Israeli warplanes attack Gaza presidential compound, as the Gaza 'diet' continues
Israeli fighter jets have been roaring forbodingly, and with great intensity, over Gaza's skies all morning. So we figured it was only a matter of time before an aerial attack ensued. Predictably, we soon heard two consecutive powerful explosions that rocked the city-again we wondered, sonic boom or bomb attack? Since we could hear the jets roaring beforehand we could only assume it was a real attack.
The local radio stations and Palestine TV confirmed this: Mahmud Abbas's presidential compound was under attack. Israeli F-16s bombarded Abbas's helicopter launchpad/runway which is located near his office in the presidential compound in Gaza City, and another location in northern Gaza that security forces use to train.
Hospitals reported two injuries.
So the question becomes, why would they attack the presidential compound? Most certainly, there are no Qassam rockets being launched from there.
One explanation is simply because they can. It is a demonstration that no one is immune-not even the president or his security forces.
Another explanation I have heard is that the Israeli administration wants to give Hamas a "small taste" of what is to come if they absorb the National Security forces into the the Ministry of the Interior (currently under the President's control) as they proclaimed they might do this morning.
No matter what the reason, this attack represents a serious escalation on part of Israel that can be likened to the attacks and eventual isolation and "irreleventaization" of Yasir Arafat and his Muqatta compound in Ramallah.
Because obviously that was a successful strategy, so why not repeat it. *sigh*.
All this is happening as Israeli forces once again shut down the al-Mintar commercial crossing, in line with Dov Weisglas's "diet but don't kill" policy (let in just enough food to sustain them until the next round of shortages) despite UN please and warnings that Gaza could face a humanitarian disaster as bad as the one in Kosovo.
According to the World Bank, if there is no dramatic change, 75 percent of Palestinians will be below the poverty line within two years (there is already that amount at or just above the poverty line). The current rate is 56 percent, compared to 22 percent in 2000.
UPDATE: Following the aerial attack, Israel resumed pounding areas of northern Gaza with tank artillery shells, killing a Palestinian man and injuring and several members of his family, including a mother and her 6-month old baby, after Israeli tanks shelled civilian areas in northern Gaza.
Has Gaza now become the new Ramallah Muqata? Is it perhaps the entire Strip, rather than just the compound, that is being confined to "irrelevancy"?