Palestinians mark 2nd anniversary of Gaza war

December 28, 2010 - 0:0

Palestinians mark the second anniversary of Israel’s brutal war on the people of Gaza, which was launched on December 27, 2008.

The Zionist forces staged an all-out attack on the densely populated coastal territory that left 1,400 Palestinians dead, including 300 children, and injured 5,000 more.
Israeli offensive destroyed 4,000 houses in the Strip and devastated civic infrastructure completely.
Israeli forces also targeted the United Nations administered schools and social welfare centers.
More than 50,000 people were displaced as a result of the three-week offensive.
A fact-finding commission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to probe the deadly offensive found the Israeli army guilty of numerous war crimes.
A report from the committee led by former South African judge Richard Goldstone highlighted above all the premeditated bombardment of centers known to hold civilians and deliberate targeting of civilians on the run.
The 575-page document also charged Israeli forces of using Palestinian civilians, among them children, as human shields upon entering buildings suspected to be used by anti-Israeli resistance fighters.
Tel Aviv also used internationally banned weapons, including white phosphorus bombs, against the Gazans during the three-week war.
In Jabaliya, just north of Gaza City, about 1,000 people attended a rally organized by the Islamic Jihad movement to commemorate the start of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, chanting for continued “resistance” against Israel, AFP reported.
The Islamic resistance movement Hamas said it would hold its own rally later in Gaza City. The movement also announced it would plant 1,440 seedlings in northern Gaza, one for every Palestinian the group said was martyred during the invasion.
On Sunday, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, one of the resistance movements operating in Gaza, said it was prepared for a new war with Israel.
“The occupation will pay the price if they even think of carrying out an escalation in the Gaza Strip,” Abu Ahmed told mourners at the funerals of two Islamic Jihad members killed Sunday in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops.
A day earlier, members of Hamas's military wing held a news conference and also announced their readiness for war.
“There is a truce in effect in the field... But if there is any Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip we will respond strongly,” said a masked spokesman who identified himself as Abu Obeideh.
On Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Hamas “not to let the situation around the Strip deteriorate.”
Israeli army chief, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi said his troops were ready for a new confrontation if it became necessary.
“Two years after Operation Cast Lead the situation in the Gaza Strip is different and calmer,” he said at a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Tel Aviv.
“Yet, sadly, from time to time, rockets and mortar shells are fired at the Israeli home front. We will not accept this,” he added.
“We hope that the security situation in the south does not deteriorate, however the IDF (army) is preparing for any scenario.”
Despite the rhetoric, analysts said Gaza's democratically elected rulers and Israel had no real desire for a new conflict, AFP reported.
Hamas “does not want a confrontation at this stage. It is doing everything to prevent the situation from degenerating,” Amos Gilad, a senior defense ministry official, said on Israeli television.
He said Hamas wanted “to maintain the ceasefire so as to be better prepared for any Israeli offensive.”
Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Gaza's Al-Azhar University, said he believed neither side was angling for war.
“I don't think Israel wants open war with the Gaza Strip... and it wants to maintain calm on the ground,” he told AFP.
“I think what is happening is psychological warfare and threats designed to reinforce the truce and force Hamas to stop the rocket attacks from Gaza,” the professor said.
He said Hamas was flexing its muscles by allowing some rocket fire into Israel, but was largely committed to maintaining the truce.
“Hamas wants to send Israel a message by ignoring the rocket and missile fire from Gaza that it is able to retaliate against Israel if it chooses, but at the same time, it does want calm on the ground and is committed to it.”
The war ended on January 18, 2009.
Photo: Palestinian children take part in a protest in Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza, on December 27. (AFP photo)