Israel Gets Into The Demolition Business

by Dish Staff

One of Israel’s air strikes in Gaza this weekend leveled an entire apartment building:

The Israeli military said that it destroyed the building because it contained a Hamas command center, though spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner “could not immediately specify which floor, or floors, of the building were the targets in the attack, or whether the intention had been to destroy the whole tower,” according to the Times. Residents denied that Hamas had been working out of the building. Residents said they received an alert from Israel 20 to 30 minutes before a drone dropped a “warning” rocket on their home. A warplane filled with non-warning weapons arrived shortly after. Text messages, voice mails, and leaflets distributed by Israel also warned that it would target anything “from which terror activities against Israel originate.”

Israel hit several other targets in Gaza over the weekend, including two homes and a commercial center. Ten Palestinians were reportedly killed in those attacks.

Netanyahu is now preparing his public for a war that continues into next month. A new ceasefire proposal may be in the offing, though that won’t be much comfort to the 106 Palestinians or the four-year-old Israeli child killed in the exchange of fire since the previous truce broke down last Tuesday:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel would not be worn down by persistent rocket fire, warning it would hit any place from which militants were firing, including homes. His remarks came as the air force stepped up its campaign against rocket fire, bombarding a 12-storey residential block. But by early Monday, there was increasing talk about a possible new ceasefire agreement which would see the delegations return to Cairo to resume discussions on an Egyptian proposal to broker a more permanent end to the violence.

“There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month,” a senior Palestinian official said in Cairo. “We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal,” he said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Another Palestinian official said Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo within 48 hours.

Meanwhile, a new poll of Gazans has come out that illuminates the attitudes of the people who, in Israel’s view, abdicated their status as noncombatants when they voted for Hamas:

More than 90 percent of Gazans surveyed thought that resistance was either “well prepared” or “somewhat prepared” for the Israeli assault, and more than 93 percent opposed the disarmament of Palestinian militant groups, which Israel has said is a condition of any long-term truce. At the same time, despite an Israeli assault that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians — overwhelmingly civilians — in the last six weeks, nearly 88 percent of those surveyed also supported a long-term truce, and another 10 percent supported an unspecified “medium-term” truce. …

The poll also surveyed opinions in Gaza regarding the Syria-based Wahhabi militant group Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which Israeli leaders have repeatedly referenced in their offensive against Hamas. More than 85 percent of Gazans surveyed, however, said they oppose the group.

That last finding is particularly salient in light of the new propaganda meme Netanyahu has been pushing:

Max Fisher takes down that facile comparison:

The two groups are totally distinct. It’s not just that there is no known connection, operational or otherwise, between Hamas and ISIS, although there isn’t. They ultimately follow very different ideologies: Hamas will talk about Islamist extremism, but it is ultimately a Palestinian nationalist group first and foremost, one that is fighting to establish its vision of a Palestinian state. One of Hamas’s most important supporters historically has been the government of Iran, which is actively fighting against ISIS in Syria, where it has been sending arms, money, and men. If Hamas and ISIS were really the same thing, then presumably Iran would not fund one half of the group and then send Iranians to die fighting the other half. And Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal publicly rejected any Hamas-ISIS comparison.

ISIS, on the other hand, comes from the same ideological strain as al-Qaeda, a jihadist movement called Salafism, which rejects the idea of nationalism and seeks a pan-Islamic caliphate. Even within Gaza, the Palestinian territory that Hamas rules, there is sometimes-violent tension between Hamas and the local Salafist groups that follow something more akin to the ISIS worldview.