RAMALLAH, August 3 (JMCC) - More than 30 people were injured in Gaza on Monday in an explosion in the home of Ala al-Danaf, leader of Hamas' Qassem Brigades in the central Gaza region.
A spokesperson for military medical services in Gaza said the explosion resulted from a missile fired from an Israeli F-16 flying overhead.
Israel, for its part, denied involvement and said the blast probably resulted from attempts to manufacture bombs.
But the rise in casualties comes as part of a series of airstrikes by Israel and rocket firings by Gazan armed groups. The question remains: why this escalation now?
When the query is posed to Wasil Abu Yusef, representative of the PLO Executive Committee, he says the rise in violence is in Israeli interests.
Palestinians are demanding that Israel commit itself to terms of reference based on the 1967 borders before they enter into direct negotiations. He believes that the Israeli government is prepared to avoid talks under those terms by going to war in Gaza, and even perhaps with Iran, Syria or Lebanon.
“The Israeli government wants both to maintain its relationship with the United States by appearing to be pursuing peace, and to preserve the right-wing coalition, which requires the continuation of settlement and avoiding establishment of a Palestinian state,” says Abu Yusef.
“Escalation is one way of not offering anything and appearing to be the victim.”
Advisor to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Hanieh, Ahmed Yousef, agrees, saying that Israel appears to be preparing for war, while talking about peace.
“It is as if they want to create a feeling of tension of Gaza, first to prevent the imminent arrival of more than 15 ships preparing to break the siege of Gaza by sea and to prevent an investigation into the flotilla incidents by creating a new crisis, and at the same time, satisfy the United States through empty negotiations,” says Yousef.
“No one in the universe believes that the government headed by Netanyahu and Lieberman is reaching out to create peace.”
He said that the pace of rockets fired at Israel by a few spoiler groups in the Gaza Strip has been the same since the ceasefire that ended Israel’s war in Gaza in 2009.
“I think that we should recognize the gravity of the next stage,” says Yousef.
He believes that Israel is preparing for a new war in Gaza or other countries on or just after US congressional
elections scheduled for November 2, 2010.
“Why else is Israel escalating things now? No doubt the reason is to escape this crisis and enter the killing fields where it is strong – not only in Gaza, but in Iran, Syria and Lebanon.”