Israel has begun the countdown to May 15

May 6, 2018

In Blog News

Finkelstein comments:  A few days ago I wrote this to several correspondents:
Trump has to renew/not renew the Iran agreement every 120 days.  It’s true that back in January 2018 he said the next renewal date would be decisive.  But Trump has not been very punctual about his own deadlines.  So why is Netanyahu investing so much in this particular deadline?  I am averse to conspiracy theories but I can’t resist this thought:  The next deadline is May 12.  The Great March of Return climaxes on May 15.  If Trump pulls out of the agreement on May 12, the media will be riveted on the fate of the Iran agreement.  It’s the perfect moment for Netanyahu to commit a large-scale massacre when Gazans attempt to breach the fence.  Netanyahu (and Israeli leaders generally) are finely attuned to the US news cycle, so this must be considered a real possibility.  Recall, e.g., that Netanyahu launched the ground invasion phase of Protective Edge the night of the same day that the Malaysian airliner was shot down over the Ukraine, when all the news cameras turned away from Gaza and towards the Ukraine.  Already as far back as 1989 during the First Intifada, Netanyahu criticized the Israeli government for not carrying out a large-scale expulsion of Palestinians while cameras shifted to the China’s Tienanmen  Square massacre.  The other possibility is, Netanyahu will carry out a large-scale atrocity or assassination of Hamas/Islamic Jihadi leaders on May 12 in order to provoke a “rocket” attack from Gaza, which will provide Israeli with a pretext to attack Gaza preempting the May 15 march.  In 2008, Israel waited until November 4, the day of the historic election carrying Obama into power, to launch the commando raid into Gaza that broke the ceasefire. No one noticed the commando raid because all the cameras were focused on Obama.  When the ceasefire broke down after the murderous Israeli provocation, Hamas was blamed.
​Today Israel almost certainly killed the six Hamas militants in Gaza just as it killed the six Hamas militants in Gaza on the eve of Operation Cast Lead in 2008.  ​It is desperately trying to provoke a violent Hamas reaction so as to have a pretext to drown the mass nonviolent Great March of Return in a sea of blood.  It is a very sad commentary that, as Gazans prepare to march into the Valley of Death in one last desperate bid to break out of the ​”​largest concentration camp ever to exist​” (Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling), the international Palestine solidarity movement is missing in action.​

Six killed by Gaza Strip blast: Palestinian Ministry of Health

Cause of blast in Deir el-Balah, which has killed six people yet to be ascertained, says Palestinian health ministry.

Hamas' military wing has held Israel responsible for the explosion [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]
Hamas’ military wing has held Israel responsible for the explosion [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]
At least six people have been killed by an explosion in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry in the Hamas-administered territory.

At least three others were wounded by Saturday’s blast, the cause of which remains unclear, the ministry said.

The explosion took place in Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza Strip, the Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.

Hamas’ military wing has said Israel is responsible for the explosion, which it said took place during a “complex security and intelligence operation”, AFP news agency reported.

Israeli officials have denied the allegation.

“The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is not involved in this incident in any way,” a spokesperson for the Israeli military said.

Saturday’s blast follows weeks of protests along the Israeli-Gaza border as part of the Great March of Return movement.

The rallies are set to culminate on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe, a reference to Israel’s establishment in 1948, when 750,000 Arabs were forcibly removed from Palestine.

Since the protests began on March 30, at least 41 Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been killed by Israeli forces and more than 7,000 wounded.