Renewed Violence in Holy Land
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was back on the front pages this week after renewed violence in Gaza and southern Israel left 27 dead and nearly 100 injured.
The escalation of ever-present tensions in Gaza and southern Israel began last Friday, March 9, when Israel carried out the targeted assassination of Zuheir Al-Queisi, secretary general of Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committee (PRC), a group Israel and the United States designate as a terrorist organization. Israel blamed the PRC for launching the August 2011 attacks in southern Israel that killed eight Israelis. At the start of his weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said one of the targeted PRC leaders “was in the midst of planning another attack that was directed at our southern border with Egypt.” In response to the assassination, Gazan militants from several factions launched rockets into southern Israel, which according to the IDF’s official blog, put one million Israeli citizens in harm’s way.
Militants launched over 200 rockets in four days. Isreal’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 56 projectiles and diminished the impact on many of the country’s population centers. However, 10 Israelis were injured in the rocket fire. Gazans were also living in fear as the Israeli Air Force dropped missiles on several targeted sites, killing at least 25 Palestinians and injuring 80. The IDF admits four of the casualties were civilians. The semi-offical Palestinian news service Ma’an News reported that Israeli forces killed “a number of Islamic Jihad fighters, as well as civilians including a teenager, a 12-year-old boy, an elderly man and his daughter.”
On Tuesday, Egypt brokered a vague truce between Israel and the militant groups. The constant barrage of rockets from Gaza became dramatically more sporadic; though Israel targeted two militant sites on Thursday, Gazan militants responded with only two rockets. Nobody was hurt in the latest exchange of fire, though rocket fire has not completely subsided.
Click here to continue reading this CMEP Bulletin, including the following items:
- Violence highlights tensions within Gaza
- Israeli political calculations
- International reaction
- "Christ at the Checkpoint" conference
- "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians"
- Palestinian villages risk losing power
- Register for CMEP's 2012 Advocacy Conference