Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to kill US troops in Iraq in revenge for the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza. “I call upon the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy,”
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from Baghdad attacked the international community for its silence in the face of what he called Israeli brutality, and he put pressure on Jordan, Egypt and Turkey (without naming them) to break off diplomatic relations with Israel.
Tens of thousands of Shiite Iraqis staged processions in Karbala and elsewhere in mourning for Imam Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet. Some were shouting, “Every Day is Ashura and every land is Karbala.” This is a revolutionary slogan and likely referred at least in part to the oppression of the Gazans. The crowds were also doing behind the scenes politicking with regard to the Jan. 30 provincial elections, according to McClatchy.
At least three and perhaps five rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel on Thursday morning, wounding 4 Israelis.
One rocket landed in Nahariya north of Haifa. Israel said it had returned precision artillery fire on the source of the rockets, but Lebanese sources said that Israeli shells landed in fields. Aljazeera is saying that the Israelis deny that the rockets likely came from Hizbullah, and that Hizbullah is also denying they are pursuing such actions, saying they are “not useful at this time.” The implication is that a Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon developed this capabiiity. Anyway, obviously the potential is there for the Gaza War to be widened if it goes on much longer.
The intrepid Borzou Daragahi reports from Beirut that it is thought a little unlikely that Hizbullah would drag Lebanon into a war ahead of May’s pivotal parliamentary elections.
Nor do the Israelis seem eager to press the issue. Militarily, Israel has plenty of spare fighter jets and bombs for Lebanon in addition to Gaza. But opening a second front would increase the international pressure on Israel to pursue a ceasefire. They seem to want to go on bombing and shelling Gaza for another week or so, and may not want to risk more bad publicity by starting up with Lebanon.
After what they called a “humanitarian pause,” the Israeli military began intensive bombardment again of Gaza on Wednesday.
Workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza say they have gone into houses and discovered horrific scenes of corpses, and of living children still next to the body of their mother. Physicians in Gaza are convince that the official death and casualty totals for this military operation are gross underestimates, and that there are lots of buildings with undiscovered corpses in them alongside orphaned children.
The The Minister of Justice at the Vatican, Cardinal Renato Martino, said Wednesday, “Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay . . . Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp.”
Since the Gazans are trapped in Gaza and cannot leave, and since some important proportion of them is denied by this condition enough food to avoid malnutrition, I’d say “concentration camp” is about right.