(CD) Just hours after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel is gearing up to launch a "large and painful military operation" in Gaza that would rival Operation Protective Edge—a 2014 assault that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians—the Israeli military carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes across Gaza on Friday following weekly anti-occupation protests along the border fence.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza moments ago. pic.twitter.com/uhyqnAr2yu— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) July 20, 2018
Pray for Gaza. pic.twitter.com/Lz9AZzwYGq— Muhammad Smiry 🇵🇸 Gaza (@MuhammadSmiry) July 20, 2018
I just got off the phone with my dad in #Gaza. I can hear the sounds of explosions from Israeli raids in the background. He had to rush to go pick up my mom and my handicapped brother from a cafe near the beach. When will Israel stop turning my family & all Gazans lives into hell— Jehad Saleem (@JehadibnSaleem) July 20, 2018
The airstrikes began to slam Gaza just hours after Israeli soldiers gunned down at least three Palestinians during anti-occupation demonstrations. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says one of its soldiers was killed by retaliatory gunfire from the Palestinians.
"Israel, one of the most powerful military powers in the world, is about to launch a military campaign with F-16s, Tanks, Naval ships and drones against a besieged, stateless population in Gaza."
—Yousef Munayyer, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights
"Palestinian defense forces fired back at Israeli snipers who have been murdering Palestinian men, women, and children for weeks," noted journalist Ali Abunimah.
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, added: "Israeli snipers shoot and kill scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including kids, then calls it self-defense. When a Palestinian sniper fires at one Israeli soldier, Israel bombs Gaza with F-16s and preps for all out war."
In response to Israel's "massive" wave of airstrikes, activists began circulating the #StoptheWar hashtag in an effort to pressure the international community to step in and stop Israel's efforts to launch yet another catastrophic assault on the "occupied, blockaded, unlivable, and exhausted Gaza Strip."
#StopTheWar is a hashtag coming from many activists in #Gaza who urge the international community to hinder Israel's attempts to launch another large-scale aggression against the occupied, blockaded, unlivable, and exhausted Gaza Strip. #GazaUnderAttack— Jehad Saleem (@JehadibnSaleem) July 20, 2018
Israel, one of the most powerful military powers in the world, is about to launch a military campaign with F-16s, Tanks, Naval ships and drones against a besieged, stateless population in Gaza, a infinitesimal percentage of whom flew burning kites and balloons. KITES AND BALLOONS— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) July 20, 2018
Munayyer of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights argued in a tweet on Friday that the airstrikes are a deliberate escalation that is merely a precursor to a broader military attack on Gaza.
"Israel has been planning another war on Gaza for some time. They recently conducted exercises, declared Friday as an ultimatum day, and the Americans to wrote a WaPo oped to open the Israeli propaganda campaign," Munayyer noted, referring to an opinion piece co-authored by White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, which blames Hamas for Israel's brutal decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory.
"Seems Israel is hell bent on war, again," Munayyer added.
Israel's latest bombardment of Gaza comes just days after Israel further intensified its collective punishment of the Palestinian people by imposing "genocidal" trade restrictions on the occupied territory.
BREAKING: There is a way to avoid war and it has to do with lifting the 11-year-old blockade on Gaza.— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) July 20, 2018
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