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Out to Kill: Israel’s assault on Gaza is not to stop rocket fire 

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A Palestinian girl stands in a destroyed building following an Israeli military strike in  Gaza City on July 08, 2014. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMSMAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian girl stands in a destroyed building following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 08, 2014. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMSMAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

Will the Israeli air strikes, and even a threatened ground invasion, end rocket fire from Gaza?

According to the Israeli Government’s own website, “Since the start of Operation Protective Edge [ July 7 to July 14], 971 rockets have been launched at Israel. 754 of those rockets hit Israel, and approximately 201 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he will use ‘any means necessary’ to stop Islamic militant group Hamas from bombing civilians. Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross speculated that Netanhayu’s goal is “to restore calm, not dismantle Hamas,” according to a report on Fox news.

The same Israeli Government web site reports on July 14 that Israel has targeted 1,470 “terror sites” in Gaza from the air and sea since the offensive began.

Well, has it worked? Is rocket fire stopping? Actually, just the opposite:

Just as happened during the 22 day air and ground attack on Gaza in 2008-2009 and during the 8 day aerial attack in November 2012, the massive bombing of Gaza that began on July 7 resulted in a massive increasein rocket fire from Gaza.

What put a stop to the rocket attacks back in 2009 and in 2012 was when the Israeli government agreed to a cease fire. A cease fire has been the one method that has reliably worked to stop rocket fire. It is also the one method Netanyahu has not tried in 2014–yet.

Numbers from another Israeli government web site and from the web site of a right wing Israeli think tank, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), tell the story:

On average, 42 rockets struck Israel each day during the Israeli government’s 22 day attack (925 rockets hit Israel total) in 2008-2009. That number is 1200 times higher than the rate at which rockets had been hitting Israel during the cease fire in place before Israeli forces launched an attack that killed 6 Hamas members in Gaza on election day, November 4, 2008. The Israeli Government’s fatal violation of that extremely effective cease fire ended the cease fire and brought on the heavy rocket fire from Gaza.

During the 2008 lead up to Operation Cast Lead, the Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said “the recent waves of rocket attacks are a result of our operations, which have resulted in the killing of 20 Hamas gunmen” (Ynet News November 20, 2008).

When Ehud Barak acknowledged that he was out to kill Hamas gunmen, for once an Israeli government official told it like it is. He acknowledged that rocket fire was an expected result. The purpose of the 2008-2009 onslaught he directed was certainly not to stop rocket fire. Rocket fire was stopped before the assault on Gaza began. When the killing was done Israeli government officials agreed to a new cease fire, and that stopped the rocket fire the killing had produced.

The next major onslaught on Gaza was in November 2012. On average, 105 rockets struck Israel each day during the Israeli government’s 8 day attack (845 rockets hit Israel total). The cease fire that followed was superbly effective. The number of rockets went to zero for months after the cease fire that ended that onslaught went into effect–despite occasional shootings of Palestinian farmers and fishermen by Israeli forces.

Now in July 2014, on average 108 rockets have hit Israel each day during the first 7 days of the Israeli Government’s current attack on Gaza (754 rockets have hit Israel from July 7 to July 14). This daily rate is 1600 times higher than the rate at which rockets were hitting Israel in May, just two months ago. That nearly rocket-free month was just before Israeli forces launched their three-week long raids on the West Bank in retaliation for the June 12 kidnapping of three settler teens. Then came the Israeli government’s escalation on July 7 when its forces killed 6 Hamas members in a tunnel in Gaza.

According to the right wing Israeli think tank, the ITIC, that compiles data on rocket fire:

In response to the deaths of its operatives in the tunnel, Hamas significantly increased its rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel and used longer-range rockets. On July 7, 2014, 120 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, 60 of them during the evening. Hamas said in a statement that the rocket fire included long-range rockets used to attack the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod, Ashqelon, Yavne, Netivot and Ofakim. Several Israeli civilians sustained minor wounds and damage to property was reported. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted more than ten long range rockets. A considerable number of the rockets were fired by Hamas’ military-terrorist wing.

So much for the idea that the Israeli government’s assaults on Gaza stop rocket fire.

Certainly, the Israeli government does have a strong hand on the dial that controls the rocket fire. But it does not work as Israeli spokesman advertise. The facts show that the Israeli government dials up rocket fire by attacking Hamas members in the West Bank and Gaza and by bombing Gaza. The Israeli Government has shown that it can also dial down rocket fire: by observing a cease fire. If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means what he said Sunday about using ‘any means necessary’ to stop Hamas rocket fire, he knows what works: stop the assault on Gaza.

The data published on the Israeli Government and ITIC websites show time and again that attacks on Hamas members in the West Bank and Gaza produce an increase in rocket fire. Each time a wave of rocket fire followed fatal attacks inflicted on Hamas by Israeli government forces. And each time that rocket fire persisted until a new cease fire was in place.

The facts do not just pose a public relations problem and a credibility problem for Israeli officials. They also pose a legal problem. The facts about rocket fire published on its own web site mean that the Israeli government cannot rely on self-defense to legally justify any part of its onslaughts.

If not to stop rockets, what could the motive for these onslaughts be? One realistic possibility is that the purpose of the onslaughts is to do exactly what the massive attacks on Gaza did do and are doing to Gaza, its families, and their property.

James Marc Leas

James Marc Leas is a past co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee. He collected evidence in the Gaza Strip from November 27 to December 3, 2012 as part of a 20 member delegation from the US and Europe and co-authored several articles describing findings. He also participated in the National Lawyers Guild delegation to Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in February 2009 and contributed to its report, Onslaught: Israel’s Attack on Gaza and the Rule of Law.

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24 Responses

  1. Kay24 on July 14, 2014, 11:34 am

    “If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means what he said Sunday about using ‘any means necessary’ to stop Hamas rocket fire, he knows what works: stop the assault on Gaza.”

    First and foremost, Netanyahu does not mean what he says. He may lie, or twist facts to support Israel’s violence. He does not want to stop the assault on Gaza – the world begs him to stop, because 77 percent of those he is massacring are civilians. Does he feel remorse or shame? He has forgotten that democracies do not behave violently in such out of control fashion. He is like so like Assad now, brutally killing civilians.
    There has been much provocation and brutal actions against Palestinians from the Israelis, in the hopes of triggering some kind of violent response from them, in anger.
    Bibi is also fuming that the world was open minded to the Palestinian unity government.
    This is a small minded man, with a big ego. Apparently Israeli officials and the press knew the 3 kids who were kidnapped were already dead, but it gave this war monger, the opportunity to collectively punish, and ruthlessly destroy Palestinian property, arrest anyone who looked like Hamas, and made innocent Palestinian endure his wrath.

    The Real News – ““Israeli Government and Press Knew Teenagers Were Dead For Weeks”

    • crone on July 14, 2014, 11:57 am

      …”He is like so like Assad now, brutally killing civilians.”

      This statement is propaganda… misinformation. Here’s article at antiwar dot com debunking the lie.

      “… As Sen. John McCain has repeatedly yelped, “The fact is Bashar Assad has massacred 100,000 people.”

      Actually, he hasn’t. According to SOHR data cited by Micah Zenko and Amelia M. Wolf of the Council on Foreign Relations, “most of the reported deaths in Syria have not been committed by forces under Bashar al-Assad’s command.” see link

      and another debunking:

      NGO Propaganda: Who is Behind the Massacres in Syria? Avaaz Spreads Media Disinformation

      Avaaz, which presents itself as an alternative media and an independent voice, is part of a corporate public relations campaign. Avaaz will report on civilian casualties in Syria without mentioning the influx of US-Saudi sponsored terrorists.

      • Kay24 on July 14, 2014, 12:52 pm

        I think Assad was deliberately demonized in the US, so that the American people would support US and Israel training rebels, to oust him.
        They demonized Saddam Hussein accusing him of having WMD’s, and Gaddhafi too. Iran was also demonized, but no axis of evil talk coming from washington or the media right now, because we are trying to broker peace with them (how the narrative changes when it suits us).

        That said, I think Assad is not a saint. In the fog of war, we don’t know who the criminals are, and they may all be criminals, the rebels we arm and train have shown disgusting war crimes too.

        I am not talking numbers here, but what Israel is doing, killing off without any conscience, innocent civilians, while refusing to give them their rights, and wielding power over them, sounds like a brutal dictator clinging to power, and refusing people their freedom.

      • Citizen on July 14, 2014, 5:21 pm

        All factions in ME, as well as all foreign governments outside the ME, are completely involved in divide and conquer, either directly or by proxy. The only clear winner in this free-for-all in the oils-rich ME has been Israel and the 1% super wealthy investment class around the world, most especially big banks.

    • Walid on July 14, 2014, 12:05 pm

      “… and ruthlessly destroy Palestinian property, ”

      Kay, what these horrible people didn’t destroy, they simply stole. This has been talked about in Arabic circles for weeks but for some reason, the Western press didn’t make anything of it. Last week, EI wrote it up and the total value of their thievery was about $3.5 million; an excerpt from the article with interesting graphics:

      “… On 7 July, the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights published a report compiling all incidents of confiscated private property and money. In addition to taking the equivalent of $370,000 in cash, the Israeli army seized 93 computers, as well as telephones, cars and buses worth a total value of $2.9 million.

      Euro-Mid Observer is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices throughout the Middle East.

      “Organized robbery”

      Euro-Mid Observer’s investigation found that the confiscations occurred without a judicial warrant and without proper notification to the families. “In other words,” the report states, “they were conducted like an organized robbery.”

      In nearly sixty separate incidents, Palestinians reported having their houses ransacked, with valuable gold, cash, jewelry, electronics and vehicles seized, according to the report.

      On 2 July, Israel announced that the campaign, dubbed Operation My Brother’s Keeper, was “completed” after the bodies of the three Israeli teens were found in Halhoul, near Hebron.

      The report’s findings suggest that pillage is yet another war crime that Israel appears to have committed during the campaign.

      International law prohibits the destruction or theft of property in a military conflict. Euro-Mid Observer reports that the seizure of money and private property is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the pillage of or reprisal against civilians, particularly people under military occupation. Euro-Mid Observer also asserts that the widespread confiscation of property violates the Geneva Convention’s prohibition against collective punishment.”

      • Kay24 on July 14, 2014, 1:23 pm

        They have a very sadistic tendency, to make those who suffer, feel even more pain. This is inhumane behavior, befitting savages, who attack, kill, plunder and loot. They know very well that these are the precious belongings of the Palestinians, who do not have the world’s super power showering them with aid. This is rubbing salt into an open wound, the hall mark of Israel’s military occupation. These are terrorists in uniform.

      • Walid on July 14, 2014, 3:19 pm

        Kay, Israel’s stories about its thievery never end. It’s either that the pay in the IDF is so low that the soldiers are reduced to having to steal or it must be something in the genes of some of them. Here’s another story from last Christmas Day that was posted here by Kate. It details what happened after a Palestinian’s home was raided, ransacked and robbed by IDF soldiers wearing masks. Apparently the soldiers had raided the wrong house as described on Yesh Din blog by Yossi Gurvitz :

        “… Soldiers break into the wrong house at night, go on a rampage – and make off with a woman’s savings from 15 years of work

        One night in early September (2013), the members of the Kavajeh family in Tarqumiya were woken by IDF troops breaking into their house. According to the despicable custom of the last few years, some of the soldiers wore ski masks; before our apathetic eyes what used to be the premier line of fashion among criminals has become common military attire.”

        and after they left, the family inspected the damage:

        … “We began moving around the house and saw the horror.” The contents of the cupboards had been spilled, and the soldiers had thrown bedding, clothes and equipment onto the floor. The kitchen was the real calamity zone: the soldiers made certain to spill the flour on the floor, mix the sugar, the lentils and the salt together, poured the tahini into the kitchen sink, and, finally, broke the eggs. But as the family members finished examining the results of the small green storm that passed mistakenly through their home, the real disaster was discovered: the savings of one of the family members, Thahani, had been stolen. These were two gold bracelets and a gold ring. Thahani had saved the money to buy the jewelry from working in a seamstress shop since 1998. Fifteen years of savings. Fifteen years of painstakingly gathering, day by day, an ounce of meager pay

        …Fifteen years of savings. Fifteen years of painstakingly gathering, day by day, an ounce of meager pay. A slow collection culminating in 65 grams of gold, each one of them worth 60 Jordanian Dinars, each Dinar the equivalent of about $1.7 USD. Fifteen years of savings left Thahani with some $8,005 USD; a bit more than $385 USD a year, or $1.25 USD a day. This was Tahani’s portion of all her labor. Now it lies in the pocket of a soldier. Looting is a war crime. It is defined as such in the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

  2. crone on July 14, 2014, 11:44 am

    The Court Trial of Bibi Netanyahu

    By Juan Cole

    Dark Satire: Irony alert

    Prosecutor: “Justices of the International Criminal Court, I shall demonstrate to you that this man (points at detained Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu in orange jump suit and manacles at accused table) is guilty of serious breaches of international law and not just of war crimes but of a pattern of systematic war crimes over time. As you know, such a pattern amounts to crimes against humanity. He is also guilty of the crime of Apartheid, which is itself a crime against humanity according to the United Nations.”

    Lead Justice leans over his elevated desk. “Proceed, counselor.”


  3. Citizen on July 14, 2014, 11:44 am

    “U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross speculated that Netanhayu’s goal is “to restore calm, not dismantle Hamas,” according to a report on Fox news.”

    You can be sure with Dennis Ross that all is exactly contrary to what he tells us. You don’t need Finklestein to tell you (although he has) Bibi’s strategy is to murder the moderate Palestinian unity government as Israel needs a militant terrorist enemy to cover what it does to the natives and steal ever more of their land.

    Why is this guy Ross given so much influence? Will somebody parse that? The guy has been nothing but a Zionist opportunist in everything he does, yet he keeps getting recognition as an objective player. What the f**** is wrong with US government options relative to foreign policy in the ME? We surely don’t need Dennis Ross. Oh, that’s right, this is S.O.P in America, where Bolton’s walrus mustache and Zionist hasbara fills our air waves. Or, how about Schumer the used car salesman smiler?

  4. HarryLaw on July 14, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Walid, theft is the least of the crimes these murderous scum commit, as well as targeting civilian houses they also target water and sewerage systems, collective punishment on a horrifying scale Abbas, first item on the agenda, sign on at the ICC or get out of the way.

  5. steveinjakarta on July 14, 2014, 1:06 pm

    I was watching the World Cup Final early this morning and couldn’t really enjoy the game knowing Israel deliberately targeted innocent civilians at a beach cafe watching the World Cup.

    FIFA should ban Israel from the World Cup. The failure of Mainstream Media to allow them to get away with this so lightly are a disgrace to journalism.

    I don’t even bother watching BBC News anymore.

    If anyone knows about getting a petition started/organised please let me know.

  6. just on July 14, 2014, 1:38 pm

    CNN Immigration Topic: Gloria Borger and David Gergen speak with Wolf and from the beginning he brings up the Holocaust… and the St. Louis…and the Kindertransport.

    and Wolf can’t let it go, seemingly trying to justify the murder of Palestinians. Not one Palestinian was responsible for the horrible Holocaust.

    • Kay24 on July 14, 2014, 1:53 pm

      Well I suppose they are now getting the idea that Israel’s massacre of mostly civilians, has made the world p-d off at Israel, and that Israel is not winning any sympathy by pretending to be the victim here. It is almost pathetic to see ole Blitzer trying hard to impress the viewers. I had a good laugh, when I saw him ducking down on the road just now, behind a car door, and it turns out a weak hearted young IDF female member had passed out on the road, he suggested she could not take the stress (that was funny considering her team were the brutes who were inflicting so many casualties on the other side, and they have not seen any deaths yet). Oh the drama from Wolfie. As for the mention of the holocaust; yes it seems the Israelis are subconsciously blaming the Palestinians for their ills. Totally unfair.

      • MHughes976 on July 14, 2014, 1:58 pm

        I think that a book has just been published saying that the Holocaust was all (or at least to a significant degree) the idea of the notorious Mufti, presumably fully authorised by the brutish cohorts of his pretended homeland.

      • DICKERSON3870 on July 14, 2014, 2:07 pm

        RE: “I think that a book has just been published saying that the Holocaust was all (or at least to a significant degree) the idea of the notorious Mufti . . .” ~ MHughes976

        SEE – “Christian Zionism: The Root of All Evil?” ~ By Tammy Obeidallah, The Palestine Chronicle, Aug 16 2010

        [EXCERPT] . . . Not only do Zionists distort biblical history, they spread lies about more modern events as well. Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolph Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel. Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favored by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”. . .


      • MHughes976 on July 14, 2014, 3:13 pm

        Well, they’ve not given up. The authors of the new book are Rubin and Schwanitz. It was mentioned by Robert Fisk in the Independent last week.

  7. DICKERSON3870 on July 14, 2014, 1:57 pm

    RE: Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross speculated that Netanhayu’s goal is “to restore calm, not dismantle Hamas,”

    By the way, y’all, I’m the new messiah.
    Really, I am, y’all.
    How dare y’all doubt me!
    How dare y’all!
    How dare y’all!
    How dare y’all!

    P.S. ● ROSA LUXEMBURGH (postmodern music, French group, entire CDs) –

  8. justicewillprevail on July 14, 2014, 5:02 pm

    Quite agree about the failure of Israel to stop to rockets, supposedly its raison d’etre, but it is a very convenient cover (as is the bogeyman of Hamas whose supposed power is relentlessly promoted and exaggerated by Israel). Israel plays the long game – the gradual ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, the removal of basic resources – land and water, the crushing of the economy, the obliteration of institutions of statehood, the push into enclaves surrounded by military guards. Gaza is the advance guard of this policy, the only conclusion possible is that the long term aim is to render Gaza literally unable to support life – why else destroy water, sewage, electricity services, target mosques, schools, hospitals, police stations, stop fishing, steal land for ‘military’ barriers, and so on and on. Killing innocent people just reinforces the message and intent. The UN, I believe, said that Gaza will be unable to support its population in a decade or so, thanks to the pollution of the water supply, a service eagerly further degraded by Israel’s refusal to let equipment through, and more destruction of the already inadequate supply. It is a scorched earth policy, the equivalent of ground zero. But of course, it will all be the sole fault of the impoverished, trapped Palestinians, cut off from all humanity by the tyro aggressor and their pitiless genocidal policies.

  9. Citizen on July 14, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Netanyahu is on Fox Fox now, the Five show, telling us we need to stop negotiating with the devil, Iran. The Five all parrot his view, as Nuke deadline nears. Bibi “puts into context what Israelis are going through now.” HAMAS drones came from Iran. Iran wants more, not less nuclear enrichment. Give Israel B1 bombers to attack Iran. US/Israel must take out Iran. Iron Dome is worth every US penny as Israelis are under threat. We should be a willing participant and partner with Israel. Dumbest thing US did was lift sanctions on Iran. Horse is out of the barn. It’s not Israel’s fault it’s better at military destruction than HAMAS. The Five’s regulars are all Gentiles except for one, Gutman. These The Five are selling pure hasbara with witty, smiling, snide, blithe faces. Americans are lapping it up. Disgusting.

    • Mooser on July 15, 2014, 1:28 pm

      Citizen, please, I beg you on arthritic knees, stop watching Fox. You’ll be happier, digest your food better, and there’s still plenty of places to get the news, and you can find out what Fox says from Media Matters.

      • DICKERSON3870 on July 15, 2014, 9:44 pm

        Well, if Citizen is determined to monitor Fox (faux) News (actually, it is far-right propaganda mixed with low-brow infotainment), he should at least have his local Mental Health Service’s “Crisis Line” on speed-dial.
        Just in case!
        Personally, I would need to be very heavily medicated in order to watch/listen to Fox (faux) News for more than a couple of minutes. Fortunately, thanks to the Bush/Cheney administration’s foray into Afghanistan to vanquish the Taliban, Afghan heroin is now widely available at “dirt cheap” prices. Well done, Bush/Cheney!

      • Citizen on July 16, 2014, 9:42 am

        I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, but I also monitor Fox’s competition, especially MSNBC. I’m just fascinated–keep wondering if these talking heads believe what they say or just mouth it for their career’s sake. Are they that cynical? Reminds of when a boxer throws a fight, or wins one clearly and the opponent is declared the winner, or watching a horse race and the host narrating the action is telling the audience what’s not happening on the screen.

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