From The Guardian:
Or, to put it another way, the Qassam rockets have been falling on Sderot for a very long time, but they rarely cause injury. In the past month, they have severely wounded three Israeli children. As everyone knows, the rockets are 'notoriously inaccurate'. That phrase has been linked to the Qassam rockets in perpetuity.
Four Palestinian children were killed while playing football yesterday as Israel hit back at the Gaza Strip with more than 10 air strikes, after Hamas militants escalated their rocket fire into southern Israel. The deaths follow that of a six-month-old Palestinian baby, who was killed the previous evening when Israel intensified its attack on Gaza after a 47-year-old Israeli man was killed by a Hamas-fired rocket.
The surge in fighting began after Israel killed five Hamas rocket launchers, prompting the group that rules Gaza to more than double its missile attacks into Israel's neighbouring towns.
While Wednesday's Israeli fatality was the first in nine months, rockets fall on the southern Israeli town of Sderot almost daily. In February alone, three Israeli children have been severely wounded, including one who lost his leg.
The Qassam rockets are notoriously inaccurate - Hamas launched 28 yesterday and only 10 landed in Israel - but there are growing fears that the militants are acquiring an arsenal with a longer range. Israel's police said five foreign-made rockets similar to the kind that Hizbullah fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, triggering the 2006 war, landed in Ashkelon, a city north of Sderot. One of the rockets pierced the roof of an apartment building, but no one was hurt.Just because Israel's police 'said' the rockets were 'foreign-made' and were 'similar' to the ones that triggered the 2006 war with Lebanon, that doesn't make it true. It also doesn't justify Israel murdering innocent Palestinian civilians. Israel decided to start the war with Lebanon, and Israel decided to wage a completely asymmetrical war against the Palestinians. Our 'Decider', GWB, decided to start an illegal war against Iraq. Nations wage wars. It's a decision. It doesn't just 'happen'.
So. What does Israel have to say for itself? Do they express any remorse for the innocent lives lost? No. They can only focus on their own deaths.
Whatever the hell that means. Kicking it up a notch or two, some Israelis have actually used the term 'holocaust' to describe what the Palestinians 'could bring on themselves'. No I'm not kidding.
Public pressure is mounting on Israel's government to stop the rockets, which have killed 13 since 2001. While visiting Sderot, the defence minister, Ehud Barak, said: "A solution to the Qassams will be found faster than what most people believe." But Israel refuses to talk to Hamas, because the Islamist group refuses to acknowledge the Jewish state's right to exist, will not renounce violence and refuses to adhere to previous peace agreements signed by Palestinian leaders.
Israel's attempts to thwart the militants with an eight month-long blockade on Gaza has driven the population into deep poverty, but it has failed to stop the militants' missile attacks. Pressure has been mounting for a harsher military response, yet the government is divided over how to improve the effectiveness of its military strikes. Some ministers are calling for a full scale invasion of Gaza.
"We must prepare for escalation. A large, significant and tangible ground operation. We won't flinch," Barak said in a closed meeting, according to the Associated Press. "Israel will reach those responsible, hit them in operations, and Hamas will pay the price for its activities."
But the interior minister, Meir Sheetrit, opposed a large scale ground operation, arguing that it would not put an end to the rocket fire. "This is the wrong approach and it won't lead us anywhere. We won't just go in and suddenly everything will be OK," he said, according to AP.
Instead, Sheetrit advocated an increase in the number of targeted killings of Hamas operatives. "We must not let anyone involved in the shooting stay alive."
An Israeli minister today warned of increasingly bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a "holocaust".One can only hope they are loath to commit holocausts.
"The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defence minister, told army radio.
Shoah is the Hebrew word normally reserved to refer to the Jewish Holocaust. It is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi extermination of Jews during the second world war, and many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other events.
The minister's statement came after two days of tit-for-tat missile raids between Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army. At least 32 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the surge in violence on Wednesday.
..."It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice," Vilnai said, referring to the large-scale military operation he said Israel was preparing to bring a halt to the rocket fire.The psychopath will always blame the victim for 'making me do it'. Just so, Vilnai describes how Israel is reluctantly but inexorably being forced by the Palestinians to smash Gaza into smithereens. "We have no other choice." Of course, they can wait for better weather. They'll use that time to put the finishing touches on their plans. But remember, they have "no other choice".
"We're getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we've used a small percentage of the army's power because of the nature of the territory."
Israel would not launch a ground offensive in the next week or two, partly because the military would prefer to wait for better weather, defence sources said. But the army had completed its preparations and was awaiting the government's order to move, officials said.
Seriously. Sderot is just a ratty little village, but Ashkelon is a whole other pail of worms. Ashkelon has great sports facilities and a beach, and a population of 120,000. Israel can't allow rockets to fall on one of it's cosmopolitan centers. That would be out of bounds.
Also please note the arrival of three US warships in the eastern Mediterranean, and a visit next week by the Princess of Darkness, Condoleeza Rice.
Until now, the Palestinian rocket squads have largely targeted Sderot, a small town near Gaza. Ashkelon, a big population centre only 25 miles from Tel Aviv, was caught unprepared, its mayor said on Friday.
"It's a city of 120,000 people, with large facilities – a huge soccer stadium, a basketball stadium and a beach. No one is ready for this," Roni Mehatzri told Israel Radio.
Right. "Because they have no choice." That, my friends, is what we call a Big Lie. Make no mistake. When they start the next war, it will be a war of choice. They will start it when they choose, they will kill whoever they choose, they will take whatever they choose, they will say whatever they choose, and so on.
There were further indications that Israel was preparing for an offensive by sending confidential messages to world leaders, including the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who plans to visit the region next week.
"Israel is not keen on, and rushing for, an offensive, but Hamas is leaving us no choice," the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, told the senior figures, according to Israel's mass circulation daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.
Security sources were quoted by both Israel Radio and army radio as saying a big operation was being prepared but was not imminent.
But you, Citizen, you don't have to believe them. You can choose to see the Truth.