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Gaza factions meet over Israeli threats
Published Monday 12/11/2012 (updated) 14/11/2012 10:43
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a meeting with
ambassadors in Ashkelon on Nov. 12. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions met on Monday in Gaza City to discuss Israeli attacks and threats of a wider operation in the enclave.

Hamas called the meeting to try and avoid further casualties after Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in Gaza since Saturday, said Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Talal Abu Tharefa.

Abu Tharefa told Ma'an any truce with Israel must include an end to Israeli airstrikes and attacks, adding that the Palestinian resistance would retain the right to respond to Israeli aggression.

Top-selling Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth said Monday that the United States had given a green light for an Israeli operation in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened foreign ambassadors in what appeared to be an attempt to pre-empt international censure should Israel, whose 2008-2009 Gaza offensive exacted a costly civilian toll, again go in hard.

Netanyahu briefed the envoys in Ashkelon, a port city within range of some Palestinian rockets. "None of their governments would accept a situation like this," he said.

Major escalation 'within hours'

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, an influential member of Netanyahu's Likud party, said the briefing was meant to prepare world opinion for "what is about to happen," adding there might be a major Israeli escalation within a few hours.

"Hamas bears responsibility. The heads of Hamas should pay the price and not sleep at night. I expect to see not just a return to targeted killings, but also to very wide activity by (the army)," he told Israel Radio.

Netanyahu said a million Israelis - around one-eighth of the population - were in danger from rocket attacks.

Israeli tanks shelled Gaza City on Saturday killing four civilians and injuring at least 25. Israel's army said it was responding to a missile attack on an Israeli military jeep which injured four soldiers.

Gaza factions fired dozens of rockets into Israel in response to the deaths, and Israel launched an airstrike early Sunday which killed two members of Islamic Jihad's military wing.

Israel launched multiple airstrikes on the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday, with no injuries reported, and 11 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Monday morning. One rocket struck a home in the city of Netivot at around 7 a.m., causing material damage.

Hamas took part in missile launches over the weekend but Monday's attack was claimed by the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen, a Salafi organization that rejects Hamas's authority.

Israel has been deploying its Iron Dome rocket interceptor, air raid sirens and blast shelters, but eight people have still been wounded by the salvos.

Egypt in the picture

A Palestinian official who declined to be named said Egypt had been trying to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants and that, although no formal truce was in place, Hamas understood the need for calm.

Israel has shown little appetite for a new Gaza war, which could strain relations with the new Islamist-rooted government in neighboring Egypt. The countries made peace in 1979.

But Netanyahu may be reluctant to seem weak ahead of a Jan. 22 election that opinion polls currently predict he will win.

The political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza's prime minister, said he believed Egypt's new president, Mohammad Mursi, provided "a safety net" for the Palestinians.

"The president of the biggest neighboring Arab country (has) said: We will not allow a new war on Gaza, and Palestinian blood is our blood," Youssef Rizqa wrote in the pro-Hamas daily Felesteen.

Reuters contributed to this report.
1 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
12/11/2012 19:42
This latest episode in our ongoing war with Gaza/Hamas apparently began when we targeted and killed at least 2 of several terrorists guilty of terrorist activities from some time ago. Although we were justified in doing so, it was we who basically started this latest episode of retaliation/counter-retaliation. What has been of significance is the revelation that Hamas/other factions have all along still been massively building up inventories of rockets since the "relative" quiet until, (cont.)

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
12/11/2012 20:30
as I said, we "started" it again. Despite our "blame," I believe even if a long-term "ceasefire" would prevail between us and Gaza (in Arabic: a Hudna) and our blockade would be totally lifted, there will always be "war" between us and Gaza/Hamas/other factions because we will never accept a (second) Pal nation west of that Jordan River. I hate seeing these ceaseless attacks/counter-attacks, death and destruction as much as anyone. That's why I believe the Pals must go to Jordan/Palestine.

3 ) Robert / US
12/11/2012 20:36
Who. Gave the green light in the US ? Congress ? Havent they broken the law reguarding the sale of weapons to be used on peacefull civilans ?.Palestinians have every right to protect themselfs from an occupping ,apartheid and crazy racist rouge state...

4 ) Amira / Canada
13/11/2012 00:12
to Yehuda Solomon / Israel (i.e. Palestine)
What right do you think you have by stating that legitimate Palestinian Resistance as "terrorist"? Palestinian resistance is legitime defense against occupation of Palestinian land and against ongoing war crimes committed by occupiers and their settlers. War crimes and settlers attacks against Palestinian are terrorism. Palestinian legitime defense is based on Geneva Convention and International Law.

How do you feel living in someone'else home?

5 ) ian / australia
13/11/2012 01:20
What a shemozzle. The factions are posturing idiots. (As though "retain the right to respond to Israeli aggression" means anything.) And for Bibi it's just a political game about getting re-elected and posing (with envoys) on the world stage. He knows the rockets are a miniscule threat, hurt no-one, do no damage, and that no-one is "in danger" and that idiots like Talal Abu Tharefa are a gift to his campaign. (Also, the reported US "green light for an Israeli operation" is decidedly fishy and

6 ) ian / australia
13/11/2012 01:21
(contd.) most likely more mischief from Likud.) Oy!

7 ) Marie / Norway
13/11/2012 02:00
It is not only the head of Hamas they won't let sleeping... There are 1,6 million people in Gaza. By the blocade Israel is taking away supplyes of basic need like food, medcine and fuel for electrcity, but also childrens sleep... After the last Gaza war and more than 1400 killed, mostly sivilians, children and women, only one singel israeli soldier was charged, he killed a mother and daughter waving white flag.... What did he get? 45 days in prison, 22,5 day for each life of inocent people...

8 ) Nick / usa
13/11/2012 07:38
Israel is a nation of cowards and terrorists, the Israeli govt should be ashamed of its self for the torture, abuse, and killings of innocent Palestinian people

9 ) firas / .ps
13/11/2012 08:34
who writes your articles.damn you help isreal.

10 ) David / US
17/11/2012 02:50
If the rockets coming out of Gaza stop, the IDF will stop. The ball is in the court of Hamas.
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