As Gaza endures its 4th day of intense bombing from Israeli F-16s, V58 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, UAVs and warships, please take the time to look at these websites and read these key articles:
Mohamed Majdalawi, Palestinian, Jabaliya camp, photos and thoughts
Omar Ghraeib, Palestinian from Gaza website and photos
Jenny Graham: Irish in Gaza
Israel provoked this violence and according to some Israeli commentators its goals are to escalate pressure for war with Iran and to drag Hamas away from diplomacy and back into violence.
Sunday’s victims of the Israeli bombing included Ayoub Useila, 12, of Jabalya refugee camp, whose seven year-old cousin was injured, and Adel al-Issi, 52, a farmer near Gaza City. Others suffered horrifying injuries, as recounted by doctors at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
On Monday, another 5 people were reported killed, and dozens more injured, bringing the reported total of dead to 23.
…This weekend’s attacks have followed a typical pattern. Israel launches a lethal attack knowing full well that Palestinian resistance factions will respond. It then uses the response—dozens of rockets falling on Israel rarely causing injuries or damage—as the very pretext for continued bombing. Israel also claims to have shot down several dozen incoming missiles using its US-subsidized “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.
…Israel’s routine policy of executing Palestinians in occupied territories without charge or trial, based on flimsy allegations made by the killers themselves, is a major violation of international humanitarian law and makes a mockery of Israel’s claim to be a “democracy” by any possible measure.
…In Haaretz, Gideon Levy undercut the official propaganda, that extrajudicial executions—“targeted killings”—are ever justified, let alone in this instance:
Who started it? The IDF and the Shin Bet security service did. The impression is that they carry out the targeted killings whenever they can, and not whenever it is necessary.
…“Mowing the lawn”
Perhaps the most chilling explanation of why Israel was bombing Gaza came, again, from Yaakov Katz in The Jerusalem Post:
the IDF is using this as an opportunity to do some “maintenance work” in Gaza and to mow the lawn, so to speak, with regard to terrorism, with the main goal of boosting its deterrence and postponing the next round of violence for as long as possible.
So 12 year-old Ayoub Useila is not even an animal. He’s just part of a “lawn” of faceless nameless Palestinians, to be bombed into submission as routinely as an Israeli settler on stolen West Bank land maintains his suburban-style yard and swimming pool.
…“The escalation in Gaza is good for Israel”
So given all this, why has Israel decided to kill people in Gaza for no discernible reason? According to Bar’el in Haaretz it has everything to do with Israel’s effort to build support for an attack on Iran:
Advocates of a strike on Iran couldn’t have hoped for a more convincing performance than the current exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza. “A million Israelis under fire” is only a taste of what is expected when Iran’s nuclear project is completed. When that happens, seven million Israelis will be under the threat of fire and nuclear fallout.
This is what happens when “only” the Islamic Jihad fires Grad rockets, when Hamas stays out of the fight, and when the “miraculous system” that prevents missiles from falling on kindergartens still works. Under the threat of a nuclear Iran, miracles won’t help, and people in Tel Aviv will also be forced to hide in bomb shelters or escape to Eilat.
Here’s the proof: There is no alternative to striking Iran and there is no better time than the present, when the weather permits and world diplomacy is preoccupied with Syria. For Israelis, there is no better proof that no harm will come to them as a result of an attack on Iran than the performance of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which has demonstrated a 95% rate of effectiveness. The escalation in Gaza is good for Israel – that is, for that part of Israel that wants to strike Iran.
…Facts behind Israel’s rocket propaganda
Whenever you hear Israel’s tired hasbara refrain about rockets, rockets, rockets, remember to ask the question Yousef Munayyer recently asked: Why don’t Israel’s spokespeople ever tell us how many rockets, missiles and bullets Israel has fired on Gaza?
Of course the answer is because it is by orders of magnitude greater in both number and explosive power than anything Palestinian armed groups have or ever could muster against Israel. There are some data, however.
In one 18-month period between September 2005 and May 2007 in which Palestinian armed groups fired 2,700 rockets toward Israel killing four people, Israel fired 14,617 heavy artillery shells into Gaza killing 59 people, including at least 17 children and 12 women. Hundreds more were injured and extensive damage caused.
This data comes from a 2007 Human Rights Watch reported titled Indiscriminate Fire, which states in addition that:
A subsequent artillery attack on November 8  killed or mortally wounded 23 and injured at least 40 Palestinians, all civilians.
That report dates from 2007, but in the years before and since, thousands more Palestinian civilians were killed and injured in Israeli attacks, by what must be tens of thousands of Israeli munitions. This included the 2008-2009 assault called “Operation Cast Lead” and Israeli fire has been an almost daily occurrence since its end claiming many innocent lives.
And Operation Cast Lead itself was launched on the false pretext—echoed ad nauseam by media—that Palestinians were firing unprovoked barrages of rockets into Israel leaving it no choice to attack in “self-defense.” That too was a lie as Israel’s own official figures showed at the time.
As Munayyer notes, citing UN statistics:
In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 were from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.
That is why Israeli official propaganda has to be so distorted and selective.
Max Blumenthal: Israel’s bogus case for bombing Gaza obscures political motives
The Israeli army claimed that it initiated the assault on Gaza in order to kill two alleged militants who supposedly “masterminded” a brazen and deadly terror attack near the Israeli city of Eilat in August of last year. The army also claimed the two were planning a new operation.
As is so often the case, the Israeli army is lying. According to the army’s own investigation of the Eliat attack last year, the attackers were not from Gaza as Israeli government spokespeople initially claimed — they were Egyptian. The army’s investigative findings were first reported by Alex Fishman, the military correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharanoth, who had treated the earlier attempts to blame Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees for Eilat with extreme skepticism. Bloggers Idan Landau [Hebrew only], Richard Silverstein and Yossi Gurvitz also marshaled evidence shredding the army’s case against Gaza.
Finally, in November, Egyptian security forces arrested the suspected mastermind of the Eilat plot, shattering the Israeli army’s initial claims about Gazan culpability. By then, however, Israeli forces had already killed 30 Gazans in retaliation for an attack they had absolutely nothing to do with.
This weekend, the Israeli army reverted to falsely blaming Gazans for last August’s Eilat attacks, contradicting its own investigation and heaps of evidence proving the attacks were planned in Egypt and carried out by Egyptians. The army has no proof that the men it assassinated on Friday — Al-Qaissi and Al-Hannani — were involved in the Eilat attacks, or that they were planning any military operations. So in to manufacture a violent confrontation, the Israeli military simply concocted a lie that conceals what appears to be political considerations.
The renewed assault on Gaza coincided with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to Israel after days of discussions in Washington with President Barack Obama about Iran’s nuclear program.
…Almost as soon as he limped back to Jerusalem in frustration, Netanyahu gathered with his generals to gin up a case for pounding Gaza. The Gaza Strip, with its warehoused population of stateless refugees, would serve as their punching bag and pressure release valve. They could not have their war on Iran — not yet, at least — but they could assault Palestinians in Gaza without fear of repercussions from Washington.
FROM DR. MONA El FARRA in Gaza: Urgent Appeal from Gaza
As the Israeli army continues its military attacks against the Gaza strip those attacks that started since Friday 10th of march at 5:30 pm and continue targeting Palestinian resistance men. Those offensive acts are illegal according to international law, every human is entitled a trial, and assassination act is illegal while resisting occupation is legal according to international law
Usually the entire civilian population, includes women and children, and pay a large price and take the brunt of this situation. Our concern is the lack of medications and supplies, and if the operation continues, the number of causalities will increase; the toll is 16 dead and 30 injured until this minute.
[update: 23 killed and at least 77 injured, including life-threatening injuries]
The Gaza population already lives under a devastating humanitarian situation, while the occupation continues, and the internal conflict is not solved, and the governments of the world are silent. And indifferent.
We at the RCSG, appeal to the international community, and to our friends and supporters to spread the word,make the pressure on your governments, to stop these attacks soon.
The humanitarian situation in GAZA is on the verge of collapse, the military attacks continue, while we lack electricity, and our medical facilities and hospitals have exhausted the amounts of fuel to operate the alternative generators. We have insufficient medications, 186 basic medications are lacking in our pharmacies and drug stores, beside the insufficient medical supplies, children in the special care baby units are in great danger, as well as renal dialysis patients, cancer patients are dying unnecessary, while unable to have their treatment, diabetic and asthmatic patients, as well as many chronic illness patients, those who needs their medications regularly cannot get it, the list is too long to mention.
Please act immediately to stop this attack against Gaza population. You have been always great supporters and showed your solidarity, at the most difficult times.
Mona ElFarra, Vice president
Red Crescent Society for Gaza strip
Ali Abunimah posted these videos: