Israel continued its relentless bombing campaign on the heavily populated Palestinian enclave the Gaza Strip, launching more than 300 airstrikes on Saturday, killing at least 10 Palestinians and targeted smuggling tunnels which are the lifeblood of the besieged Gazan economy.
Continuing to falsely claim the airstrikes are retaliatory for rocket-fire coming out of Gaza, Israel targeted the Hamas prime minister’s headquarters and police compounds, as leaders from Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey met in Cairo to try to broker a cease-fire.
The White House said President Barack Obama was also in touch with the Egyptian and Turkish leaders, but the US has firmly backed Israel so far, while condemning Gaza.
More than 40 Gazans have been killed and more than 350 wounded since Israel escalated its airstrikes on Gaza on Wednesday. Israel’s escalation came after militant groups in Gaza dared to retaliate against Israel’s needless murder to two Palestinians in the preceding days, one a mentally ill 23-year who got too close to the border and another 13-year old boy killed as he was playing soccer with his friends. Israel also made incursions into Gaza with military tanks, which helped motivate the retaliatory rocket-fire.
Militants in Gaza fired more than 100 rockets toward Israel, including two aimed at the commercial and cultural center of Tel Aviv. Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system shot down at least one of these rockets, while the fate of the other one was not known, but no injuries were reported.
Much of the dialogue on the conflict is terribly biased in favor of Israel.
“Israel, of course, has far greater and more sophisticated means (much of it U.S.-supplied) of inflicting death and destruction than does Hamas,” writes former CIA analyst Paul Pillar. “The different means tend to carry different labels: ground-launched rockets are called terrorism, while the operations of attack aircraft are called a nation defending its borders.”
“To be clear, this was an escalation of choice by Israel’s leadership,” wrote Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the New America Foundation.
Some commentary has described Israel’s intentional escalation as a way to secure votes for the ruling Likud Party in Israel’s upcoming election. While others point to a broader goal: “ At the most basic level, Israel’s actions in Gaza are inextricably bound up with its efforts to create a Greater Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” writes renowned Chicago University political scientist John Mearsheimer.