Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening to “act more forcefully still,” after a week of pounding the Gaza Strip, saying massive escalation could be seen if the current truce, brokered by the Egyptian government, fails.
For Gazans, the Israel strikes are a comparatively secondary issue, as a growing shortage of drinking water leaves a large portion of the civilian population in dire straits and the public hopes the election in Egypt will lead to open trade with their much larger neighbor.
But for Israel’s government making threats against Gaza, a popular pastime at any rate, seems to be an effort to convince the public that they are being “tough” on somebody at a time when the Egyptian election is in major focus and, apart from fretting there seems little Israel can do about the results.
Meanwhile, Israel’s military is still trying to justify a very ugly incident in the West Bank on March 27, in which Israeli soldiers attacked a random Palestinian house in the middle of the night and ended up killing a civilian.
Israeli officials say that the move was a training game, with the idea to “pick a quiet village in the area where you’re based, you open the map, choose a random house … You go in the middle of the night, you surround the house, you grab a guy as if it’s a real arrest.”
The incident brought three neighbors to the attacked house, where the non-uniformed soldiers were believed to be thieves. The soldiers shot them all, killing one. Officials say that “their lives were never in danger” because of the exercise and that it was the civilians’ reaction that caused the death.