The ongoing ground incursion of Gaza by Israel begun July 18 and has, according to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) greatly accelerated the casualty rate, especially with respect to the numbers of displaced families.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that “following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.”
It said the goal was to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.”
The overwhelming majority of people killed so far in the conflict are Palestinians, including 121 Gaza children under the age of 18, Juliette Touma of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.
Today, Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day ethnic cleansing of Palestinians
war against the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Pools of blood stained the school courtyard in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit. Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed.
The deaths raised the overall Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 to at least 751. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 18, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation. Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed by rocket or mortar fire.
More than 900 Palestinian children are also reported to have been injured, according to UNICEF.
Israel says it has carried out more than 2,000 attacks on Gaza since 8 July, while militants have fired some 1,380 rockets at Israel.
The UN says at least 1,370 homes have been destroyed in Gaza and more than 18,000 people displaced in recent hostilities.
“According to an assessment by aid workers on ground at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said during a briefing in Geneva.
More than 1.2 million of the 1.8 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damaged or lack fuel for generators, Laerke said.
“In addition, we do have reports of sewage flooding which is a threat to public health,” Laerke said.
The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) has distributed emergency food rations and food vouchers to more than 90,000 people so far, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.
* More than 500 killed in densely-populated enclave
* 121 children killed, 900 wounded, UNICEF says
* More than 1.2 mln in Gaza have no or little water
* Ready-to-eat food stocks running low, WFP warns
* Three hospitals among 18 damaged health facilities (adds statements by UNRWA and WHO)
The World Health Organization said that 18 health facilities in Gaza have been damaged, including three hospitals.
An Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 16, the Health Ministry said.
Hospitals in northern Gaza have been overwhelmed by high numbers of trauma cases and their inadequate supplies, it said.
While the International Committee of the Red Cross, guardian of the rules of war, condemned the attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital which it said had come under “direct fire at least four times”, most countries have, most notably the United States, have remained nothing but bystanders to this massacre.
Warring parties are obliged under international humanitarian law to protect medical personnel, ambulances and facilities, the ICRC said in a statement issued late on Monday.
“There is literally no safe place for civilians,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news briefing in Geneva.
The death toll is rising in the coastal enclave which has an estimated 4,500 people per square kilometer, he said. The priority for aid agencies was protecting civilians and evacuating and treating the wounded.
Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they need food, water and mattresses, he said.
“This number continues to increase by the hour,” UNRWA said in a statement on Tuesday, raising its emergency funding appeal to $115 million from $60 million.
Israel’s Genocidal Ambitions and the Apartheid State
To put it in a nutshell: this is horrifying. The argument that Hamas uses civilian locations to hide and launch rockets does not explain, nor justify, Israel’s decision to, say, shell children playing on an open beach.
Sure, one can argue that this is all Hamas’s fault for continuing to fire rockets at Israeli population centers, and doing so in midst of their own civilians, knowing full well what Israel’s response will be. However, that still does not make Israel massacring innocent civilians and children any more ok or understandable. Murdering children is murdering children. There is no grey area.
Of course, the other question here is why the Palestinian people keep re-electing the Hamas.
Some argue that the Hamas’ are leaders of an occupied resistance, others call them terrorists, and yet others call them both.
I may be in the camp of those who call them both and given what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people whose lands they stole based on a book they themselves wrote, I have to say I do not blame them for turning to Hamas to do their fighting.
After all, who else do they have? The Palestinian people have nothing. They have no allies, they have no voice in the international community, they don’t have a standing army.
As Dorothy Zellner, a member of the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace, noted “[T]he Palestinians have no army, no air force, no navy, not even an airfield. The Israelis, on the other hand, have super high-tech weaponry.” They also have Iron Dome which has been incredibly effective at shooting down rockets.
Additionally, and thus unlike Palestine, Israel has been receiving over $3 billion in aid, much of which went toward its defense, from the United States in the last year alone.
That is an awful lot of might, behind which is rhetoric like: “When there is no ceasefire, our answer is fire.” Which suggests a parity that does not exist.
Or like: “[Israel] is continuing to pound Hamas and its infrastructure,” without regard for the fact that the population of Gaza is not, in fact, synonymous with “Hamas and its infrastructure.” Children are not Hamas and its infrastructure.
At a certain point, being right becomes less important than doing the right thing.
Or, at least not doubling down on the wrong thing.
So when I hear people say that it is all Hamas’ fault, I ask again: what are the Palestinians supposed to do?
What is anyone whose back is against the wall and desperate, to do? Like a drowning person holding on to whatever he can get his hands on, can we blame Palestinians for holding on to the only entity that is doing their bidding while they are drowning under Israel’s yoke and apartheid regime?
Again, Palestinians have no one on their side and for better or worse, Hamas is all they got.
In fact, the only reason that groups like Hamas have any broad appeal among the Palestinian population is because of Israeli policies permitting the taking of Palestinian land, separating Palestinians from the population, forcing them to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.
You cannot blame a peoples who are the subject of ethnic cleansing, peoples whose lands have been stolen from them, for holding on to anything that resembles some kind of a help.
And then there is my primary concern at this point, which is the utter disproportion of a conflict that has consequences far beyond merely “striking a significant blow” to Hamas’ military arm.
Israel didn’t suffer many casualties from the Hamas rockets that provoked this latest assault! Yet, they’ve ended up killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians in response – most of whom have been children.
The Israeli response has been so disproportionate that they’ve come out of this looking like monsters; like the sort of people that drop-kick a chihuahua into a roaring fireplace after it nips them in the ankle.
The World Is Just Standing By
Sadly, because this is Israel and because the United States is beholden to the Zionist lobby and because we give them billions of dollars of aide each year and because any criticism of Israel’s apartheid regime will immediately be shot down as antisemitism, the world is standing by with officials merely verbally condemning the attacks but without anyone stepping in and actually doing something.
While I, of course, am not denying that antisemitism is quite prevalent, when it comes to Israel’s occupation of Palestine I think that term has been milked for all it’s worth by the Israelis and their Zionist supporters who justify their sinister ambitions and the creation of an apartheid state by calling any criticism of Israel antisemitism, when in reality what Israel is doing, and has been doing, is a gross violation of all sorts of international laws and human rights.
Criticizing the massacre of children and innocent civilians is not antisemitism.
A few months ago we were ready to launch an attack against Syria citing human rights violations and the use of white phosphorous against civilians. Now, Israel is doing exactly that and President Obama is scratching his balls, doing absolutely nothing.
And what does all of this accomplish for Israel, really, other than sapping its moral authority and creating a large, angry class of mistreated individuals? Don’t even give me that “Jewish state” bullshit. You cannot actively disenfranchise people in order to maintain racial or religious purity, and call yourself a modern democracy at the same time. Israel needs to drop its pseudo-theocratic aims and grant equal rights under the laws to Palestinians, or else admit that it’s a backwater theocracy undeserving of international respect.
US Citizens Subsidizing The Murder of Palestinians
The conflict for this strip of land has been going on for over 60 years and it is not going end as long as Israel disenfranchises people to maintain a religious or racial purity, as long as the likes of Netanyahu come to the US war mongering under the guise of “providing aide” and as long as Israel forces Palestinians to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.
We need to stop helping Israel’s genocidal regime and let it fight its own wars. US tax payer dollars need not support the continued atrocities and murders of innocent people.