Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gaza Under Attack: Israeli Military Assassinates Hamas Leader in First Salvo of Bombing Campaign

The Israeli military launched a campaign of air strikes against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip November 14 by assassinating the head of the Palestinian group’s armed wing.

Ahmed Al-Jabari, the head of Hamas’ Qassam military brigades, was killed when an Israeli jet dropped a bomb on a car he was traveling in along with another man, whose name is not yet known.

The Israel Defense Forces announced that the assassination was the beginning of “Operation Pillar of Defense,” a campaign targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another armed group in Gaza.

The New York Times reports [3] that Al-Jabari was “the most senior official of the group to be killed by the Israelis since their invasion of Gaza four years ago.”

After the assassination, the Israeli Air Force continued to pound the Gaza Strip with air strikes, leading to the deaths of more people, including a one-year-old baby, according to a French photographer [4] on the ground there. Gaza is home to 1.5 million civilians, half of whom are children. The Strip has endured a devastating air, land and sea blockade from Israel ever since Hamas came to power after winning elections in the Palestinian territories in 2006.

Israel has long used extrajudicial assassinations as a favored tool against Palestinian armed groups.

“Israel's latest bombing campaign in Gaza, and in particular its assassination of Palestinian leaders, highlights once again that Israel views itself as above the law,” said Diana Buttu, a former advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization, in a statement. “This is precisely why the international community, and in particular the United States, must hold Israel accountable for its provocative and illegal actions, in order to stop another bloodbath in Gaza before it happens. It is time for the world to send Israel the message that it is not above the law and the Palestinians are not beneath it.”

In response to the killing of Al-Jabari, Hamas promised to make Israel “pay a high price.” Rockets fired from Palestinian armed groups have already been shot into Israel in response, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. And like clockwork, the U.S. military has come out in support of Israel’s campaign. “We're monitoring the situation closely. We stand by our Israeli partners in their right to defend themselves against terrorism,” said a Pentagon spokesperson. [5] More

It is beyond the time that the international community stood with Palestine and Gaza against Israeli terrorism and theft of the majority of the Palestinain's territory. Editor