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Israel Uses Gaza To Test Its Iron Dome – OpEd

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By Linda Heard

People who believe Israel has the right to send its bombs and emissaries anywhere on the planet to carry out extrajudicial assassinations have a warped moral compass. However it’s dressed, murder is murder. It’s bad enough when an individual premeditates to take the life of another but it’s far worse when murder at will is the policy of a state.

Israel not only gets away with perpetrating assassinations or “targeted killings” as Israelis prefer to call them, they appear to be a source of national pride or amusement. Israeli filmmakers are in the process of producing a comedy based on the Mossad’s alleged hit on Hamas commander Mahmoud Al-Mahbouh in a Dubai hotel room by undercover operatives traveling on cloned Western passports.

They think it’s funny but what’s really funny (not funny “Ha Ha” but funny peculiar) is the laid-back fashion Western governments react to Israel’s transgressions especially when one recalls their fury following the bombing of Rafik Hariri’s convoy in Beirut for which Damascus was initially blamed. Their double standard is glaring. There was no outrage over the assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists, believed to have been killed by Israeli -made car bombs, but when Israeli diplomats were recently targeted in India, Georgia and Thailand, the incidents dominated international discussion and news.

Since the 1950s, Israel has been eliminating its adversaries with airstrikes, missiles, car bombs, parcel bombs, snipers and poisons. PFLP commander Wadie Haddad died from ingesting poisoned chocolates, courtesy of the Mossad. The political leader of Hamas Khaled Mashaal almost died from poisoning and survived only because President Bill Clinton pressurized Israel to supply the antidote following the arrest of Mossad agents traveling on Canadian passports.

Now it appears that Tel Aviv has sunk to even greater depths.

“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle,” said the IDF’s former Chief-of-Staff Raphael Eitan in 1983. Israel’s current Defense Minister Ehud Barak once referred to the Palestinians as “crocodiles”. That dehumanizing mindset is in evidence today in Gaza, whose 1.5 million residents have been enclosed in the world’s largest open prison where the IAF uses them for shooting practice.

At a time when the hawkish Netanyahu-led Israeli leadership is gearing up to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites, Israel struck the car of Zuhair Al-Qaissi, the Commander of the Popular Resistance Groups, claiming he was planning terrorist activities against the Jewish state. Israel decision-makers may be ruthless but they’re not stupid. They would have known Al-Qaissi’s killing would result in rockets heading in their direction. They were also hoping that most of those rockets would be knocked out of the sky by their Iron Dome — a portable anti-rocket system. What better way to test this system which is being celebrated in Israel for its capability to intercept most of Islamic Jihad’s “made in Gaza” rockets that have been hurtling toward Israeli towns and cities in recent days!

A comment by Col. Zvi Haimovich, head of the IAF missile interception unit is telling. “We must close the last gap between a 90 percent and a perfect performance,” he said. Ehud Barak, who has been urging his government to procure more batteries, has lauded the system, saying it provides “greater freedom” to cope with threats. And tomorrow Israel’s Home Front Defense Ministry is scheduled to launch a simulation of long-range missile attacks on Israel’s capital and other major cities.

It’s hard to believe that a state would put its own people at risk for a test-run but that’s exactly what Israel is doing in anticipation of retaliation from Hamas, Hezbollah and, possibly, Syria, should its plan to strike Iran proceed to fruition, which, of course, hangs on a go-ahead from the White House. Tel Aviv now knows that its Iron Dome will offer protection against 90 percent of rocket attacks. While the Israeli government is callously calculating its defensive capacity, the residents of Gaza are being killed and terrorized during a so-called response to a rocket bombardment which Israel may have deliberately invited by assassinating Al-Qaissi.

Some 18 Gazans have been killed by Israeli warplanes in recent days, including a schoolboy. Those people have nowhere to run. It’s not hard to calculate what impact deafening explosions and fear of being randomly killed is having on young children.

The people of Gaza would be forgiven if they believe the world has abandoned them or that, in the eyes of major powers, their lives are considered worthless. I wonder what they think when they witness the prevailing anger against the Syrian regime for its brutal crackdown eliciting a series of Arab League and United Nations meets as well as a flurry of high profile envoys to Damascus.

The US and its allies Britain and France have actively supported ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings against regimes, yet do nothing to help a people battling an illegal occupation for more than 40 years. Arab governments are similarly guilty of neglecting the Palestinian cause; it’s as though it’s been written-off as a hopeless case. Such inaction is shameful. Palestinian blood is just as valuable as any other, Palestinian fear just as real and Palestinian hopes and dreams just as valid as yours or mine.

Allowing Israel to use the people of Gaza as ducks in a shooting range, so it can try out its Iron Dome, scars all of humanity. The words “Palestinian terror” are never far from the lips of Israeli spokespersons and propagandists but if the truth be told Israel is one of the most prolific perpetrators of terror our planet has ever known.

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Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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