Israel, Gaza Launch Heaviest Strikes Since Nov. Truce
No reported casualties
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2013 9:54 AM CDT
Israeli Border Police take position during clashes in Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013.   (Bernat Armangue)

(Newser) – Palestinian militants launched several rockets into southern Israel, as Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip early today in the heaviest exchange of fire between the sides since they agreed to an internationally brokered ceasefire in November. There were no casualties reported, but the violence threatened to shatter the calm that has prevailed for more than four months and prompted Israel's new defense minister to warn that the Jewish state will not sit back if militants attack the south of the country.

Although there was no claim of responsibility for the rockets, defense minister Moshe Yaalon said he holds Hamas responsible for all such attacks from the seaside strip. In recent weeks, there have been a handful of rocket attacks; overnight, Israel responded for the first time by striking a pair of empty fields in northern and eastern Gaza. Around the time Yaalon was speaking this morning, two more rockets exploded in the Israeli border town of Sderot, according to police, prompting air raid sirens. The Israeli military said a total of five rockets had been fired in the past 24 hours, including two that exploded prematurely inside Gaza.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Apr 5, 2013 11:28 PM CDT
"The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented more than 1,000 injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank during January and February 2013." I wonder no American ever hears about things like this?
Apr 4, 2013 9:23 PM CDT
Are The Palestinians A Distinct People? In 1919 Emir Faisal, as head of the Arab delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, recognized Jewish sovereignty in Palestine when he signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement. In 1922, British Minister Winston Churchill divided the British Mandate of Palestine along the Jordan River into East Palestine, or Trans-Jordan, and West Palestine or Cis-Jordan. Trans-Jordan, which would be recognized by the U.N. as the Kingdom of Jordan in 1947, was to be exclusively Arab Palestine while Cis-Jordan, or Palestine, would likewise be recognized as Israel by the U.N. in 1947. Before 1948, the term "Palestinian" was used to describe Jews and was used interchangeably with the term Zionist. The Arab residents of Palestine, most of whom immigrated there alongside the Jewish emigration, and who did so in order to take advantage of the increased economic opportunities that came from the Jewish immigration. After the 1948 Israel War of Independence and until the 1967 Six-Day War, the region west of the Jordan River that was occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan was known as West Jordan and the Arabs living there were Jordanian citizens. Ahmad Shukairi, founder of the PLO, stated in 1969 that "Jordan is Palestine, and Palestine is Jordan." PLO member Abu Iyad recounted in his memoir (Palestinian without a Motherland) that he and other PLO members had been advised by the North Vietnamese to develop the "two-state" idea in 1973. The North Vietnamese advised Iyad to "stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand." The Soviet-sponsored PLO continued its war against Israel both through terrorism and through promoting the diplomatic artifice that has become known as the "two-state solution." The movement for Palestinian-Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan River was always and remains nothing more than a vanguard movement seeking the eventual destruction of the state of Israel. In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. But they didn't capture these territories from the "Palestinian Authority" or Hamas. They captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. I can't help but wonder why all these Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the war. The truth is that "Palestine" is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first time thename was used was in A.D. 70 when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine." The name was derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power. "Palestine" has never existed - before or since - as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Eyrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents only one-tenth of 1 percent of the landmass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough. What about Islam's holy sites? There are none in Jerusalem. Shocked? You should be. I don't expect you will ever hear this brutal truth from anyone else in the international media. It's just not politically correct. I know what you're going to say: “the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third-most holy sites." Not true. In fact, the Quran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason; there is no historical evidence to suggest Muhammad ever visited Jerusalem. The main holy sites of Islam are Mecca and Medina, and the few references to Israel in the Quran actually call for the creation of a Jewish state. So how did Jerusalem become the third-holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite a vague passage in the Quran, the 17th Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Muhammad was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs." In the seventh century, some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets – myth, fantasy, wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham with hundreds of Biblical references to Jerusalem. So what's the solution to the Middle East mayhem? Well, frankly, I don't think there is a manmade solution to the violence. But if there is one, it needs to begin with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos. Treating an Israeli 5,000-year-old birthright backed by overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence equally with Arab illegitimate claims, fantasies and lies gives diplomacy and peacekeeping a bad name.
Apr 3, 2013 3:56 PM CDT
You know when our arrognat president told the Israelis to walk in Palestinian shoes. Well after this rocket barrage blast them to hell so they don't need shoes. How much more is this country going to take before the wipe Hamas off the face of the earth and dam the collateral damage.