Crossfire War – Israel Stages Large Offensive into Gaza Strip

Crossfire War – Jerusalem – Beirut – Cairo Watch – West Asia Theatre: Jerusalem – Beirut – Cairo – Sderot/Khan Younis – Gaza City – Ramallah – Damascus – Riyadh – Teheran; Israel Stages Largest Attack – Incursion into Gaza Strip Since Hamas Victory – Response to Continued Rocket Fire

Night Watch: KHAN YOUNIS – “There is activity in the northern Gaza Strip and the southern Gaza Strip in the area of Khan Younis.” That was a quote from an Israeli military spokesman as he described Israel’s large scale raid with tanks, bulldozers and artillery fire into Gaza City and Khan Younis in the south in response to continued rocket fire by Islamic militants, especially the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad. Israel has denied reports air strikes were also taking place though an Apache helicopter was seen flying low in the area.

For more than a year the Al-Quds Brigades have fired more Qassam rockets than Hamas. Al-Jazeera reports, according to Israel Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, Jerusalem is taking “preventive measures” to prevent more rocket attacks, which are still mostly directed at Sderot and the oil terminal north of Gaza, Ashkelon on the Mediterranean. Raid Faanuna, one of Islamic Jihad’s local leaders was killed east of Gaza City. [ALJAZEERA]

An Islamic unit connected to Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades were also hit by Israel’s attack. Twelve Palestinians at least are known to have been killed and dozens wounded. There is no internal Palestinian infighting to distract Hamas and other militant groups from attacking Israel from Gaza or from the West Bank.

With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas content to only complain about Israel’s offensives, as he supports Hamas behind the scenes, the way is now open for Teheran-Damascus to use the many Palestinian extremist-suicidal groups to their fullest extent, either against Israel, Mubarak in Egypt or Siniora in Beirut. Teheran-Damascus have for years always intended to use the Palestinian situation and its constant disputes with Israel as a vanguard and flashpoint for Islamic radicalism.

Decades ago an analyst on West Asia admitted the Palestinian displaced situation has always been used as a “political football” by governments in the region, especially Islamic governments, ever since 1948.

Now of course it is Teheran using them and Iran has armed them like never before, which will give Jerusalem no other choice but to invade and occupy not only the Gaza Strip but also the West Bank. And that will cause this year’s war to have much more of an impact than last year’s, not to mention the fighting that has erupted and is continuing in north Lebanon, fighting that is intended not just to remove Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora but also the European forces in UNIFIL.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.