Tuesday, April 04, 2006

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"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arafat "irreleventaized" himself through his pursuit of Arafat's war (the misnamed second intifada). When the rest of the world was condeming 911, Arafat was arranging the delivery of the Karin-A and its freight of Iranian katyusha rockets. All part of his strategy of limited military confrontation.

Ironically, given the current situation in Gaza, Arafat had hoped to provoke a Kosovo-type outcome, with outside (presumably Western) forces intervening to separate the two sides. It seems he miscalculated.

The rockets now being fired from Gaza are the result of Iranian influence. Firing rockets doesn't benefit the Gazans - it just makes life worse for them. Hamas can't intervene, as they need Iranian sponsorship too. The end result will be a Gazan version of operation defensive shield.

But rocket fire - retaliation - rocket fire works well for the Iranians who want to keep attention diverted away from themselves. The Gazans have become proxies for outside interests.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Gert said...

So far no news of this event over here. Google news reports no items yet either.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gert, see

5:16 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

How you can keep the presence of mind to write...thank you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you Palestinians should try giving peace a chance. This "armed struggle" thing isn't working out, is it?

7:16 PM  
Blogger FollowJesus said...

You are very special. I am so glad that you are posting these events. I will be back to this site. In this world, every one is pointing the finger about who is right and who is wrong. We all try to justify our actions. But, there is no justification outside of Jesus.

God is Love and God Loves you. Only God can fix the situation over there.

Thank you again for letting your voice be heard. I pray for you today and everyday.

Peace to your soul today in Jesus Name.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iranians don't recognise Jesus, and they regard people who worship him in a very poor light.

You may want to Google "Abdul Rahman" to see how fundamentalist Islam treats Christian converts.

But the Gazans are between a rock and a hard place - as if things weren't bad enough, they're now cannon fodder for the Iranian regime who'll use their Islamic Jihad proxies to keep things ticking over.

It's the people of Gaza who will suffer most, but they don't count in Iranian calculations - "States have no friends. They only have interests."

9:09 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

We're praying for you, Um Yousuf.

Did you get a chance to meet George Azar (a longtime friend)?

9:58 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

No, I haven't-maybe I should email him? I did talk to his wife on the phone once (maryam?)

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure why the Palestinians are firing rockets into Israel?
What are they trying to achieve? They obviously are just giving Israel more Excuses to fire Into Gaza, What are they waiting for? Israel to go back in and "clean" up the place? Do they have a death wish??
The Kassams are no more than an annoyence to ISrael, while the response to it, is well much bigger.
I don't get it.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Military responses are usually disproportionate - the annihilation of the enemy is the traditional aim of warfare.

As the military planners say: if you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't get your planning right.

Arafat should have learned that from his long history of guerilla failures when he launched his war - but he'd misread the lesson of South Lebanon. Hence his failure, isolation and ultimate irrelevance.

So why the rockets? Why provoke a military? The only possible beneficiaries are outside powers who want attention focused on Israel/Palestine and not on them.

The Israeli establishment claimed Islamic Jihad (already ideologically close to the Iranian regime) were receiving millions in funding before the Israeli elections to carry out attacks. Mercifully, most of them were intercepted before striking. Certainly Islamic Jihad's katyusha rocket (122mm - a serious rocket) must have orginiated in Iran - just as the Karin-A shipment of katyushas did.

So will the Palestinians allow Islamic Jihad to go on provoking the Israelis? Will Hamas decided good relations with the Iranian regime is worth more than the health and happiness of the Gazans (or the risk of a confrontation with "brothers")? Will they make the same mistakes as Arafat?

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila, I am F-16 Israeli pilot e-mailing you from the cocpit. I am gonna be there in 10 minutes with a big 1/2 Ton bomb. Please get under the bed. I'll try to be careful. Sorry, will get back soon, too busy now..Stay safe..

4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just let me understand something!!!
So,they need that Israel to open the borders to get food in,but how do the rockets get there?
If they are not short on rockets,why are they short on food?
If Iran it´s supplying them on rockets,I think that they should supply them on food as well.
You should diet on ammunitions and rockets.It´s so ironic.
And they expect simpathy from Israel?

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IDF could just erase Gaza from the map if they really want to.
And the Gazans and the whole world know it very well,so what are the discussions for? What kind of ammunition they should use or not?
Nobody in Israel or IDF has interest in Johnies or Shaggys arguments.And if Sol just answer your question only to make you happy?
Nobody really cares about what you think and your arguments are not going to help anyway,so...........

10:33 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

The Qassam rockets are crude, homemade projectiles, they are not shipped in.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one in this whole disscosion has actually answered my Question, Including Laila.
Of course Israel is not using Kassams, they are using other types of bombs. Unlike the Palestinians (the parts that are firing rockets - and those letting them do it), The Israeli Army makes sure that every thing that is fired lands where they want (at least a much better accurecy - than 1 in 10).

Laila, yes the qassams are crude and "home made" - in industrial quntity at this point but they are not projectiles - they are fuled. The 2 questions in this case are 1. Where are the explosives comming from? 2. Where is the fuel comming from (why are they using recorcess that you stated about 10 posts ago you are in short supply)?

But, back to the Question, why the Palestinians are firing rockets into Israel?
What are they trying to achieve?

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qassams are fabricated out of scrap metal in Gaza - hence Israel's campaign against metal-working shops.

Propellant and the (sometimes) explosive warhead are most probably sourced from outside Gaza.

The katyushas (military issue rockets) have been smuggled in, probably by tunnel. As have the numerous automatic weapons that the various factions have.

As to why arms and ammunition are smuggled rather than food - those (along with cigarettes) are high value items. Food is bulky and shows a poor profit. The tunnels have been run as family businesses since the early 1980s, originally they smuggled cigarettes, hashish, gold and car parts - but arms are now in demand, so worth smuggling.

The New York Times quoted one tunnel worker who received $23,000 and an assault rifle for his part in digging a tunnel (the tunnel reportedly brought in 900 assault rifles, 400 handguns and 200,000 rounds of ammunition in four consignments before it was closed). Given the poverty in Gaza, it's not surprisng people risk their lives to dig these tunnels.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qassams are fabricated out of scrap metal in Gaza - hence Israel's campaign against metal-working shops.

Propellant and the (sometimes) explosive warhead are most probably sourced from outside Gaza.

The katyushas (military issue rockets) have been smuggled in, probably by tunnel. As have the numerous automatic weapons that the various factions have.

As to why arms and ammunition are smuggled rather than food - those (along with cigarettes) are high value items. Food is bulky and shows a poor profit. The tunnels have been run as family businesses since the early 1980s, originally they smuggled cigarettes, hashish, gold and car parts - but arms are now in demand, so worth smuggling.

The New York Times quoted one tunnel worker who received $23,000 and an assault rifle for his part in digging a tunnel (the tunnel reportedly brought in 900 assault rifles, 400 handguns and 200,000 rounds of ammunition in four consignments before it was closed). Given the poverty in Gaza, it's not surprisng people risk their lives to dig these tunnels.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't mean to post twice.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1134
I don't know what Laila's answer would be. But I think that after almost 40 years of direct and indirect occupation of Gaza, quite a few people hate Israel, and would use any opportunity to get back, however inaccurate and pathetic the means are.
This is not very surprising.

Since Israel has pulled out of Gaza unilateraly, and there is no central authority in charge there, these attacks are not likely to stop, whatever 'retaliation bombing' Israel will use. The fact that the Gaza economy has been brought to a halt - because of Israeli restrictions on import and export - seems to guarantee that no one in Gaza will have any incentive to stop these kassam attacks.

Perphas some of the commentators here expect Laila to go out and chase the Kassam shooters herself. I suggest that instead they think about Israel's experience in Lebanon. The reason that the Lebanese border is almost totally quiet (excpet for the yearly attack on the Shab'a area) is because Lebanon has a functioning economy and a balance of power (State-Hizbulla) which has an interest in maintaining the border quiet. Not because of Israeli bombing.

It is imperative to allow the Gaza economy to recover, and not just because of the kassams, and it is equally important to reach an understanding that will allow the PA (now Hammas ruled) to be the effective power in the strip. Without these two, there will be no quiet; the kassam will probably be followed soon by Katyushas, which are only slightly less pathetic, but have a bigger range, and we'll see more angry bombing of stupid targets like abu-mazen's helicopter landing.
(if abu-mazen has no power, then why bomb his house? because we're really-really-really angry and we have these top-of-the-range missiles and we can't just sit there, can we?)

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous who posted twice, you would be better off not posting at all. This is the only outlet where I get to hear about ordinary Palestinians. You have plenty of outlets where you can have your voice heard, including the USA Senate and The Whitehouse and Haaretz talkback and all the other outlets. One thing we aren't short of on the internet or media is the overwhelming normal Israeli viewpoint. However, the internet is a very bad medium for the Israeli viewpoint, since hopefully we will get to hear from Palestinians, and those who naively support Israel will get to see the general Israeli attitude towards Israeli-Arabs and others and maybe start wondering if they can really relate to their attitude.

your country (if you are Israeli) was founded on terrorism. Ask the British.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Israel/Lebanon border isn't completely quiet either. Iran (and to a lesser extent now, Syria) uses their proxies there to stir things up when there is too much world attention on them (the Hariri assasination, the nuclear weapons programme).

And we can now add Al Queda to the mix - with at least one cell launching katyusha rockets from Lebanon, and the ongoing radicalisation of the Ain El-Hilweh camp. Al Queda are also reported to be establishing themselves in Gaza (less so in the West Bank) so there is another explosive ingredient - a movement funded and controlled by outside forces and with a quite different agenda to that of most Palestinians - just like the rocket launchers of Islamic Jihad (how many votes did they get?).

For the Palestinans day-to-day fate to be in the hands of extreme foreign groups is intolerable. Hamas should "man up" and actually start governing. Relying on imans and clan chiefs to stop the rocket firing won't work. They'll need to use force.

Otherwise the Palestinans will remain the pawns of larger forces.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to be fair to the anon poster (if it's the same one), he is posting some interesting pro-Israeli points on that particular issue, although it is focusing on one well-reported symptom, rather than the overall cause. It would be interesting to see how the Israelis would act in a similar scenario. Would Israelis behave worse in the same position ? I wonder ?

We have seen how they conducted themselves pre-1948. That time they had loads of small weapons and bombs and immigrants from other countries to do their work. This time they have nuclear weapons.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jim - I don't get what's pro-israeli in what anon wrote, he just stated the economics of weapon smuggling.

Anon 1:37 - your comments mesh together Iran, al-qaeda and local islamic militants. Anyone knowing anything will tell you that Iran and alQaeda don't go together. They are two very different streams of fundamentalist Islam. Shi'ite/Sunni is part of the difference, but only small part.

And yes there was this katyusha shot a couple of months ago - more or less the first katyusha after six years - do you know how easy it is to launch these things? put aside the shaba area, and the border is undeniably quiet. Thanks to Hizbulla who patrol it; don't blame the Iranians on everything.

Don't expect Hamas to be doing the dirty work of patrolling Gaza for you while Israel retains full control on life in Gaza (through the border commercial crossings and other means). So far the "end of occupation of gaza" is nothing but a sham. Unilateralism leads nowhere but to more katyushas and bombing.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, that was me that did the 2.06 anon.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to mesh all these elements together - only pointing out the similarities. Hizbullah are armed and trained by the Iranians and used to stir things up from time to time (Ghajar in November 2005, for example). Al Qaeda are a wild card - but again, they and their interests are foreign to Palestine.

Islamic Jihad is based in Syria and funded by Iran, and again, are used by the Iranians. No Islamic Jihad activist made a kaytusha on a lathe in an auto-repair shop in Gaza city. The Iranians also funded the Karin-A arms ship. They have no problem supplying "useful idiots" if they're pointing the right way. But these are the actions of a soverign state, no surprises there.

Firing rockets doesn't help the Palestinians or even the new Hamas administration. I imagine they'd rather normalise things for the moment - it's been a very rough five years. The beneficiaries of continued rocket fire are outside of the Palestinian territories.

Laila writes a great blog - one of the best - and it's very interesting to read a Palestinian perspective. But given her personal and professional position, I don't imagine she is in a position to state her views too forcefully on the firers of the qassams, their politics, their objectives, or their patrons.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that this is a good source to hear the side that you don't hear in the news, and I take great pleasure reading the non political end of hew blog (her son is cute. and other such issues).
But when it come to the political end of it, the story changes and that is where I don't agree with you. What she is writing, Although just a personal story, is bounded with half truth, and a very one sided story. (for example, the Israel bombing - without mentioning the reason for the bombs in the first place).
I don't expect her to write that stuff, and I ahve no issue with the fact that she reports her side. But I think it is important to keep things in context, and it's interesting to read what other people think of the sittuation, so I ask those (annoying) questions. If you don't want to hear the other side of the story, don't read the comments, and that way you can stay in you Ignorant Blice you like so much.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question Johnie? the bombing doesn't seem to be working, is it? anyone hear of leading more bees to honey than vinegar? be nice and they will be nice to you?

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timmy, we hear your side of the story, and interpretation of the story practically everywhere. Arutz Sheva or Haaretz, for instance. We are swamped with your side of the story. We understand why Israel are responding in that way. Personally I think they are being heavy-handed, using collective punishment, and using the wrong tactics in the long run. One tape-recording of the sonic-booms would likely shock many Americans, never mind bombardments (of supposed empty land). We never get a full chance to see what Gaza is really like apart from pictures of blown up cars and crowds at funerals. Here we do and I hope the comments aren't clogged up with the general Israeli attitude we can read anywhere.

Its frustrating they are launching small rockets (not forgetting how useless they are and how few actually injure or kill anyone) but after all they have been through it is understandable, although I wish it would stop. It might be young guys 'flexing muscle' after being under occupation for decades (with the final aim being to make the Palestinians move away) or some offshoot group trying to wreck any progress. It wouldn't surprise me if the Israelis are responding like this to please Israeli public opinion more than anything. It's probably militarily pointless.

I would guess the weapon smugglers are highly motivated and it would be a lot more difficult to smuggle in tons and tons of food, if people are wanting to make pointless comparisons. The food should be coming through the normal routes anyhow.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, that was me anon again

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,it´s really understable,why it´s always a justification for what the Palestinians does, even when it´s clearly wrong.
The rockets are too small,they don´t hurt much,they need more explosives than food.
Oh,come on,just open your eyes.
They are the only population in entire world which still under occupation after so many years,they don´t do anything to help theirselves,they were not able to,after so many years?
Launching rockets are not going to help anyone as well,it´s just a waste of money,and help to make things worse.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant incompressible ,instead of understable at the post above.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37 - I personally would play down the importance of outside elements, such as the Iranians or al-Qaeda. Yes, you can point to a number of incidents where Iranian/hizbulla involvement (through training or weapon supply) might have helped Palestinians improve their attacks. For example, the attacks on the Merkava tanks in the Strip. But these are not really important in any analysis. And yes, the Islamic Jihad seems to be the only group that defies the cease-fire. But it would be wrong to assume that if their leaders in Syria would be expelled/killed it would matter in any way.
These katyusha/kassams are not Stinger missiles. They are extremely, extremely primitive weapons. You don't need some global terror network or Iran to get these things.
Israeli Intelligence experts usually highlight the issue of Iran/al-Qaeda, for various reasons: it's easier to think of Palestinian militancy as orchestrated from outside, rather than a product of local forces. Also these experts consistently fail to understand that the use of military means depends more on their legitimacy in the respective society than the supply of weapons or an order received from the outside.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will start by mentioning that I think the bombings are not doing any good. I think it's a cop out of the Israeli Govt. in lack of a real answer to the issue at hand. The truth is the only way to stop it, is the same way as Israel does it in the West bank - Raids. Go in at night and start grabbing the people responsible. It's more risky but it will work and be better for the People of Gaza.

On that note. I would like to know, from all these people who seem not to have an issue with rockets falling in Israel:
What would you do in this sittuation? would you sit by and wait for them to kill someone? would you watch as they get closer to sensitive areas? What if this was in the Canada-america border, or if rockets flew in from France into Britian.
The answer is no other nation in the WORLD would sit back as rockets (and it really doesn't matter what kind or by who) flew into thier countries killed there people (only a "few" - can I have a volenteer to be one of those few from this crowd??), and got close to sensitive Areas.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Q: Why palestinians fire Qassams?
A: Why anything they do supposed to make sence?
If they had some sence, may be we could enjoy some pease for change.
Frankly there is no sence to bomb empty fields , every shell cost $3000. As a taxpayer I don't want to pay for that.
Q: What does it get us?
A: The most effective and elegant solution:


This is gonna work very good, remember Rantissi and Yassin?

6:25 AM  
Blogger Moses said...

Once again I'm, OK I'll be polite, amazed at the number of Anonymous commentators who feel the need to hector Laila, making justifications for the IDF shells and rockets and bullets that literally fall within a few hundreds of meters for her doorstep.

Surely there are places like, Oh I don't know, israpundit or somewhere to bloviate and cut-and-paste AP articles.

How about using I statements?
Like: "I was really conflicted when I kept reading Laila's blog and that noodge Abu Shaar asking me to send money for milk to the children of Gaza

9:40 PM  
Blogger Gert said...

"Solitarioh2005" is the same creep who posted endless comments, all cut and pasted from other texts, into my comment section, all of which I allowed, only to then accuse me of censorship and (wait for it...) anti-Semitism.

Sol, I'm not anti-Semitic but thanks to you I could be tempted to become anti-Portugese...

Go get a hobby, not a blog. And DO learn to use a spell checker: it makes you look less like the troll you are.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ever heard of this blog Laila? Might give you some hope there is a voice, small as it might be, on the other side that understand what you and other ordinary palestinian people are going through, victims as you are of forces beyond your control and big bullies who continue to use you and people like you as hostages to their own agendas. Hope the childrens celebration goes well and that there is something good to look forward to in the future for you and your children.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too much hate from both sides.
Only one side is occupied.
One side is making money and prospering and the other side is under a thumb.
That other side has nothing to lose. I feel very sorry for them because they cannot try to build up any buisness because it will get bombed.
Any progress shown is a target for Israeli bombs.
Give them a state and a chance to progress and all your lives will be better.
I feel very sorry for the children. They are living in this conflict and that is all they know. Give them a better life and the future will be better for them and for everyone else.
Stop the he said/she said bull! Stop the he shot at me/I will shoot back bull!
Start talking! No political bull! No past storries of abuse!

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your spring flowers, Laila.

You are a remarkable journalist. Maybe you know another, from Rafah.
His name is Mohammed...he is a friend.

edward from Columbus

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever this "Anonymous" person is that keeps attempting to incite an arguement with completely fictionalized fairy tales should get a life. Arafat did not "start" the 2nd Intifada. That was Israel's doing. Iran and the Shiite are in league with Israel. These are just two examples of your mistakes. Besides, this is a brave woman who posted information about Abbas gettting bombed, not to mention a man's family being killed senselessly. Quit trying to bait with lies and insults. Get your historical facts straight. I suggest www.judicial-inc.biz.

12:31 AM  

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