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Hamas Military Chief Killed in Isreali Airstrike

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Jerusalem - Ahmed Al-Jabari - the strongman of Hamas, the head of its military wing, the man responsible for the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit - was assassinated on Wednesday by Israeli missiles.

Why? Israel's government has declared that the aim of the current strikes against Gazais to rebuild deterrence so that no rockets will be fired on Israel. Israel's targeted killings of Hamas leaders in the past sent the Hamas leadership underground and prevented rocket attacks on Israel temporarily. According to Israeli leaders, deterrence will be achieved once again by targeting and killing military and political leaders in Gaza and hitting hard at Hamas's military infrastructure. But this policy has never been effective in the long term, even when the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was killed by Israel. Hamas didn't lay down its guns then, and it won't stop firing rockets at Israel now without a cease-fire agreement.

When we were negotiating with Hamas to release Mr. Shalit, members of the Israeli team believed that Mr. Jabari wouldn't make a deal because holding Mr. Shalit was a kind of "life insurance policy." As long as Mr. Jabari held Mr. Shalit, Israelis believed, the Hamas leader knew he was safe. The Israeli government had a freer hand to kill Mr. Jabari after Mr. Shalit was released in October 2011. His insurance policy was linked to their assessment of the value of keeping him alive. This week, that policy expired.


Passing messages between the two sides, I was able to learn firsthand that Mr. Jabari wasn't just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. Mr. Jabari enforced those cease-fires only after confirming that Israel was prepared to stop its attacks on Gaza. On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas's deputy foreign minister, Mr. Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.

The goal was to move beyond the patterns of the past. For years, it has been the same story: Israeli intelligence discovers information about an impending terrorist attack from Gaza. The Israeli Army takes pre-emptive action with an airstrike against the suspected terror cells, which are often made up of fighters from groups like Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees or Salafi groups not under Hamas's control but functioning within its territory. These cells launch rockets into Israeli towns near Gaza, and they often miss their targets. The Israeli Air Force responds swiftly. The typical result is between 10 and 25 casualties in Gaza, zero casualties in Israel and huge amounts of property damage on both sides.

Other key Hamas leaders and members of the Shura Council, its senior decision-making body, supported a new cease-fire effort because they, like Mr. Jabari, understood the futility of successive rocket attacks against Israel that left no real damage on Israel and dozens of casualties in Gaza. Mr. Jabari was not prepared to give up the strategy of "resistance," meaning fighting Israel, but he saw the need for a new strategy and was prepared to agree to a long-term cease-fire.

This war is being presented in Israel, once again, as a war of "no choice." The people of Israel are rallying around the flag as would be expected anywhere in the world. The United States government has voiced its support of the Israeli operation by stating, "Israel has the full right to defend itself and protect its citizens." It certainly does, but we must ask whether there is another way to achieve the same goal without the use of force.


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A new wave of hatred towards Palestine is sweeping through Israel from public figures to the man on the street. This hostility is in sharp contrast to efforts in Cairo, where Arab leaders and Western diplomats are trying to hammer out a peace plan.

While Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) official Nabil Sheath expressed hope Sunday night that negotiations would continue, very different noises were coming out of Israel.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Operation Pillar of Defense would continue and likely be expanded, a reference to the possibility that a ground offensive has already been given the go-ahead.

The war in Gaza "must be so painful and difficult that the terror groups will not think twice but a hundred times before they fire missiles against Israel again," it was reported inThe Israel National News.

"Destroy and damage infrastructure, public buildings and government buildings. We must make sure that Hamas will be spending many years rebuilding Gaza, and not attacking Israel," he continued.

A few days ago he said, "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, only then will Israel be calm for the next 40 years."

His words were relatively mild compared to some of the comments that have been coming out of Israel in recent days.

Journalist, Gild Sharon, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in an editorial in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday called for Gaza to be flattened like the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.


© AFP Photo/Brian Hendler

Gilad Sharon, son of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"We need to flatten all of Gaza. The American's didn't stop with Hiroshima - the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough - so they hit Nagasaki too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they'd really call for a ceasefire," ranted Sharon.

As the former Prime Minister's son publicly urged the military to wipe Gaza off the map, a member of the Knesset and the National Unity Party, Michael Ben-Ari, called for Israeli soldiers to kill Gazans without thought or mercy.

"There are no innocents in Gaza, don't let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives - mow them down!" it was reported on the Hakol HaYehudi website.

He also told soldiers to ignore Goldstone; in reference to the UN commissioned Goldstone report on Israel's 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, which found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Israel Katz, the country's transport minister, has called "for Gaza to be bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt." While Avi Dichter, the minster of home front defense, has urged the IDF to "reformat" Gaza - to wipe it clean with bombs.


© AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana

Jewish Orthodox supporters carry their rabbi Yaakov Yosef after his release following questioning by the Israeli police in Jerusalem.

Even religious leaders joined the fray, with a prominent Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, the son of former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron blessed IDF soldiers while urging them "to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy."

The Syrian army has come under widespread international criticism for indiscriminately shelling and bombing whole civilian areas.

Incitement to kill by Israeli rabbis is nothing new. In 2007 Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad, urged Israel to kill a million Palestinians to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.

Regular Israeli citizens have also taken to the streets to almost gleefully express their racist hatred of the inhabitants of Gaza and other Arab states.

A group of Israelis demonstrating in Tel Aviv on Thursday night shouted "They don't deserve to live, they need to die", "May your children die" and "Now we want to go back there [Gaza] and kick out all the Arabs".

While anti-war voices exist, they are in a minority and much of the population is firmly behind it.

Journalist Patrick Cockburn observed during a visit to Israel during the 2008-2009 attack on Gaza the siege mentality of Israeli society.

"Israeli society reminds me of the Unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960's or the Lebanese Christians of the 1970's. Like Israel, both were communities with a highly developed siege mentality, which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people."

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Interestingly, after the Balfour Declaration, the Muslims (and Christians) in Palestine objected to the idea of a mandate for a Zionist state located in Palestine, and they did so without the use of violence. This continued largely even after the British Mandate for Palestine following WWI, when they actually started pumping Jews into Palestine like Botox.

Sure seems like being peaceful and talking about stuff worked out for them! Talking and negotiations only work when the other side views you as actual human beings and not sub-human filth unworthy of attention.

Palestinians committed many acts of violence during the British mandate, mostly towards Jewish settlers who came into palestine. They were never non violent. And it was they who viewed the Jews as beneath them. Their religion ingrained that belief into them. If those people immigrating to Palestine to get away from Hitler had been fellow muslims, then Palestine/Israel would be a forgotten place. But since they were the hated Jews, they had to be resisted violently. No doubt the Jews did some things that were wrong, like buying land from Arab landowners who didn't reside in Palestine and then evicting the tenants. But that isn't illegal and even happens in the US. That doesn't excuse reacting with violence.

One of the earliest incidents of violence between Jews and Arabs in the Palestinian mandate was the battle of Tel Hai when Bedouin forces engaged in a conflict against the French in syria attacked a Jewish settlement in the upper Galilee area. The settlements had existed before the Balfour declaration and were established during the time of the Ottoman's. The Bedouins had been harrassing the residents in the area for sometime believing that there were french spies among them. The Jews attempted to maintain neutrality, but were eventually attacked by Arab/bedouin forces anyway. 8 Jews were killed, and their community was burned to the ground. This incident is generally considered the first act of violence in the Arab Israeli conflict. The first of many btw and the vast majority of the early incidents were initiated by the Palestinian muslims. This comes from "One Palestine Complete by Tom Segev

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Anyone taking sides in this is simply retarded imo. Everyone is here discussing what's right and wrong while ignoring the fact that this has nothing to do with what's right or wrong...it's about power and always has been. The people of Israel and Palestine are the losers. Trying to paint either side as justified (or even sane) is ridiculous.

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Yeah...firing rockets indiscriminately into populated territories (even killing their own) and blowing up buses is completely comparable to the audacity of missile defense systems knocking out incoming rockets.

I'm tired of stupidity.

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