From Alex Kane at Mondoweiss…

Gaza heats up: Israel bombards coastal enclave under siege with multiple airstrikes

The immediate cause of the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, which featured rockets and mortars fired into Israel and air attacks on the coastal enclave, occurred over the last two days. But the roots of the latest fighting are Israeli violations of the November 2012 truce between Hamas and Israel, and the years-long blockade and occupation crippling the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad attacked Israeli soldiers said to be advancing towards the Gaza Strip. In response, an Israeli airstrike killed three fighters. That, in turn, caused Islamic Jihad to unleash a barrage of some 70 projectiles into southern Israeli communities. No injures in Israel have been reported.

The Palestinian group said that its attacks were a way to avenge the deaths of six Palestinians killed in the West Bank and Gaza in recent days, as Allison Deger reported here.

The rockets and mortars fired into Israeli territory were the most significant Palestinian counter-attack since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012. The Islamic Jihad attacks caused some Israeli officials to act tough, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying Israel needed to “reoccupy” Gaza–most likely bluster, since the Israeli military has no interest in actually doing so.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “if there won’t be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza – a lot of noise, and this is an understatement.”

Sure enough, Israel reportedly launched 29 airstrikes and attacked Islamic Jihad positions with artillery. According to Ma’an News Agency, no Palestinians have been killed or injured, perhaps reflecting an Israeli intention to escalate just enough so that peace talks with the West Bank leadership continue. Islamic Jihad and Hamas also have little interest in provoking an all-out assault.

Still, even if this latest escalation doesn’t immediately break out into full-scale war, it’s one more step on the way towards that path. That’s because the Egyptian and U.S.-brokered ceasefire from 2012 between Palestinian militant groups–including Islamic Jihad and Hamas–has been threatened by repeated Israeli violations. And it’s those Israeli violations that have provoked rocket fire into Israel.

From MEMO…

Isolating Gaza to justify Israel’s continuous state terror

The latest Israeli violent incitement against Palestinians in Gaza has been distorted into the usual rhetoric of defence. Following the murder of three resistance fighters in Khan Younis by Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised further violence in the wake of Palestinian retaliation against the murders.

“If there is no quiet in our south, no quiet for the residents of Israel, there will be noise, lots of noise in Gaza. And that’s putting it mildly,” he said. The threat was uttered in the presence of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who upheld Netanyahu’s distorted reality and defended the settler-colonial state’s self-imposed right to defend itself. According to Cameron, Israeli aggression against Gaza’s legitimate resistance illustrates “the importance of maintaining and securing Israel’s future and the security threats you face, and you have Britain’s support in facing those security threats.”

Cameron deemed legitimate resistance “indiscriminate, aimed at civilian populations” and a reflection of barbarism. The statement evokes an accurate depiction of Israel’s settler-colonial state and its constant refinement of atrocities to maintain its illegal presence in Palestine, supported by its imperialist allies. {…}

The statements attest to the enforced permanent isolation of Gaza. Gaza has never relinquished its right to resistance; hence the regurgitated argument disseminated by mainstream media excusing Israeli violence as a consequence of rocket attacks is invalid. Resistance is the legitimate and necessary response to Israel’s colonial and imperialist-supported terror; a means to combat the sanctioned illegality endorsed by the UN. Gaza’s resistance does not contribute to the destabilisation of the region. However, the pervading discourse hailed as absolute truth is indicative of Israel’s commitment to incarcerate Palestinians in Gaza, this time in collaboration with a neighbouring country which has already proved its allegiance to Israel.

“Collective punishment”, the convenient term describing Israel’s brutality against Palestinians, should be rendered obsolete. In case of another superfluous Zionist campaign aimed at consolidating Israel’s “defence”, it is worth remembering that the sole entities which can claim defence are historic Palestine and the Palestinian population. Any Zionist actions against Palestinian land, people and memory is nothing but an extension of refined colonial violence, displaying Israel’s constant need to protect its illegal settler presence upon land it can never claim to own – a fact proven by Palestinian resistance.

A look-see at Cameron’s recent Knesset appearance…

Cameron’s Knesset cuckoo-land

…As is standard for US and European political leaders, Cameron emphasised the need for Israeli “security” and “a life free from the everyday fear of terror”. But of course, nothing was mentioned about the Palestinian need for security and the need to live a life free from Israeli terror.

Israel once again broke, on Tuesday, a ceasefire with Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip, killing three Islamic Jihad fighters there. The resistance factions responded with a rocket barrage into Israel.

Unnoticed by most of the media, Israeli murders of Palestinian innocent bystanders, activists, and fighters have gone on constantly this year. Cameron mentioned nothing of the killing of student Saji Darwish, shot in the head by Israeli army thugs on Monday. Or of Raed Ala’eddin Zeiter, the 38-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian judge shot dead while trying to cross the Israeli occupation’s Jordan-West Bank crossing that same day.

Not for nothing does Amnesty International’s latest report call Israeli forces “trigger happy”.

The largest part of Cameron’s speech was given over to an invisible world of Cameron’s imagination. A cloud cuckoo-land in the Knesset.

“Imagine what this land would be like if a two-state solution was actually achieved” he tried to persuade the sceptical audience.

He then spent most of the rest of the speech talking about the “dividends of peace that I long for” once the Palestinian Authority has signed away Palestinian rights and capitulated to Israeli pressure to “end the conflict” and pesky little claims like the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugee to historic Palestine.

More Bibi…

Netanyahu: We will respond ‘forcefully’ to rockets

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel would respond “forcefully” against a volley of rocket fire launched against Israel, promising to maintain its security.

“It appears that a rocket salvo came in response to the preventative (air force) strike yesterday. we will continue stopping attacks and hitting those who wish to harm us, and will act against them with full force,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook shortly after the barrage, according to Israeli media.

“The number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the last year has been the lowest in a decade, but this is not enough for us. We will continue acting to ensure the security of the people of Israel both in the south and across the country,” Israel’s Ynet news site quoted him as saying.

He added: “We will respond against the attacks forcefully and continue in our work against terror organizations.”

To be sure… Minister Calls to ‘Crush the Snake’s Head’

Min. Uri Ariel says all means are legitimate to stop the rocket fire on communities in the South.

“I wish to strengthen the IDF and the Prime Minister, and I am certain that the Defense Establishment will know how to respond with power and forcefulness, in order to restore quiet for all residents of the South,” he added. “The snake’s head must be crushed and the terrorists must not be allowed to harm Israeli citizens.”

Gaza terrorists fired two rockets early Thursday evening at the Hof Ashkelon area, south of the city of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean coast. No one was hurt and no damage was reported.

Meanwhile, the Jordanians are more than a tad miffed with the ‘trigger happy’ IDF…

Even the Lebanese Border was shelled today… Israel shells Lebanon after border blast: security

Targeting Hezbollah, yet…

Al-Qaeda-linked group claims border attack on IDF

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an enemy of Hezbollah, tweets responsibility for targeting Israeli patrol at Lebanon border…

Fancy that, eh…?

Meanwhile, across the West Bank, it was just another mundane day… Nearly 40 injured in clashes across the West Bank

In wrapping up…

Gaza, Israel Weaponry Comparison