November escalation: How did it start?
The media reports one of two different narratives for how the fighting started. Either they claim that the fighting began on November 10th, when the Popular Front fired an anti-tank missile hitting an IDF jeep along Israel’s border fence with Gaza, or that it started on November 14th, when Israel assassinated Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari, (just one of many assassinations) and launched an air campaign in Gaza collapsing a ceasefire brokered the day before.
Although both of these events are true, there is a hard time finding information about what happened just prior to November 10. Something very significant happened on November 8th, just days before the clashes started, eight tanks and four bulldozers invaded the Gaza Strip. Firing indiscriminately, the IDF managed to kill 13-year-old Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa while playing soccer with his friends. A full account of this incident was documented by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights, in one of their weekly reports that explain all Israeli violations for the given week, they write that:
At approximately 08:00, IOF moved nearly 300 meters into the east of al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis. They leveled areas of Palestinian land amidst indiscriminate shooting. A few hours later, they moved southwards to ‘Abassan village. They opened fire indiscriminately and leveled areas of Palestinian land. An Israeli helicopter gunship also opened fire at the area. At approximately 16:30, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting by IOF military vehicles, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. At the time he was shot, Ahmed had been playing football with his friends in front of his family’s house, located nearly 1,500 meters away from the area where the IOF were present. He was evacuated to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Yunis, but he was pronounced dead 15 minutes later. IOF remained in the area until 00:30 on the following day. In his testimony to PCHR, Mohammed Tariq Abu Daqqa, 14, stated:
“On Thursday evening, 08 November 2012, my friend, Ahmed Abu Daqqa, invited me to play football, which he liked so much. We began to play football in front of his house together with Khaled ‘Ali Abu Daqqa, Shadi Akram Abu Daqqa and Fares Hassan Qudaih. Ahmed was wearing sports clothes and he played as a goalkeeper. We knew that there was an Israeli incursion in the area and we heard sporadic shooting. We thought that we were safe because we were relatively far from the affected area. However, at approximately 16:30, I saw a bullet hitting the door of Ahmed’s house. I soon saw Ahmed falling onto the ground. He then stood up putting his hands on his abdomen and screaming. He moved into his house. The children who were playing with us escaped. I called Ahmed’s brother and told him that Ahmed was wounded. Soon after, Ahmed’s brother carried him out of the house and asked me to call an ambulance. I immediately went to a nearly grocery shop and asked its owner to call an ambulance and he did. Ahmed was then transported by a civilian car to the hospital. I learnt later that he died. Before he was wounded, he had asked me to photograph him wearing the uniform of Real Madrid, of which he was a fan.”
At approximately 18:40, IOF moved nearly 200 meters into the east of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. They searched the area and opened fire sporadically. They moved back to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel at approximately 22:50.
John Glaser on antiwar.com points out on his blog that besides the fact that Israel started the recent escalation, Israel also has been blockading Gaza:
“So, even if honest observers brush to the side the cruel and inhumane Israeli blockade on Gaza and refuse to let it influence the equation of exactly which side started this flare up of violence, it is clear Israel started this latest clash. And in response to the response, Israel has waged a harsh, disproportionate military assault.”
In the same article, Glaser mentions the death of Ahmad Nabhani when the IDF shot and killed him near the border days earlier. Some other incidents occurred in the Gaza Strip the week before November 8, such as the Israeli armies routine fire upon Palestinian fishing boats. Violations such as these, and others, are documented weekly by the organizations such as OCHA oPt and PCHR, and deliver great insight to the reality of what is going on.
The recent Palestinian resistance’s fire of rockets isn’t unprovoked. The provocation for such a reaction by the Palestinians is due to several Israeli violations against the rights Palestinian people, which has been going on for years.