Protesting Jordanian youths attacked
Around 500 young people from different movements, including the powerful Islamist opposition, had braved rain and cold weather to to call for "regime" reforms and putting the corrupt on trial.They were camped out next to the Interior Circle, or Gamal Abdel Nasser Square, in the capital.
At nightfall, police attempted to disperse the youths and cut off electricity on the square around 11:00 pm (2100 GMT), an AFP journalist witnessed. A group of nearly 50 loyalists hurled stones at Jordanian students in a protest camp set up in Amman Thursday night, leaving several injured, as security forces stood by, witnesses told AFP.
'IDF will have to carry out large-scale operation in Gaza'
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) on Friday said that he estimates that the IDF will eventually have to carry out a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, bigger than Operation Cast Lead. Sa'ar made the comments in an interview with Israel Radio.
Sa'ar said that he understood local authorities in the South who decided to cancel school in light of increased rocket and mortar fire, but emphasized that the Home Front Command said that studies could continue as usual.
Nowhere to run: Ashdod, Ashkelon grapple with rockets
The above article details the experiences of several Israeli citizens who face daily rocket attacks (while the MSM ignores the issue):
“This is the scariest time so far for me. Back in Cast Lead, anytime there were sirens me and my wife were always home with our son, but today he was home alone when the siren went off,” Ashdod resident Gabi Tatarov, a 53-year-old native of Georgia, described rushing home to his nine-year-old son Sharon on Thursday, after he was kept home from school when classes were canceled for the second day in a row as a means of keeping kids home and safe from the rockets which have in the past week returned to batter the communities of the south.
These kids can't even go to school for fear of being the recipient of a rocket attack.
“In the morning, I told him what to do if there is an attack because with school out and me and my wife at work, we knew he’d be home alone. I rushed home and found him hiding in the stairwell. We have a safe room in the house, but there were other people in the stairwell so he felt safe there.”
Tatarov’s experience was shared by many residents of Ashdod and Ashkelon who on Thursday described the renewed Grad strikes on their cities as predominantly a cause of concern for their children's welfare, who had been out of school since Wednesday.
Israel ready to act with "full force" to stop missiles
Jerusalem - Israel is ready to act with its full force to stop missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday.
'No country could accept such attacks,' Netanyahu told reporters as he met US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in the coastal town of Caesaria.
Netanyahu made the remarks at the end of the week in which Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired around 85 projectiles, including Russian Grad missiles, at Israel, hitting towns and villages close to the salient, but also the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod, located 45 and 25 kilometres respectively from the enclave.
'Russians won't retract anti-ship missile sale to Syria
The Russian sale of Yakhnot anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria is a “done deal,” and Moscow has no intention of scuttling it, the Kremlin told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Moscow on Thursday, according to a senior Israeli diplomatic source.
According to the source, the Russians said that from their point of view, Israel enjoyed a clear qualitative military superiority in the region, and the sale of 20 of the missiles to Damascus would not tip the strategic balance
Israel girds for Gaza strife as US calls for peace talks
Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets deep into Israel on Thursday, as the Israeli military said it was being drawn into a broader confrontation with militants in Gaza.
That's pretty much the bottom line isn't it?
Israel Defense Forces officers told McClatchy Newspapers that if the violence persists, Israel could be drawn into a large-scale operation in Gaza.
"Nobody wants to see another Cast Lead," said one high-ranking official from Israel's Southern Command, which oversees Gaza. He was referring to Israel's punishing 22-day Gaza offensive, which commenced in December 2008. "The region is a big mess right now. Everything is unpredictable, and it could turn against us quickly."
Israeli officials said they're aware of the risks of starting another operation in Gaza. Recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya have focused on domestic politics and economics, but the focus could be deflected to Israel.
"With instability in their own fronts, countries like Syria or Egypt could chose to turn attention to Israel to distract from their own problems," said an official from Israel's Foreign Ministry. He added that politicians in Israel could not, however, choose to ignore domestic calls for stronger action to be taken against Gaza.
Debka offers a perspective on current events:
Israeli and Saudi leaders in Moscow as Palestinians ramp up missile strikes
As Russian, Israeli and Saudi leaders discussed the ramifications of the Arab uprising in Moscow and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates talked to Israeli military chiefs in Tel Aviv, the Palestinian Hamas continued to escalate its missile offensive on Israeli cities
The radical Palestinian rulers of Gaza are in fact raising the stakes, they say, and hoping to goad Israel into an extreme response in the belief that a war clash with Israel will elevate the Gaza Strip to the same regional level as the war in Libya and the Arab uprisings, especially in Yemen and Bahrain.
They also believe it will help Syrian president Bashar Assad, who hosts a Hamas center in Damascus, by distracting attention from the bloodbath he is inflicting on protesters against his repressive regime.
Thursday, Syrian soldiers were reported to have shot 100 protesters dead in the southern town of Deraa. At some point, the West which is punishing Muammar Qaddafi for killing his own people might also take notice of Assad's actions against his.
The Middle East is heating up much as it did a couple of years ago when major conflict was seen on the northern border. Now its Gaza.
Ultimately, Iran is pushing the buttons among Israel's enemies in the region. We'll have to wait and see what they have in store, but clearly, something is up. Could this escalation in violence be part of a larger plan?