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Israeli offensive on Gaza: Trading bodies for ballots?
Call it 21st century's biggest irony that Israel has to kill innocent Palestinians, including children for winning an election. This, at least seems to be the motivation behind launch of a deadly operation - Pillar of Defence - against besieged Palestinians, though Israeli terminology is different - they call it an operation to secure Israeli citizens from militant groups in Gaza.

RESEMBLING THE 2008-09 aggression that left at least 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, Israel has once again used airstrikes against Gaza – in which at least nine people have been killed, which includes Ahmed al-Jabari's, one of Hamas' most senior operatives. At least 80 other Palestinian civilians have been reportedly wounded, even though Israeli defence forces have been calling the strikes 'surgical'.

Following the attack, Palestinians have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel – which have resulted in the death of three Israeli civilians. According to CNN, Israeli defence forces are even planning a ground assault on Gaza, which was returned to Palestinians in 2005, even though Israel still controls the airspace, coasts and most land crossings.

The brazen attack, which included more than 70 blistering strikes by warplanes and ships on Wednesday comes at a time when Israel is preparing for elections, to be held in January next year. Many analysts believe that the attack has much to do with gaining the trust of Israelis vis-a-vis the elections. This becomes also clear from the fact that 2008-09 agression that lasted 22 days, was also launched just six weeks ahead of general elections.

Highly distrurbing, it may sound for people living in democracies, but that is the everyday reality in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Israeli aggression has been condemned by all Palestinian groups and rallies have been held in honour of the victims of the attack, especially Mr Jabari.

Pertinent to mention here is that the attack will also test Egypt's recently elected leadership, especially prime minister Muhammad Morsi. Though the prime minister is yet to make a statement, but his Freedom and Justice Party has condemned the attack and called for all Arab nations, including Egypt government to 'sever diplomatic and commercial ties with the zionist occupier.'

Palestinian people would certainly look up to new government in Egypt, which is no longer dominated by pro-west Hosni Mubarak who was ousted in a popular uprising last year. So for Morsi, this is a litmus test, at a time when he is trying to focus more on economic stability of his country. Israel had earlier expressed fears that Morsi's government might end its 1979 peace treaty, but latter has already made it clear that he respected all treaties signed in the past.

Another irony is that while more people die in Palestine, the United States and the United Nations continue to support Israeli agression – quite clear when the United Nations even failed to adopt a resolution even though it met for about one-and-a-half hours. Barack Obama has spoken to Israeli premier and conveyed his condolences and sympathies for the killing of three Israelis while Palestinian lives, it seems don't matter at all.

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