The Palestinian press is raising the possibility that Israel may be trying to provoke a response with a recent large spate of “targeted killings.” From the International Middle East Media Center, Feb. 10:
Ongoing Israeli Assassinations by Missile said to be ‘Baiting’ Palestinian militants
While the Israeli government refuses all contact with the future democratically elected Palestinian government, it has returned to its policy of assassination, targeting alleged Palestinian terrorists without trial or formal accusations, killing 13 this week in aerial missile attacks.
This week, Israeli forces have conducted 6 separate missile attacks, resulting in the deaths of thirteen Palestinians, mainly in the Gaza Strip.
In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli aircraft fired on a car Sunday, assassinating twenty-seven year old Mohammed Abu Sharyia and twenty-four year old Soheel Baker. Five bystanding children were injured, and three of them were transferred to a local hospital. Medical sources say that two of them, a six and seven years old, remain in a serious condition.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, an Israeli undercover unit killed thirty-two year old Ahmed Sulieman Raddad, shooting at least fifteen bullets into his head, right shoulder, and hand. According to medical sources, the soldiers prevented ambulances from entering the area before the military units withdrew.
Thursday midday, one man was killed and another critically injured by a barrage of tank fire in northern Gaza.
Leaders of the armed wing of the Hamas party, which won a majority of seats in Jan. 25th elections, have urged restraint from their membership in the face of ongoing Israeli provocation. Other, non-Hamas affiliated armed resistance groups, have claimed responsibility for firing several homemade Qassam shells from Gaza into Israel, and two Palestinians were killed trying to attack an Israeli military base on Thursday.
In an article by the Palestine Monitor, commentators note, “These assassinations will most likely be followed by Palestinian reprisals, deepening the cycle of violence. But this is worse than a simple continuation of unjust policy. These targetings occur within the context of the not-yet-formed Palestinian government navigating the rocky terrain of international aid while trying not to rebuff its mandate from the Palestinian people. The government must likewise fill the gap left by Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues, a policy acting Prime Minister Olmert has committed to for the future. Israel is doing all it can to increase the disorder–and the violence–in the transitioning Palestinian territories.”
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