Operation ‘Isaac’s Sacrifice’ Extends into its Second Week
By Moises Salinas, independent correspondent
Jerusalem, July 17, 2012 – The Israeli Defense Forces pounded the West Bank for an 8th straight day, while militants from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ brigade and Hamas continued firing rocket barrages against targets in Tel Aviv, the coastal plain and the Jerusalem suburbs, both sides ignoring calls from the international community to end the fighting. The UN Security Council passed a resolution, proposed by the Arab league and strongly supported by China and Russia, calling for a total embargo against Israel. The American administration of President Barack Obama abstained in the vote, but failed to veto the resolution, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped.
In the meantime, the European Union issued its strongest condemnation ever of the Israeli government, supporting the UNSC call for sanctions leading to a boycott, amid massive demonstrations on the streets of Paris, London, and other European capitals.
The current conflagration exploded last week, but started when the government of former Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas collapsed two years ago due to the failure to gain any significant concessions through negotiations. Radicals within his own Fatah party forced him to resign. Palestinian spokesman Muhammad Al Kasasi said: “it is clear Israelis only understand violence. Every significant concession, from Oslo to the Gaza withdrawal, came as a direct result of an intifadah. Resistance is clearly the only way.”
After the resignation of Abbas, the Palestinian factions on the West Bank began to emulate the strategy of their Hamas counterparts in Gaza, firing makeshift rockets towards Israel largest population centers. Israel has retaliated with increased force, clamping down on the occupied territories, until a week ago when a rocket hit a kindergarten killing 4 young children. The outrage that followed resulted in operation “Isaac’s Sacrifice,” or HaKedat Itzhak in Hebrew, that has resulted in the deaths of at least 3,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian sources and human rights groups.
The international community has largely condemned the disproportionate nature of the operation, and most ambassadors from Latin American and Asian countries have been called in by their governments for consultations.
Developments in Europe seem to indicate that Israel will soon be totally isolated, and except for lukewarm support from the United States, it will most likely become a 21st century’s South Africa. Arab Nations have circulated a petition in the UN General Assembly calling for the creation of a single, bi-national state as “the only realistic solution to the Zionist apartheid” that seems to be gaining wide support among non-aligned countries.
Still, the Netanyahu government appeared defiant, and declared that there is clearly no partner on the Palestinian side for peace. Netanyahu said that “Nothing less than the survival of Israel is at stake, and therefore we will meet attacks from the Palestinian terrorists with even greater force.”