Israel marks 5th anniversary of Operation Cast Lead with air strikes on Gaza
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of its brutal Operation Cast Lead, Israel launched a series of attacks on the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, injuring at least two people. One of the injured has been identified as Salem al-Asi, aged 41 years.
The targets included the Al Nafaq Street in Gaza City, which has barely recovered from being submerged by flood-waters during recent storms, adding further suffering for the already-reeling residents.
Thursday’s attacks follow hard on the heels of Israel’s killing of three year old Hala Abu Sabikha whilst playing in her yard. Hala’s aunt and other relatives were also injured when an Israeli tank fired three shells at the family home.
Israeli Human Rights organisation B’Tselem condemned that attack. “Deliberate firing at a home occupied by civilians, without its inhabitants having been given any prior warning and without the military ensuring that the civilians have vacated the premises, as appears to be the case in this situation, is unlawful,” they reported.
In response to what is a clear war crime, rockets were later fired from Gaza into Southern Israel, which according to Israel’s own military reports, “fell in open areas, causing no damage or injuries.”
But in blatant contravention of proportionality of response, Israel then launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza population.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israeli forces have killed 4 civilians near the Gaza Strip border fence in 2013, and wounded 55, including 12 children.
Rockets from Gaza have not killed or injured any Israelis in the same period, although one Israeli citizen, Bedouin labourer Salah Abu Latif, 22 was killed by sniper fire last week. The Palestinian Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for that shooting.
During Operation Cast Lead, some 1500 Palestinians were killed by Israel, while there were only 13 Israeli deaths, four of them from ‘friendly’ fire.
Operation Cast Lead also ushered in a new era in the use of prohibited weaponry, such as white phosphorous and depleted uranium, for which Israel has still not been held to account in the international arena.