Jacob Lynagh

Smoke Signal: Gaza Strip caught in vicious game of tit-for-tat-tat-tat…

gaza strip
Image: AAP/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

The recent kidnapping and murder of three young Israeli teenagers – Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Shaar (16) and Naftali Frenkel (16) – gave Israel the excuse they were looking for to, once again, let slip the dogs of war on the Gaza Strip.

Violence has broken out across Israel and the Palestinian territories. As the Western media continues to mourn the three Israelis, Gaza is burning under the siege of Israel’s disproportionate response and few utter a word in its defense.

On June 12, three Israeli teens were kidnapped while hitch-hiking back to their homes in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion in the West Bank. Eighteen days later their bodies were found, executed, near Hebron. The international community backed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu as he committed to enact vengeance against the “wild beasts” he claimed committed the acts. While the murders of the three teenagers were undeniably contemptible, Israel’s response has been near criminal and disastrous.

During the eighteen days that the three teens were missing, Israeli forces entered Palestinian territories numerous times, as a part of military operation “Brother’s Keeper” to arrest 350 Palestinians and kill five, including 15-year-old Mohammed Dudeen, who was struck once after an Israeli soldier targeted him with a volley of live fire.

That was not enough retaliation for Netanyahu, as once the bodies of Yifrach, Shaar and Frenkel were discovered, Israel ramped up their punishment of the Palestinian people.

On July 2, the charred body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was found in the Jerusalem Forest. Abu Khdeir was kidnapped in East Jerusalem and taken to the location of his death where he was savagely beaten by six Israelis, doused in fuel and burned alive. The event, however, remained a footnote in much of the Western media.

Within the week following Abu Khdeir’s murder, the Israeli Air Force launched a massive assault on the Gaza strip, condemned by many as collective punishment, killing many Palestinians in Gaza for the actions of a few Palestinians in the West Bank.

In just two days over 400 tonnes of bombs and missiles were dropped on the Gaza strip, hitting approximately 440 targets, including civilians’ houses. A senior military figure was quoted on Israeli radio bragging about “increasing the level of destruction in the sector.”

The death toll is currently at 169 (80 percent civilians), with  over 50 percent women and children, and 1,125 injured, although given Gaza is buried in rubble, the exact number of dead and injured cannot be known.

The carnage shows no sign of abating, with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declaring that the attacks will “intensify over the coming days“.

It seems that Israel is attempting to prove the claim that a Palestinian life is worth less than an Israeli life, in this game of tit-for-tat-tat-tat.

Jacob Lynagh

Jacob Lynagh is an Adelaide-based freelance journalist who closely follows the political and social issues of the Pacific region and Middle East, as well as the rise and fall of nationalist and anti-fascist movements. He is a Grateful Dead fan, writes about classic Rock whenever possible and wishes the sixties never ended.

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