@imPalestine: Gaza is usually hailed in Arabic as the “Sing of Pride”. But the pride is being shattered daily by hellish Israeli bombing of #Gaza.

Omar Ghraieb, blogger from Gaza, reports:

Gaza, March 24 Thursday, In Gaza City, Israeli F16 warplanes bombed an intelligence headquarter named “the ship”, using at least five missiles, also raided the al-Rayes mountain with one missile and a room that belongs to “Gaza” sporting club, also “Badr” security HQ belonging to the Qassam Brigades, Hamas militant wing, with three missiles.

According to witnesses in the northern Gaza Strip, the shelling caused enormous material damage in the homes of civilian citizens in Maqqousi residential buildings which are located near the “Badr” security HQ, which was bombed with two missiles by Israeli warplanes.

According to Adham Abu Salmeyah, Health ministry official, one citizen got injured by shrapnel in the face, he is 10 years old and his name is Raid Afifi. More injuries reported to have reached Al Shefa hospital for treatment.

The loud bombing triggered a massive panic that hit women and children.


  • Mike 71

    This is all too predictable for Palestinians in Gaza. If they strike Israel, then Israel will strike back. If Hamas and its allies consider attacks on Israeli civilian targets to be a legitimate tactic, irrespective of whether the Israelis are adults, or children, why should Hamas expect Israelis to act any differently toward Palestinian civilians?

    This is an instance of reaping what you sow. If you sow violence, you will reap it in return.

    The previous Israeli Olmert government said that quiet on the Gaza side of the border will be met with quiet from the Israeli side. Netanyahu has not indicated any departure from that position. Why is it so difficult for the people of Gaza to grasp this concept? Unless the people of Gaza are willing to accept the violence from Israel as payment for their right to strike Israel, they should not perpetrate violence against Israel. Whether there will be peace, or not, is up to them!

    • Rulz

      I believe it is the Israelis that continue to bleat from the rooftops that they are the only democratic, peace-loving nation in the Middle East. If that is the case, regardless of who Hamas does or does not target, then the Palestinian civilians – and the world – should expect Israel not to fire on civilian targets. With one the most well funded and sophisticated military in the world, it really shouldn’t be that hard.

    • Dim76

      Dear Mike,

      I suppose asking people of the Gaza Strip to be peaceful towards Israel, is the same as asking a prisoner to be peaceful towards his oppressor guardian.

      I urge you to ask yourself what you would do if your ‘neighbor’ country occupied your homeland (or whatever you call home anyway).

      It is more than understood that violence only brings violence. The main issue here is to stop violence, ok. But if we are talking about the end of war between Israel and Palestine, we should consider as the only viable solutions that of: Two free, unnocupied nations with one border and no prison walls…

      Hope i ‘ve helped you to expand your consciousness.

    • khazaria Fail.
      Did you not read the above post? The CONTEXT is what’s important here.
      The Zionist of Europe and America stole, outright, Palestine and until that fundamental crime is redressed and understood as the cause of all violence following there can be no peace.
      Thankfully though peace is coming because the entire world fully understands the telltale signs of colonialism, religious (as in the case of “israel”) or otherwise. And that is precisely what “israel” is: a colonialist experiment. Perhaps the last of a dying breed that the rest of the world eschewed in the 20th century
      This is why most educated scholars agree that “israel” has already committed ‘politicide’ and has at best 10 to 20 more years before it completely and thankfully collapses.

      At this point and likely after committing more horrendous crimes against humanity the zionists will run dry. Their venom spent. The defeat will sink in and they will have no choice but to either leave for a more hospitable and equally racist home or accept that they are the minority and that the larger force in the middle east is one of peace and tolerance the way it was before “israel” was invented out of thin air in 1948. Contrary to the utterly racist propaganda continually spewed by the western zionist-sympathizing media outlets.

      The canary in the coal mine here is the massive defection of Jews from not only the physical local of what’s called “israel” but indeed the larger project of Zionist bigotry and exclusive cabalistic ideology. “Israel” has effective sullied the good name of Judaism. Anything good about the religion is outweighed at present by the despicable blight on humanity that is Apartheid. Again we see a few bad apples spoiling the entire barrel. Let’s not forget the famous words of renowned Jewish poet Asher Ginsberg upon arriving in Palestine from Europe at the behest of the Zionist crusade:

      “We abroad are used to believing that Eretz Israel is now almost totally desolate, a desert that is not sowed, and that anyone who wishes to purchase land there may come and purchase as much as he desires. But in truth this is not the case. Throughout the country it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains that are not fir to grow anything but fruit trees-and this only after hard labor and great expense of clearing and reclaimation- only these are not cultivated. The Zionists treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds. If this is the Messiah, then I do not wish to see his coming.”

      –Asher Ginsberg

      This is precisely what today’s young Jews are saying to themselves and its why more and more of them every day are distancing themselves from the racist, project of “israel”. On colleges all across the world students are no longer self-identifying by the label of “Jewish” since it has no racial meaning and refers only to an ideology of choice that is at present bound to racism and bigotry and antiquated thinking.
      The writing is on the wall for this sad episode of human history.

      Thankfully peace is on it’s way for those people of good conscience left in “israel” and the people of Palestine who have borne an unimaginable burden while the entire world stood helplessly by for nearly sixty years.

      Peace. Peace is coming.

  • Seems like you’re missing some context about what is happening in Israel right now.

    ~ Maya

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