As Israel bombs Gaza again, there are talks of a summer war in Lebanon

**Update June 4, 2015 from Richard Silverstein’s Tikkun Olam Blog

IDF Chief of Staff Promises 1.5-Million Lebanese Refugees in Next War

Israel’s chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot told Israeli media that his forces were preparing for the next war with Hezbollah. He promised that when (not if) it happens, Israel will force 1.5-million Lebanese to flee for their lives while it invades the country and destroys it in worse fashion than it did in 2006 (the last time Israel came knocking). Israeli media only identified the source of this threat of war crimes as a “very senior IDF source.” But an informed Israeli source confirms that it was none other than Eizenkot himself.

Main Article

Israel is bombing Gaza again this week after reporting rockets were fired at Southern Israel.

Ma’an News Agency reports that the Arab League condemned Israel’s attacks

The Arab League condemned the Israeli air strikes.

“The extremist Israeli government is trying to find pretexts to divert the international community’s attention from resuming (peace) negotiations,” Arab League deputy head Ahmed bin Heli told reporters in Cairo.

Wafa reports on Israeli airstrikes in several cities in Gaza.

There were no reports of any casualties.

Yesterday, Israeli media sources said a projectile which was fired from Gaza exploded in an open area near the port city of Ashdod, some 20 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip.

It said that there was no damages reported, but medical services said a 15-year-old girl from Ashdod arrived at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon suffering from shock, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. There was no immediate claim of responsibility in Gaza for the rocket launching.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli army issued a statement saying it had struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities in the southern Gaza Strip, and blamed Hamas for the rocket fire.

The Guardian reports that Hamas arrested members of Islamic Jihad who were behind the attacks but

An Islamic Jihad spokesman was not available to comment. Hamas officials had no comment on the reported arrests.

returning to my role as media critic, this is blatantly wrong from The Guardian

The region has been largely quiet since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that halted seven weeks of fighting.

When you follow the daily news from Israel and Palestine even casually, you see how wrong that is immediately.

News happens every day that is not reported, even within the country, because like in the US when it’s Muslims who are the victims of white Christian violence, that is not considered “terrorism” by our news media standards

Israeli soldiers regularly shoot at Palestinian fisherman, and that is never reported in the West as violence.

Egyptian forces injured a Palestinian fisherman with live fire on Monday, shortly after two other Gazan fishermen were shot and injured by Israeli forces earlier in the day for allegedly leaving the designated fishing zone.

Israeli forces also reportedly opened fire on boats Sunday.

Restrictions on fishing zones off the coast of the Gaza Strip have been heavily enforced by Israeli forces as part of a blockade imposed on the strip since 2006, as forces repeatedly opened fire on Palestinians on land and at sea, confiscated fishing boats and equipment, and detained fishermen.

March alone witnessed a total of 35 incidents of shootings and incursions into the coastal enclave according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Israel agreed to expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast as part of last summer’s ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, however fishermen are regularly prevented from fishing within the agreed limits.

It is only when Palestinians retaliate that the media pays attention.

In contrast to The Guardian reporting that “The region has been largely quiet since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that halted seven weeks of fighting” Ma’an News Agency reports that

Tuesday’s rocket was the third fired from Gaza since the ceasefire, in addition to two mortar bombs reportedly fired at Israel since September, according to the Shin Bet internal security agency.

The UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) released a report Monday saying the ceasefire that ended the latest war remains “perilously fragile.”

While Palestinian armed groups have test-fired around 150 rockets into the sea, Israeli forces have carried out a range of military incursions into the coastal enclave, including two air strikes, the report said.

Gaza-based Israeli watchdog Al Mezan documented Israeli forces opening fire in the border areas inside of the Gaza Strip six separate times during the first ten days of May, leaving four injured including one child.

Wednesday’s air strike was the third since the end of the 2014 war.

While Israel is bombing Gaza there is another war that is being talked about, a summer war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, possibly to strike a death blow to the Iran nuclear deal being reached by the P5 + 1

Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council just wrote in Huffington Post that

There are signs Israel may be at war again this summer. This time, not with Hamas in Gaza but with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Such a war may be the result not only of spillover from the Syrian war or ongoing Israeli-Hezbollah tensions. The deciding factor may be an Israeli calculation that war will shift momentum in the U.S. Congress decisively against the pending nuclear deal with Iran — a deal that critics say will increase Iran’s maneuverability in the region, including its support for Hezbollah.

In spite of AIPAC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Saudis and some of its GCC allies having done everything they could to kill the pending nuclear deal with Iran, they have failed. The negotiations are on track.

continued

a case for a war with Hezbollah has been made in Israel for the past few months. On May 12 the New York Times reported that Israeli is preparing for “what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle with Hezbollah.” An Israeli official added in comments to the Times: “We will hit Hezbollah hard.”

The Israelis argue that Hezbollah is engaged in a massive military buildup, and that Israel is publicizing Hezbollah’s armament “to put the problem on the international agenda in case there is another conflict.” According to the Israeli military, Hezbollah now has the capacity to hurl 1200 rockets a day at Israel.

Israel has been pushing this angle for several months. In February, 28 US lawmakers came to Israel’s aid and wrote the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon,demanding that the UN stop Hezbollah from rearming. The letter accused the UN of failing to enforce resolutions, including one that requires the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.”

Then I saw (via Uprooted Palestinians) that Press TV reported on a conference in Beirut of Islamic Scholars aiming to unite against Israeli aggression

Islamic scholars from around the globe participating in a conference in Lebanon’s capital Beirut have underlined the need for the Muslim world to unite against Israel, saying the Zionist regime has launched an open war on Muslims.

Participants, both Sunnis and Shias, at the International Union of Resistance conference in Beirut on Wednesday discussed ways to promote unity and solidarity in the Muslim world and focus on the problems facing the Islamic world. They highlighted the cultural and religious commonalities among Muslim countries and stressed the need for them to set aside their differences.

The organizer of the event, the International Union of Resistance, was formed in the Lebanese capital last year to create a unified front in the face of the Israeli threat in the strategically important region of the Middle East.

continued  

On January 8, 2015, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas called on all Islamic states to stand by the Palestinian nation in its struggles against Israeli atrocities.

We are seeing Israeli attacks against Gaza right now, and we may see another war in Lebanon, but the true goal may be broader than any stated goals.

Israel has been playing up fears about Iran’s nuclear ambitions for decades, despite Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment for energy, and their long history of not wanting a nuclear weapon, even at the height of the 8 year long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

But efforts to keep the Middle East nuclear free were squandered once again as we found out when Netanyahu thanked Obama and Kerry for blocking an Egyptian proposal at the UN review conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty (NPT) (UNODA)

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, thanked the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear arms ban at a United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday.

continued

A month-long review conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in failure on Friday, over disagreements on the issue of a Middle East atomic weapons ban. Washington blamed the failure on Egypt, which in turn blamed the US, British and Canadian delegations.

Netanyahu spoke with Kerry “to convey his appreciation to President Obama and to the secretary”, a senior Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

“The United States kept its commitment to Israel by preventing a Middle East resolution that would single out Israel and ignore its security interests and the threats posed to it by an increasingly turbulent Middle East,” the official added.

Israel also thanked Britain and Canada for joining the US in blocking consensus at the conference, the official said.

Last month, Egypt, backed by other Arab and non-aligned states, proposed that the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, convene within 180 days a regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as called for at the 2010 NPT review meeting.

Ban voiced disappointment that NPT parties were “unable to narrow their differences on the future of nuclear disarmament or to arrive at a new collective vision on how to achieve a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMD)”.

According to Egypt’s proposal the conference could take place with or without Israel’s participation, and could be held without agreement on an agenda or discussion of regional security issues – two of Israel’s conditions for participating.

Israel neither confirms nor denies the widespread assumption that it controls the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Israel, which has never joined the NPT, agreed to take part in the review meeting as an observer, ending a 20-year absence.

The call for a 2012 conference on a regional WMD ban, approved at the 2010 NPT review meeting, infuriated Israel, though it eventually agreed to attend planning meetings. The 2012 conference never took place, which annoyed Egypt and other Arab states. Egypt’s proposals, western diplomats say, were aimed at pressuring Israel.

Washington and Israel say Iran’s nuclear programme is the real regional threat.

Iran says its programme is peaceful. It is negotiating with world powers to curb it in exchange for lifting sanctions.

Israel has said it would consider joining the NPT only once at peace with its Arab neighbours and Iran.

But according to The Forward, quoted by Lobelog, while Israeli political leaders are “worrying” about a nuclear Iran, IDF fears Hezbollah more, showing more signs of agreement with Trita Parsi’s reporting that there are rumors of a war in Lebanon this summer.

one key group of experts doesn’t buy into that threat assessment: namely, the heads of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The Forward’s J.J. Goldberg reported on Tuesday that:

Israel’s military General Staff and intelligence services are in the midst of a series of formal discussions focused on just the opposite assumption: the likelihood that the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers could minimize the Iranian threat for an extended period, allowing the military to redirect budgets and resources toward areas of more immediate concern. The discussions are chaired by the deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Major General Yair Golan, under the supervision of the chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot.

And what does keep the IDF awake at night? “[The] likelihood of renewed flare-ups within the next few years with the heavily armed Islamist militias on Israel’s northern and southern borders, Hezbollah and Hamas,” reports Goldberg.

What keeps me up at night is Israeli and American misguided foreign policy that creates the enemies it tells us to fear…. 

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