As today’s Haaretz reported…

Palestinians: Two Jihad militants killed in Israeli strike on Gaza

Witnesses: militants were firing rocket at Israel; attack comes a day after Gaza groups signaled they would halt rocket fire if IDF stopped carrying out targeted attacks as well.

The Israel Air Force killed two Palestinians and wounded three more in an attack on the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, according to Palestinian media reports.

The five Palestinians were clustered just east of the Jabalya refugee camp at the time of the attack, said the reports. The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed the casualties as its members.

As Ma’an had wrote about the incident…

…Ma’an’s reporter said Islamic Jihad’s supporters announced the death of two fighters through loudspeakers on vehicles in Jabalia’s streets.

According to medics, the group of men were hit by a missile fired from an Israeli reconnaissance plane on As-Sikka Street east of the camp.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it identified “a group of rocket launchers preparing to fire a rocket” in the northern Gaza Strip and fired at them.

A hit was confirmed, the statement added.

The attack came less than 24 hours after Palestinian factions offered a truce if Israel’s military stopped bombarding the Gaza Strip.

The latest strike brought the death toll in the coastal enclave to at least 12, including civilians and children, over the last week. More than 50 have been injured.

Wednesday, Haaretz’s Amira Hass had painted a bleak picture of Hamas and Gaza…

The Sanctity of the Soaring Qassam

The Hamas authorities once again forgot that the neighbor/occupier to its east is crazy. Fact: Over Shabbat, Hamas’ military wing fired more than 50 mortar shells at Israel. Or perhaps it didn’t forget: Perhaps it merely thought the Palestinian people in Gaza were ready for another high-tech Israeli onslaught, for another Israel Defense Forces video game in which children playing on a roof are identified as lookouts and sentenced to death.

In this testosterone-rich competition, there will always be more checkmarks on the Israeli side. But Israel is clever enough to act like the threatened party and to hide its deadly performances. Who cares that the “appropriate Zionist response” to 50 mortar shells, which sowed fear but did not kill, was the killing of two 16-year-olds? Imad Faraj Allah and Qassam Abu Uteiwi, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, were the people killed by Israel’s retaliatory bombing later that evening – not “two terrorists,” as our media obediently said, parroting the commanders’ dictation.

Now, apparently, Hamas is beginning to see the light…

Gaza factions offer truce, if Israel reciprocates

Palestinian factions in Gaza agreed Saturday to commit to a truce with Israel if that country’s military stopped attacking the coastal enclave.

The decision was made during a two-hour meeting in Gaza City, initiated by Hamas, to discuss what has been called Israel’s escalation in attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Over the previous week, Israeli forces have bombarded the coastal enclave, killing 10 Palestinians including civilians and children. Dozens more were injured.

Israel’s army says it is responding to a barrage of projectiles fired by militants into Israel, which have injured one Israeli in the last week. [...]

The truce meeting was initiated by Hamas on Saturday, and was attended by representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and several other parties, all of which have claimed projectile fire in recent weeks.

Fatah and five other PLO factions did not participate.

Khader Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader, told AFP after the meeting that “everybody confirmed that they respect the national consensus by calming things with the Zionist enemy.”

But he said this “depends on the nature of Israeli behavior, and we insist on the need to respond immediately to each escalation by the occupiers.”

And Osama Al-Haj Ahmed, a Popular Front leader, said “the factions confirmed their commitment to national consensus in order not to give the aggressors any pretext” for attacking.

Hamas already pledged on Wednesday to “to restore calm” in the coastal enclave.

Meanwhile, as many Palestinian Youth continue to push for Unity… Abu Mazen seems to be hearing the beck and hew…

Former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik and other Hamas leaders and lawmakers from the West Bank have received invitations to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sources close to Hamas told Ma’an the meeting would be held Saturday afternoon.

Ma’an learned on Friday the meeting could take place very soon in order to take advantage of President Abbas’ initiative to visit Gaza and finalize a reconciliation agreement.

A high-level official in the PLO expressed doubts about Hamas’ willingness to respond positively to Abbas’ initiative. He highlighted that Hamas’ leadership in Gaza have been trying to make up excuses to avoid finalizing a reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority and its dominant party Fatah.

“I don’t believe it will be that easy because Hamas leaders in Gaza know that ending the state of disagreement will harm their interests and thus they are not interested in ending reconciliation but rather in reaching a ceasefire with Israel,” the official said.

Apparently, it was a very ‘frank and positive’ meeting between Hamas and Fatah…

Abbas Discusses Initiative with Hamas delegation

President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah on Saturday with a high level Hamas delegation, headed by Aziz Dweik, president of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

He discussed with them his initiative to form a government of independent figures to prepare for presidential, legislative and Palestine National Council elections, as well as his planned trip to Gaza.

He told the delegation that there will not be an independent Palestinian state without reconciliation.

Dweik described his meeting the Hamas meeting with Abbas as “frank and positive.”

He said that “We listened to the president talk about his initiative to end division and reach reconciliation.”

He said the results of the planned trip will become clear in the next few days.

Fatah officials believe Hamas is opposed to the visit and Abbas’ initiative.

“The meeting was deep and positive, but we have not yet seen steps by Hamas that they want to implement the president wish to go to Gaza,” said Fatah leader Azzam Ahmad.

He said that in spite of the negative response by some Hamas spokesmen in Gaza regarding Abbas’ visit, “we did not give up hope and we will do all we can to make this initiative successful and end the division.

Now, with all this ‘happy talk’ of Unity between Hamas and Fatah, Bibi is not happy…

Israel to Cut PA Ties Over Hamas

Israel will stop dealing with the Palestinian Authority if it brings Hamas into the government, a senior government official said Saturday night, a few hours after PA President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah with a senior Hamas delegation for conciliation talks.

Continuing along with the same sort of tortured logic…

As Doug Mataconis had so aptly noted about today’s Face The Nation interview with Hillary and Gates…

Hillary Clinton: No Intervention In Syria Because They’re Only Shooting People, Not Bombing Them

The rhetorical legerdemain that members of the Obama Administration have been using to justify the nation’s intervention in Libya was on full display this morning when Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea of a Libya-like intervention in Syria using some of the most tortured logic… [...]

Now, as I said earlier, I think the idea of intervening in Syria is exceedingly stupid, but making distinctions like this demonstrates just how intellectually bankrupt the Administration’s foreign policy really is when it comes to the so-called “Responsibility To Protect” doctrine. If Libyan civilians deserve protection from their government, then why not Syrians, or Baharanis, or Yemenis, or residents of the Ivory Coast. That’s the biggest problem with this policy; taken to its logical conclusion, it leads to endless war. Since that would be politically unpalatable, we end up with tortured logic like this and the absurd suggestion that Bashar Assad is a “reformer,” something we were saying about Gaddafi himself just a few months ago.

I’m all for a UN imposed ‘No Fly Zone’ over Gaza…!

*gah*