Thursday, February 01, 2018

01-Feb-18: UPDATED: From Gaza: infiltrators, rockets and reports of a lethal feud

You can know a lot about people from the things they
bring with them when they visit: The infiltrators had these
in their possession, plus grenades, says IDF
For the third time this week (see here and here), an Arab-on-Israeli infiltration attack was thwarted before the terrorists were able to do harm to others.

Israel National News says -
Four armed Arab terrorists were captured Thursday evening after they crossed the frontier into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip [and] were spotted when they approached the security fence and were apprehended shortly after they managed to cross the frontier... Israeli security personnel nabbed the four terrorists after the managed to penetrate the security fence along the Israel-Gaza border. After the four terrorists were captured, Israeli forces found the four were carrying two knives and a grenade. The suspects have been transferred for interrogation. ["Armed terrorists infiltrate from Gaza", Israel National News, February 1, 2018]
A comment in Times of Israel reminds us of often-overlooked aspects of infiltrations:
There have been cases of Gazans entering Israel with weapons not to carry out attacks, but in order to be arrested and sent to prison, rather than remain in the beleaguered coastal enclave, which is run by the Hamas terrorist group.
Scene of this afternoon's Gaza explosion [Image Source]
Gaza is in the news for additional reasons tonight. Reports around 6 this evening (Thursday) say an explosion in a residential building in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City has taken multiple lives, including children. The WAFA news agency says
Seven people were killed and at least 20 others injured in an explosion in a house in the densely populated Sabra neighborhood in Gaza city on Thursday evening, according to the Ministry of Health. WAFA correspondent said an explosion occurred in a house belonging to Abu Assi family in Sabra neighborhood, leaving seven people dead and 20 others injured some of them seriously. The house collapsed as a result of the explosion. The injured were moved to nearby al-Shifaa Medical Complex for treatment. Initial reports said the explosion resulted from the detonation of a gas cylinder at the house.
An AFP newsagency report quoted by Times of Israel has a very different take on what happened:
At least seven Palestinians died in an explosion in Gaza City Thursday, in what officials say was an intentional act after a family quarrel. “Seven people including children died, and around 30 others were injured in an explosion at a home” in Gaza City, a spokesman for the health ministry says. A police statement says a member of the Abu Assi family deliberately set a gas canister on fire during a family quarrel, leading to the explosion. It says police were investigating the circumstances of the incident. Eyewitnesses say the explosion caused serious damage to the two-story building. [AFP]
Given the opacity of most news emanating from inside the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, we might not ever know.

It's also a great pity that the news industry, whose principle role always, everywhere, is to explain news events to people who don't know about them and don't have the context and background to understand their implications, doesn't shine a little light on what happened in Gaza City. A "family quarrel" with many dead, some unknown number of them children? Go try to find that in your local news stream - TV, radio, Facebook, newspaper. The reality is that feuds among clans play a significant and expensive (in terms of lives ruined and lost) role in Palestinian Arab society:
Clans, which share many attributes with tribal structures but have developed along a different path, are a major factor in local politics and in many ways define the boundaries of what is politically possible... [This] quasi-tribal structure is detrimental to the emergence of a viable democratic culture, harnessing the power of the clans may prove critical at this stage for establishing authority in a fledgling Palestinian state—and understanding clans is thus a crucial part of the study of local Palestinian politics. A Palestinian state’s capacity to actually govern and execute its commitments in the Israeli-Palestinian political process; its monopoly over the means of violence; the possibility of democratization; and the effects of outside intervention on Palestinian political culture—all are to some extent dependent on this all-too-often ignored phenomenon. ["Clans and Militias in Palestinian Politics", Brandeis University, 2006]
The destructive reality of clans in Palestinian Arab life isn't the only thing worth knowing about how the conflict works or the most important. But many things don't make sense without understanding the clan phenomenon. And why the tragic, useless ad completely avoidable deaths of Gazan Arab children are going to have the smallest of impacts on the news cycle today.

UPDATE Friday February 2, 2018 at 8:00 am: The drama in and around Gaza continued late into the night. At least one terrorist rocket was fired from somewhere in Gaza (we don't know the details yet) in the general direction of Israel (the terrorists are indifferent as long as they hurt or damage something, anything, Israeli - that's why they're terrorists). According to Israel National News, this exploded near the border fence. (There are reports on social media saying two rockets.) There are no reports of injuries or damage. No incoming-rocket siren was sounded in the Gaza Belt communities. The Jerusalem Post quotes the IDF saying its forces struck a Hamas observation post in the northern Gaza Strip shortly afterwards in response.

No comments: