Gaza, Occupied Territories (TFC) – After weeks of provocation, one of the Palestinian resistance groups launched a solitary rocket into Israeli territory. The attack injured no one. Israel responded by launching a series of attacks from American-made F-16 fighters on military and civilian targets in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Force has stated that it will hold Hamas responsible for the attacks, even though their intelligence, Israeli news, and our reports say that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was behind the attack. The collective punishment is a clear violation of international law.
Yesterday began with the news that yet another Palestinian child had been struck by an Israeli settler’s car during a hit and run incident. It was the third such “accident” in less than a month. That was followed by news that a Palestinian in the West Bank was beaten and shot by a group of men suspected of being Israel settlers. Tensions are already elevated because of the orders to construct new Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory and the continuing news of a hunger striker who is now in his 24th day of a diet of only salt and water. Then the news came out that the United States will be increasing its subsidy of the Israel military by $300 million, which will further arm the military that has only used its weapons against Palestinians in recent memory.
All reports indicated and sources on the ground still believe that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a single rocket into Israeli territory. The rocket produced zero injuries. Shortly after being questioned about the collective and punitive nature of their response, Israel began to float the story that it was an experimental Hamas rocket that landed near the city of Ashdod. Israel is likely sensitive to accusations about violating international law after a number of soldiers came clean about their war crimes during last summer’s war.
Israel responded to the attack by launching a series of assaults on the people of Gaza. Western readers should remember that the Palestinians in Gaza are unable to evacuate because Israel has walled in the entire region to create the largest open-air prison in the world. While the Israeli media is stating that only four military targets were attacked, sources on the ground state that well over 4 attacks occurred.
Farms East of Rafah, close to Gaza’s previously destroyed international airport, were hit by three missiles. Four missiles were launched at a legitimate military target near Rafah that was said to house resistance fighters, however civilian homes and buildings were damaged during that attack. Two more missiles struck south of Khan Younis and caused property damage but no casualties. The target of that attack is unknown. An unidentified number of missiles struck homes near the an-Nada Residential Towers, northwest of Gaza City. The Israelis launched a joint ground and air attack on a legitimate military target west of Rafah. That target was the home of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. West of Khan Younis, two more locations run by al-Quds Brigades were also attacked. Then a fourth al-Quds location in northern Gaza was targeted.
Not a single Hamas facility was targeted, though in an attempt to cover up the punitive nature of the attacks, the Israelis are now blaming the attack on the best-known group. This is a clear example of media manipulation by the IDF. Not just were there many more strikes than the four being admitted to, the media is passively complicit in blaming the attacks on the wrong group.