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Israel to Palestinians: We'll stop shooting if you do
Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that Israel was willing to stop attacks on Gaza if the Palestinians stop firing into southern Israel. "If they stop firing at our communities, then we will stop firing. If they stop firing altogether, then there will be quiet," Barak said in an interview on Israel Radio.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned shortly afterward that the converse was also true. "Our policy is clear. If attacks against Israeli civilians and Israeli soldiers continue, the response will be very harsh," he said before the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday.
Barak's offer comes after a particularly intense few days of hostilities following a Hamas rocket attack on an Israeli bus that left a teenager critically wounded on Thursday.
Netanyahu said Sunday the victim, Daniel Wiliech, "is fighting for his life. We, along with the entire nation, pray for him."
Israel responded with a series of strikes on Gaza that has left at least 18 people dead, the largest number since a major Israeli incursion into the territory in 2008-2009 in response to Palestinian rocket attacks.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas Saturday called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League in the face of the upsurge in violence, according to the official Palestinian news agency.
Palestinians fired nine mortars and rockets into Israel Sunday morning, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said -- a significant drop from the level of the past few days.
On Saturday, the Israeli air force struck and killed three Hamas personnel in southern Gaza, according to both the Israeli military and Palestinian medics.
The Israel Defense Forces said the people were a senior Hamas military wing leader and his two bodyguards.
In another incident, a Palestinian man died of wounds in an early evening airstrike in the Zeitoun area of Gaza City.
Rosenfeld said about 42 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel on Saturday, including 10 longer-range Grad rockets, but no injuries were reported.
The military put the number of rockets and mortars fired Saturday at 50. It said aircraft and armored forces targeted 11 squads of "terrorists" in the northern and southern Gaza Strip and 15 "terror activity sites," including "terror infrastructure sites, Hamas outposts, smuggling tunnels and weapons manufacturing and storage facilities."
The three-day death toll in Gaza includes at least 10 militants and eight civilians.
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack on a civilian bus "crossed the line" and that "whoever tries to hurt and murder children will have no immunity."
In a Friday letter to the U.N. Security Council, Riyad Mansour -- Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations -- charged Israel with using "indiscriminate and excessive force" and asked for the world body to intervene to "prevent the slaughter of more innocent civilians."
A Hamas official vowed Saturday to widen the scope of the group's attacks on Israel if Netanyahu did not agree to halt airstrikes on Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri blamed Israel for the surge in violence and said Hamas would do what was needed to protect Palestinians in Gaza.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, told reporters in Gaza City on Saturday that his group would continue to wage a fight until Palestinians cast off the Israeli occupation and wrested away their lands.
He said it was impossible to speak about any sort of calm between Hamas and Israel while there was aggression being committed against the Palestinian people.
Israeli officials have cited various precautions to avert casualties. They include early warning systems, road closures near the Gaza border and the use of bomb shelters, police spokesman Rosenfeld said.
The Israeli military said Saturday that its newly deployed anti-rocket defense system known as the Iron Dome successfully intercepted Grad rockets that had been fired from Gaza Friday and Saturday.
Over the past 48 hours, "terrorist organizations" in Gaza had fired more than 120 Grad missiles, rockets and mortars at Israel, the IDF said. In a statement released Saturday, the Israeli military said it "continued striking terror sites in the Gaza Strip" in coordination with Israel's domestic security agency, the Shin Bet.
Journalist Talal Abu Rahma contributed to this report.
The Snow Ball is slowly picking up paste as it rolls Down Hill
I'm not sure why, but, this issue between Israel & Palestinians isn't getting major coverage by the major media propaganda machines. Perhaps it's due to the fact that there are so many delicious subjects to cover or perhaps it's due to the fact that the world truly have become exhausted with this, seemingly, endless and fruitless and unmanageable conflict between the two entities.
I can truly understand how the later can be a possible acceptable reason.
However, I truly believe that this specific "spat" is more important to the overall "end game", with respect to the multiple types of issues that are currently taking place in the Muslim worlds.
As we all know, several foundational infrastructures that have allowed peace in to persist in that area of the world, have fallen to the demand for "democracy" by it's citizens. Egypt, being a major player has fallen, Libya is currently falling, and Syria is crumbling as I type. Each of these 3 countries play a direct role regarding the influence of the Muslim world and it's disposition of how the Muslims feel about Israel.
It's interesting to note that "Iran" has been extremely quite during these past weeks, almost as if it's waiting for the right time to initiate it's rant on Israel.
Nonetheless, the big picture on this small battle that is about to become front page stories around the world; there have been many opportunities to resolve the conflict and agree to peace.
But, when you have the bigger gun, you tend to boast and it's that exact disposition of being the big gun on the block that influence Israel to not reach some type of agreeable terms with the Palestinians. I'd describe that exact boasting behavior over the past years as "Arrogance".
Unfortunately, the fall of the foundational entities among the Muslim countries have set in place, the inevitable.
The Palestinians now know that other Muslim countries will soon start their redderick against Israel and that big gun will soon become the little gun on the block against multiple Muslim countries who will join together against Israel. The Palestinians have the momentum on their side and in due time, the list of rants against the small jewish country in the middle of a hornets nest will begin and it will be the Palestinians who will boast the "Arrogance".
Then you have the U.S., which have made "many, many, many" attempts to intercede between Israel and the Palestinians. The past 30 months have been most frustrating to include the, "un-necessary overaction" by Israel at the end of 2008, in which they attacked Palestine with the full force of their big bat for 60 days.
The World said nothing and the U.S. did nothing, primarily because Bush was leaving office, not without a purported report that Cheney informed Israel leaders that Obama would not be as loyal to the Israeli cause. Thus, Israel have been complete asses with respect to any type of influence that the U.S. have attempted to impose on Israel, to include embarrassing Mrs. Clinton.
The Arrogance of the past 2 plus years by Israel nullified any and all measures to work out some type of agreement between the two countries and now, the shoe is on the other foot. It's the Palestinians who will wield the arrogance shield and it's Israel who is in a bind.
I'm interested to see how Israel will approach the U.S. "NOW"? After thumbing their nose to the the U.S. for the past 2 years, Israel will need some support by the U.S. but, what position is the U.S. in to support Israel even if our powers were able too?
In My Opinion
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