Israel and Gaza slip toward war

Israel and Gaza slip toward war

TEL AVIV (JTA) — As the deadliest bloodshed in years between the Israeli military and Gaza militants began to escalate Wednesday, millions of people in Israel and the Gaza Strip were subjected to a second night of deadly airstrikes.

Even as airstrikes arrived and air-raid sirens sounded, Palestinian Israelis rushed into the streets, burning vehicles and attacking police in scenes that echoed violent uprisings decades earlier.

“This kind of brutality hasn’t been seen since October 2000,” Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said, pointing to Arab protests at the start of the second intifada, or Palestinian mass rebellion.

According to Palestinian health officials, 35 Gazans, including 12 girls, and six Israelis, including one teenage girl, have been killed in the worst outbreak of violence in seven years, resurfacing common trends of tit-for-tit.

The worst outbreak of bloodshed in seven years has resurfaced old trends of tit-for-tat retaliatory missile salvos while also sparking a much more unusual eruption of mass civil unrest by Palestinian residents of Israel.

Hamas, the Islamist jihadist group that controls Gaza, declared on Tuesday night, just before 9 p.m., that it would fire missiles at Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes that had brought down a 13-story hotel, as well as other high-rise attacks that had claimed at least three lives. The 13-story structure, according to the Israeli military, housed Hamas military intelligence offices as well as a rocket research and development unit.

“Gaza residents, you are seeing this military action because terrorist groups have once again decided to put you in the line of fire,” the Israeli military wrote on Facebook. “Keep a safe distance from them. Keep a safe distance from the locations where they work. “Protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Hamas retaliated by firing over 1,000 missiles and mortar shells at Tel Aviv, its environs, and scores of villages in southern Israel. Four people were injured when a rocket hit a bus in the central city of Holon, including a 5-year-old boy. Rockets landed near Ben Gurion International Airport, forcing the closure of the airport and the rerouting of flights.

Projectiles fired from Gaza have landed near to the coastal enclave in recent years, mostly in unoccupied fields and forests. Hamas was playing mind games with Israel’s main urban centre by flooding the sky above Tel Aviv with the largest salvos since the 2014 war, analysts said.

“It’s not that important militarily, but it’s significant psychologically,” said Amos Yadlin, a retired air force general and IDF intelligence leader. “It’s not fun to wake up at 3 a.m. to go to the shelter because of the sirens.”


Yadlin compares the Tel Aviv attack to Hamas’ decision to fire missiles at Jerusalem on Monday, one of which hit a home in a southwestern suburb. The army was aware that Hamas had rockets capable of reaching Jerusalem, but the fact that seven of them were fired in that direction shocked Israeli officials. The transfer wasn’t intended to reach the Old City; rather, it was intended to signal that the game had changed.

He said, “Hamas has chosen to position itself as the guardian of Palestinian Jerusalem.” “This is a new policy that Israel has been missing.”

Massive Palestinian protests erupted in Arab towns across Israel as sirens blared, heavy booms echoed overhead, and the Iron Dome antimissile protection shield streaked the night sky with lines of white light. Carrying Palestinian flags, a large group of mainly young men marched to burn synagogues and city hall offices, as well as throw stones at police and bystanders. They chanted slogans in support of Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem, as well as in condemnation of Israel’s systematic anti-Arab bigotry and racism, according to them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed a state of emergency in Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab town in central Israel that has been the epicenter of the riots. He arrived in the city early Wednesday, after a second night of violence that started with clashes outside the funeral of a 25-year-old Palestinian man who was killed in clashes the night before.

Shabtai, speaking in Lod, cautioned that the situation was on the verge of devolving into a new intifada. Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian lives were lost during the previous revolt, which lasted five years and was characterized by widespread Hamas bus bombings and violent Israeli military incursions.


Shabtai, speaking in Lod, cautioned that the situation was on the verge of devolving into a new intifada. Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian lives were lost during the previous revolt, which lasted five years and was characterized by widespread Hamas bus bombings and violent Israeli military incursions.

Border patrol units from the West Bank were moved into the area, as well as many other Arab towns and mixed Jewish-Arab towns that have seen similar clashes.

A father and his 16-year-old daughter were killed by a Hamas rocket later that night in a nearby unrecognized Arab village that lacked proper bomb shelters.

“Hamas rockets do not discriminate between Jews and Arabs,” said Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lod.

“The day after, we will all have to work here together,” he said, calling for peace in Lod and other cities with significant Arab populations.

From Jerusalem, Hendrix wrote.

How the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was reignited by a Jerusalem neighborhood Here’s how Gazan rockets put Israel’s Iron Dome to the test. What is the source of Israel’s and Gaza’s violence?

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel-Hamas hostilities erupted overnight, with 35 Palestinians killed in Gaza and three in Israel in the most intense aerial exchanges in years.

Hundreds of air strikes were carried out by Israel in Gaza into the early hours of Wednesday, as Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups launched numerous missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

After being repeatedly struck by Israeli air attacks, one multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was severely damaged. Israel claimed to have struck Hamas targets such as security centers and rocket launchers.

It was Israel’s most serious offensive against Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war, and it sparked international outrage that the situation could spin out of control.

“Stop the flames immediately,” tweeted UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland. We’re on the verge of a full-fledged conflict. De-escalation is the role of both leaders on all sides.

“The burden of the war in Gaza is enormous, and average civilians are bearing the brunt of it. The United Nations is negotiating with all parties to maintain order. Put an end to the bloodshed right now “he penned

Gazans confirmed their homes trembling and the sky lighting up with Israeli strikes, outgoing rockets, and Israeli air defense missiles intercepting them into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Israelis fled to shelters or collapsed on pavements in towns more than 70 kilometers (45 miles) up the coast and into southern Israel as interceptor missiles streaked across the sky.
In reaction to the bombardment of Gaza’s tower blocks, Hamas’ armed wing said it launched 210 missiles at Beersheba and Tel Aviv.

Air raid sirens could be seen all over Tel Aviv. The militants’ attack on Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, posed a new threat for Israel in its fight against the Islamist Hamas group, which Israel and the US view as a terrorist organization.

The disturbances in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, came after weeks of unrest in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators in and around the mosque.

This have intensified in recent days ahead of a – currently delayed – court hearing in a lawsuit that could result in Palestinian families being evicted from homes claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.


The abuse did not seem to be coming to an end any time soon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that terrorists would pay a “very high” price for the rockets that landed on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday, during a national holiday in Israel commemorating Israel’s 1967 wartime takeover of East Jerusalem.

Following the eruption of hostilities, Netanyahu’s political rivals halted talks to form an alliance of right-wing, left-wing, and center-left groups to unseat him following an inconclusive election on March 23.

If Yair Lapid struggles to form a coalition in the next three weeks, a new election – and another opportunity for Netanyahu to stay in office – is possible.

The Arab League, whose representatives have been warming up to Israel in recent months, has accused it of “indiscriminate and reckless” attacks in Gaza and “dangerous escalation” in Jerusalem.

Hamas dubbed its rocket attack “Sword of Jerusalem” in an attempt to delegitimize Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and portray itself as the protectors of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Ismail Haniyeh, the militant group’s commander, said that Israel had “ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and the fires have spread to Gaza, so it is responsible for the consequences.”

Hamas’ message to Israel, according to Haniyeh, is: “If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready; if they want to stop, the resistance is ready.” Qatar, Egypt, and the United Nations have both urged peace, but Hamas’ message to Israel is: “If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready; if they want to stop, the resistance is ready.”

The White House said on Tuesday that Israel has a legal right to protect itself from missile threats, but that it is exerting pressure on Israel over its handling of Palestinians, insisting that Jerusalem be a place of coexistence.

According to diplomats and a person familiar with US policy, the US was blocking U.N. Security Council attempts to make a public comment on rising tensions because it could harm behind-the-scenes efforts to end the abuse.

“The loss of life, the loss of Israeli life, the loss of Palestinian life, it’s something that we sincerely regret,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price, calling for peace and “restraint on both sides.”

Israel said it had deployed 80 fighter jets to bomb Gaza and infantry and armor to reinforce the tanks already stationed on the border, evoking memories of the last Israeli ground incursion into Gaza to avoid rocket attacks, which took place in 2014.

According to the Gaza health ministry, over 2,100 Gazans were killed in the seven-week war that followed, along with 73 Israelis, and thousands of homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli troops.

Three plumes of dense, black smoke rose from a 13-story Gaza residential and office building on Tuesday when it toppled over after being flattened by Israeli air strikes, according to video footage.

The site, in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, was said to house “many” Hamas offices, including those for military research and development and military intelligence, according to the Israeli military.

Locals were well aware of the presence of a Hamas branch, which was used by government figures and officials dealing with the public.

According to witnesses and the Israeli military, residents of the block and the nearby area had been warned to evacuate before the air attack.

Israeli assaults just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday severely destroyed a second residential and office building in the same neighborhood. The building’s residents and journalists had already fled.

On Tuesday, Gaza health ministry officials placed the death toll at 32, but three more civilians, including a woman and a boy, were killed shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday in an Israeli air strike on an apartment above a restaurant, according to a Hamas-affiliated radio station.

Israeli politicians and the military claimed to have killed “dozens” of militants and struck Hamas-controlled houses.

Israel has carried out “hundreds” of attacks, according to Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, ten of the 30 people killed were children and one was a woman.

A 50-year-old woman was killed when a missile struck a house in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, according to Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service, and two others were killed in rocket attacks on Ashkelon.

(With contributions from Nidal al-Mughrabi, Dan Williams, and Ari Rabinovitch in Geneva, Nandita Bose and Steve Holland in Washington, Michelle Nichols in New York, and Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; writing by Kevin Liffey; editing by Howard Goller.)