Friday, February 29, 2008
guardian.co.uk, Friday February 29 2008
"An Israeli minister today warned of increasingly bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a "holocaust".
"The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defence minister, told army radio.
Shoah is the Hebrew word normally reserved to refer to the Jewish Holocaust. It is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi extermination of Jews during the second world war, and many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other events.
The minister's statement came after two days of tit-for-tat missile raids between Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army. At least 32 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the surge in violence on Wednesday.
Today Israel activated a rocket warning system to protect Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, from Palestinian attacks.
Ashkelon was hit by several Grad rockets fired from Gaza yesterday. One hit an apartment building, slicing through the roof and three floors below, and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl....."