Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here We Go Again


"Bomb explodes in central Jerusalem; 1 dead, at least 30 hurt" says the headline in Ha'aretz this Wednesday morning.
Whether this the work of Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, or some other group, it was likely - at least in its immediate cause - a response to Israel's bombing on Monday of Gaza, its killing of 8 and wounding of 17. And, on Tuesday evening, Israeli forces carried out a targeted assassination of a senior Hamas operative in Gaza.
This in turn was a response to Hamas' launching of 50 Qassam's and 4 Grad rockets into Israel last week. One Israeli was wounded in those attacks
And that was in response to Israeli air force raids against a Hamas base at the old Israeli settlement of Netzarim, in which two Gazan's were killed and one injured.
And that was in response to a single Qassam launched from Gaza, and which landed in an empty field. (See here.) A previously unknown group took "credit" for that attack.
(Score since March 16th, if I haven't missed anything: Israelis 1 killed 31 wounded, Palestinians 11 killed, 18 wounded.)
Israeli Cabinet Minister Limat Livnor said today that it may be time for "Cast Lead 2" - a reprise of Israel's War on Gaza in 2008/2009. Somewhere Palestinian militants are saying it is time for a Third Intifada.
All this is a result of the lack of any progress in the "Peace Process." Nature abhors a vacuum, and human beings abhor injustice and misery without end.
So an escalation of violence was more or less predictable based on Netanyahu's "success" in stymieing the peace talks, in continuing Israeli construction in the West Bank, in continuing the blockade of Gaza, in continuing to prove the PA's path of negotiations useless, in continuing to crush the Palestinian non-violent protest movement in towns and neighborhoods such as Nilin, Bilin, Nebi Salah, etc., in continuing the suck the hope out of any significant change to the lives of Palestinians. It was also predictable based on increased diplomatic pressure being placed on Israel, increased traction of the BDS movement, and the pending threat of the PA unilaterally declaring a state before the end of 2011.
Still it is saddening and shocking to see how fast and lethally a minor incident just over a week ago has escalated so far.
Lest anyone think I am condoning the violence by either side. I am not. I am just trying to give it context. In this regard, Amira Hass has a good article (though very badly translated) condemning those who try to defend Palestinians use of violence against Israeli civilians. The Magnes Zionist has a good article in the same vein.

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