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Is Israel trying to force a third intifada?

Israeli incursions in the West Bank are the largest since the Second Intifada, while airstrikes over Gaza continue for a fifth consecutive night. 

“The ‘party’ tonight is lasting longer than usual,” says my friend from Gaza. He recently married, and he and his wife moved to the top floor of an apartment building with panoramic views of Gaza City.

For the last five nights, those views have given him a reporter’s vantage point on a sustained Israeli bombing campaign – the longest since Operation Pillar of Defense, the nine-day attack on the 25-mile-long strip in November of 2012. At the time, Israel justified the bombing, which included attacks that Human Rights Watch determined had violated the laws of war, as a deterrent to Hamas rockets.

A Palestinian boy stands in his home, the roof of which was destroyed by debris thrown into the air by Israeli bombings in the Al Shoja'iya area of Gaza City, December 2, 2012.

A Palestinian boy stands in his home, the roof of which was destroyed by debris thrown into the air by Israeli bombings in the Al Shoja’iya area of Gaza City, December 2, 2012.

Never mind that the 2012 onslaught followed Israel’s assassination of Hamas military wing leader Ahmed Jabari, who had been responsible for defusing violence that had broken out after Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza on November 8, killing a 12-year-old Palestinian boy. The 2012 attack at least issued from a set of consistent Israeli talking points, however deceptive their premise.

The current campaign claims no such consistency. If the aim is to retrieve three yeshiva students who went missing in the West Bank — on occupied land under full Israeli military control — then why is Israel bombing Gaza?

Read: Why Israel’s response to the kidnappings feels awfully familiar

Listen to one Israeli officer quoted in an ultra-Orthodox outlet yesterday, and you might get a hint of Israel’s intentions:

“This was actually the true goal,” he said of ongoing military operations in Jenin, “to provoke [Palestinians] into causing disorder, and then put down those causing the disorder.”

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian men at the Gush Etzion junction, a settlement next to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem ,on June 16, 2014 , June 16, 2014.  Over 150 Palestinians were arrested in the last nights and a tight closure was imposed on the southern West Bank city of Hebron. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian men at the Gush Etzion junction, next to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, on June 16, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

If Israel is hoping to provoke Hamas into launching a barrage of rockets from Gaza, the tactic has so far not worked. One explanation for this could be that Hamas sees restraint as an opportunity to accrue political capital among Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. The calculus is simple: Hamas upholds, at least publicly, the united front it forged with Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, the Fatah leader undercuts his own credibility by vowing further “security” cooperation with Israel.

In the long term, such a strategy could well yield political gains for the Islamist group. But this is no time for political maneuvering. My friend in Gaza tells me the sorties are getting lower, the concussion of each explosion louder. And on the fifth night, they lasted longer, too – this time injuring six people, including four children. Meanwhile, the West Bank is enduring the largest Israeli military assault since the Second Intifada. On Thursday night, Israeli soldiers killed 13-year-old Jihad Mohamed Duadin in the town of Dura, near Hebron, and left another Palestinian teenager in critical condition after he was shot near Qalandiya. Not to mention major incursions from north to south that have snatched hundreds from their families, ransacked homes, and cut off Palestinian towns and villages from each other.

One thing is clear: As Israel continues on this course, neither Fatah nor Hamas have the wherewithal to protect the people they claim to represent. With Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza continuing to bear the brunt of Israel’s deadly goading, it is they to whom Netanyahu and Co. will eventually have to answer. And if history is any guide, no amount of military might can silence them.

More on the kidnappings:
Badawi: Why Israel’s response to the kidnappings feels awfully familiar
Omer-Man: Rights groups say response to kidnapping is collective punishment
Matar: Israel’s crackdown moves beyond Hamas militants

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    1. Kolumn9

      There have been rockets launched from Gaza for each of the past 5 days and before that. This is the reason for the airstrikes.

      Impressive. An entire article written out of the sheer ignorance of easily available facts.

      Reply to Comment
      • Victor

        This is not ignorance. Badawi knows pretty well what’s happening. But he and 972 pretend that the West Bank and Gaza are quiet. As if Palestinians are the most peaceful lot on earth. Read a couple of his articles and you’ll see how he thinks Palestinian “resistance” is completely peaceful.

        Reply to Comment
    2. shachalnur

      Maybe Hasbara Central can help me out here:

      Is there anybody outside Israel and their foreign cheerleaders that blames Hamas or PA for this “kidnapping”?

      The white House is silent,the EU denounces the “kidnapping” but not Hamas and PA.

      Even Abbas spoke against the “kidnapping”,but didn’t blame Hamas or other Palestinian organizations.

      Could it be that after Israel perpetrated too many black-ops in the past,we reached the point that the world doesn’t believe anything Israel claims anymore?

      Reply to Comment
      • JG

        Like the great Heisenberg would saa: “You’re goddamn right…”
        Nobody buys this accusations without evidence anymore.

        Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        This recent flareup is playing right into the hands of Bibi who lusts for Palestinian blood and any excuse to open up the Gaza to a new round of IDF violence and outright murder. Thus far there is ZERO evidence against Hamas and it is curious too, that as a general rule Hamas has always been quick to attach their name to these sort of events. Hasbara is working overtime to stoke the coals and illicit yet more sympathy for the occupiers who won’t be happy until the last Palestinian is pushed out of Gaza to make room for yet more settlements. Bibi is drooling at the prospect of a third intifada so he can go into Gaza full throttle.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Mr. Badawi asks “Why is Israel bombing Gaza? He may have not noticed that every time Israel has bombed Gaza in the last week has been proceeded by rockets fired into Israel. In fact since the beginning of this year about 150 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza. These are acts of war to which Israel has the right to respond.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Hamas is showing utmost restraint,given the fact hundreds of their activists and leaders are being rounded up and tortured,and houses are being demolished.

        Two kids murdered two weeks ago,another two kids dead during the current “operation” in the West Bank.

        Israel is very carefull to not hit too many civilians in Gaza this time around,since nobody in the world believes the “kidnapping”story.

        So any killed Palestinian based on this “kidnapping” black-op will be seen as coldblooded murder based on lies by the occupier and torturer.

        Reply to Comment
        • What restraint is Hamas showing? Yesterday 6 Hamas members were killed during a mission by the premature explosion of explosives in a tunnel near the Gaza-Israel border. Rockets have been flying out of Gaza everyday since the kidnapping.

          At the beginning of the year Hamas graduated 13,000 Gazan children from military school, which included a female cadre of suicide bombers. This month Hamas has 100,000 children in Hamas terror camps over the summer receiving various amounts of military instruction based on their ages.

          Hamas continues to manufacture rockets and plan to destroy Israel.

          Reply to Comment
          • JG

            100.000 children in terror camps. So you believe this shit you’re talking? Congrats, hasbara retardness has rached new heights.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            No, he is correct.


            “About 100,000 students from all over the Gaza Strip joined the “Pioneers of Liberation” summer camps organized this year by the Hamas movement. The camps are organized according to educational level, with primary, middle and secondary school stages. The students are registered in mosques scattered throughout the Gaza Strip. One group of participants expressed their enthusiasm to Al-Monitor for the diverse activities, especially military drills.

            Saleh Jaafarawi, 17, said, “I was waiting for the camp’s events to start after I was registered through the mosque in my region of residence. I received some military training as part of the boys’ program at school, but this camp has a special character and sense of detail, and offers more training.”

            Reply to Comment
          • you know, in israel.. they do two years of such brainwashing

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            You obviously don’t have a clue.

            Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        “Mr. Badawi asks “Why is Israel bombing Gaza? He may have not noticed that every time Israel has bombed Gaza in the last week has been proceeded by rockets fired into Israel.”

        But pleeeze. You did not really expected any decency from an Arab, did you?

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          “But you did not really expected [sic] any decency from an Arab, did you ?”
          Thank you, 972mag, for giving this racist piece of shit another opportunity to post his crap here.

          Reply to Comment
          • Dazed and Confused

            Its not “racist” to disagree with Quranic foreign policy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Felix Reichert

            So if I said:
            “Did you really expect any decency from a jew?”, that would of course also neither be a racist or antisemitic statement, because all I would be doing is disagreeing with Talmud-Foreign-Policy… right?


            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            Well, Felix. Some Jews are not very creative in their racism and simply use antisemitic formulations to demonstrate their racisim and hatred against Arabs or Muslims.

            In their statements I always replace “Jews” when they write “Arabs” and nearly all the time it’s like reading a racist statement from certain Germans about Jews.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            There is a lot of “decent” Jews: Gershon Baskin, guys who run 972, etc.

            Yet, decent Arabs are extremely rare commodity, found nowhere.

            Now, given that there is about 14 000 000 Jews and 400 000 000 Arabs it is safe to assume that Arabs are about 100 times more deceitful than Jews.

            p.s. You don’t know what Taqqiya is, do you?

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Sounds to me you used to have smart,loving and beautiful Arab girlfriend that left you,and you’re still trying to get over it.

            Let the hate go,Très Passé.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            “Sounds to me you used to have smart,loving and beautiful Arab girlfriend that left you,and you’re still trying to get over it.”

            Offtopic rubbish.

            p.s. Lack of coherent ontopic counterarguments proves that I am right.

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            You just have to love The Treepisser’s logic.

            Laisse pisser.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I could not care any less. Sufficient is that I know that I am right while you are silly hater.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carlos

            “Yet decent Arabs are extremely rare commodity, found nowhere”…according to…YOU! After this masterful piece of nothingness, follows your “logical” conclusion based on your own BS “data”: “Now, given that…yada yada…blah blah… Arabs are about 100 times more deceitful than Jews” WOW, ain’t that “incontestable maths”! And you smugly add: “Lack of coherent ontopic counterarguments “proves” (YA BETCHA!)that I am right”. What a crock of shite! There cannot be “counterarguments” against the “non-arguments” you spew. What you have really proved, is that you are just another Anti-Semite!!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Anti-semitic semite is an oxymoron. But your empty brain can not even comprehed the level of your own idiocy.

            Reply to Comment
    4. RE: Human Rights Watch

      Human Rights Watch has been found to be deficient in its ability to objectively report on incidents involving Israel. David Matas long ago pointed out that HRW does not have the military expertise nor the necessary methodology to do fact finding. The founder of HRW,Robert L. Bernstein, who has pointed the anti-Israel bias of HRW said:

      “In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers.”

      Bernstein noted that military experts like Richard Kemp

      “said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

      Bernstein also stated
      “Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields.”

      If one links to the HRW report given by Mr. Badawi, one will note that HRW issued their report without waiting for Israel to conduct its investigations and have a chance to respond to the “apparent violations” found by HRW.

      Judgments of violations require knowledge of the military intelligence possessed by Israeli commanders at the time of the strikes, and information on intent of the officers who launched the attacks. Without waiting for Israel’s investigation and reporting HRW lacked the necessary information to make its find that even “apparent” violations took place.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        HRW is pro-intervention lobby group(ex-jugoslavia),funded by George Soros.

        All substantial donors are 1897 Zionist Jews.

        They are a mouthpiece for the London Bankers and warmongering cheerleaders for the New World Order.

        Not a serious source for anything but 1897 Zionist Banker slaves.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      It’s looking more and more like Israel has finally taken the decision to take the plunge and go full Gitmo on the Palestinians (Netanyahu pretty much said as much). The abuse the Palestinians have been experiencing in the last few days is nothing short of breathtaking, even by Israel’s already low standards of conduct as veteran occupiers. I wonder what it will take for the world to stand up and declare a severe humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories, which is where Israel is willingly taking it.

      What is absolutely reprehensible in my eyes is the conduct of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, who are willing accomplices in the collective punishment of their own people. If it wasn’t abundantly clear before that Mahmoud Abbas has lost all legitimacy as a leader, I think all doubt has finally been removed.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        Has anyone heard Abbas decry the killing of the 15 year old Palestinian boy or the killing and wounding of other Palestinians?

        The silence is deafening.

        Several years ago the Jewish Daily Forward reported that Arafat was on the Israeli government payroll. I would not be in the least surprised if Abbas isn’t on the payroll as well.

        Reply to Comment
      • Dazed and Confused

        You can’t be serious that a supporter of the Government of Palestine – Gilad Schalit’s captors – is going to use Club Gitmo as an epithet.

        I assume you’re being ironic.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Vadim

      “As Israel continues on this course, neither Fatah nor Hamas have the wherewithal to protect the people they claim to represent”

      Oh poor people. They just live there, all they want is peace, all they strive for is to live peacefully with the Yahud. It’s not like the have elected the Hamas. It’s not like murderers (known as prisoners on this site) are honored and supported. It’s not like they have been waging war on us for the past few decades. Nothing of the sort. Just peaceful grandmothers and children that are now under brutal attack.

      These people, via their elected representatives, have chosen to fight Israel. This is what you get in return.

      You want peace and calm? Take responsibility and make a choice to stop fighting Israel.

      You want “Justice”, RoR and to teach these Yahud a lesson? Don’t complain when you get lightly spanked in return.

      Reply to Comment
    7. richard witty

      Whether intentional or not, a third intifada is the only potential stimulus for actual annexation.

      If the tension gets to the level of war, it is the justification for forced removal.

      There is the possibility of a repetition of 1949 (the beginning of the period of institutionalization of prohibition from return).

      Reply to Comment
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