Cast Lead Déjà vu as Israel won't rule out Gaza op

Israel’s refusal to rule out a new operation in Gaza has raised the specter of a re-run of the assault which killed more than 1,000 Palestinians three years ago. Fresh violence has seen one Palestinian killed and dozens wounded in 24 hours.

The warning came from Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in an address to journalists in Moscow on Friday.

"I do  not think  that  a state  is prepared  to  put up  with  the reality where  the past  five years  saw 12,000  rockets fired  at  its south,” said Lieberman. “We do not want to aggravate what is happening in the region, but we must be capable of defending our territory,"the head of Israeli diplomacy explained.

However, what looks like an incipient campaign is putting more innocent lives in the firing line, as RT’s Mideast correspondent, Paula Slier, reports.

Early on Friday, a male civilian was killed and conflicting reports suggest from 13 to 25 others, women and children among them, were injured in Israeli air strikes in Gaza, a Palestinian health official told AP. According to rescue services, Israel launched three air strikes against Hamas training facilities, one of which reportedly set a nearby house on fire, killing an elderly man. Fire and shrapnel are also reported to have damaged other houses. Gazan officials say another air strike targeted a Hamas training facility in the south of the Palestinian strip, but no casualties were reported.

An earlier round of fighting erupted on Thursday when an Israeli air strike targeted a car close to a crowded park in Gaza. Two Palestinian men who Israel said were planning attacks on its civilians and soldiers, were killed.

According to the information received by RT’s Paula Slier, the two dead men appear to be high-ranking members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, killed by an unmanned Israeli drone. Palestinian medics at the scene say their bodies were burnt beyond recognition, and a number of passers-by were also badly injured. Various factions in Gaza are now calling for further retaliation against Israel. Fearing an escalation in Israeli attacks on the area, Hamas has warned its members to keep a low profile and remain extremely cautious.

The Israeli military confirmed it had carried out an air strike.

A prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas which saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit swapped for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners was viewed by many as a breakthrough in the troubled relations between the two sides. But as RT’s Paula Slier reports, the resumption of violence is causing many to highlight an inconsistency in Israeli policy.


­Professor Hani Al-Basoos of the Islamic University of Gaza says Israel strikes at Palestinians with no respect for international law

“The Israeli army has targeted the Gaza Strip many times. I think it’s their continuous policy – to keep the situation as it is, to kill as many people as they can in the Gaza Strip.”

Al-Basoos believes this is not the way to deal with Palestinians, even if they are responsible for the deaths of the Israelis.

The professor told RT, “the Israeli army has killed thousands of Palestinian people – and no one has convicted them; they haven’t been tried.”

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