A NEW war between Israel and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip ‘is not far away’, and ‘will be deadlier and more destructive than any previous’ offensive, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post on July 12.
The Military Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, ‘has already approved operational combat plans and recently set up an administrative unit to handle the formation of a list of potential targets in the coastal enclave for when the next war breaks out,’ the Post reported.
‘Ammunition and weapons have been re-stocked with four times the amount as before the last war, and military intelligence has hundreds of targets ready,’ the paper added.
Hamas has meanwhile condemned reactionary remarks made by a member of its political bureau, Fathi Hammad, saying his comments ‘do not reflect the official stance’ of the movement.
Hammad sparked outrage on Friday when he told diaspora Palestinians: ‘You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, God willing.’
Hammad made the remarks while addressing Palestinian protesters who gathered for the weekly Great March of Return in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In an official statement yesterday, Hamas stressed that Hammad’s remarks ‘do not reflect the movement’s official stance or its policy, which states that our struggle is only against the Israeli occupation, which occupies our land and desecrates our holy places.
‘Our struggle is not with Jews elsewhere or with Judaism as a religion,’ the movement reiterated, saying it ‘has condemned and continues to condemn any attacks against Jews and their places of worship around the world.’
Hamas also distanced itself from Hammad’s comments about the Great March of Return, which has taken place every Friday since 30 March 2018.
Hamas stated: ‘The Great March of Return is a peaceful, popular demonstration.’ It added: ‘The national consensus that the march is popular and peaceful does not give the Israeli army the green light to target and kill these peaceful protesters.
‘We call on the Palestinian people to participate in the activities organised by the Higher National Committee of the Great March of Return.
‘We reiterate our appreciation to all mediators, above all our Egyptian brothers, for their endeavours to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to achieve national Palestinian unity.’
Since the Great March began over a year ago, Israeli forces have killed 309 Palestinian protesters, among them 59 children. A further 32,000 Palestinians have been injured, over 7,700 of whom were hit by live ammunition fired by Israeli snipers, according to statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt).
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman for the Gazan Health Ministry, said last Friday that 33 protesters had been injured by live fire during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests on that day alone.
He added that Israeli forces had inflicted different types of injuries on 22 other protesters. The rallies have been held every week since March 30 last year. The Palestinians demand the right to return of those driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression.
In March, a United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces committing rights violations against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza were committing war crimes. Israel has now launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.
The latest Israeli attacks come amid a ‘relatively calm’ period along the fence after a ceasefire brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the UN came into force between the Israeli regime and Hamas in May.
Both Hamas and the Palestine National Authority have condemned the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and have rejected the ‘deal of the century’ that would expand Israel and leave the Palestinians crammed into a ‘Bantustan’.
The Palestinian movements are in fact uniting and must have the support of the working class, particularly in the UK and the US, for establishing the state of Palestine where Muslims, Jews and Christians will be able to live peacefully side by side.