Today, the death toll in Gaza has climbed to 90. Half of the dead are women and children. 550 Palestinians have been injured. The IAF launched what its PR flack, Lt Col Peter Lerner, called a “precision strike” aimed at a Gaza beachside cafe where a dozen people were watching a soccer match. Apparently wanted Gaza fugitives like to watch soccer matches on the beach in broad daylight. Eight were killed including three sets of brothers.
Today brought the first serious Israeli casualties when an Ashdod gas station was hit, with one person severely injured. An IDF soldier was also severely wounded by mortar shrapnel.
In at least three separate instances, the air force has deliberately targeted private homes in which families sheltered. In some instances, all or most of the families were wiped out. Israel’s claim is that it is targeting the homes of militant leaders. Though those killed were family members, Israel mendaciously claims they were “human shields.” The only army in the region which actually does use human shields is the IDF, which has strapped young Palestinians to the hoods of jeeps. Such actions are forbidden by the Israeli Supreme Court, one among many rulings which the army has ignored.
The “quality” of targets the IAF is hitting may be seen in the bombing of Gaza’s would-be international airport which was last demolished by similar bombing two years ago. They’re bombing targets they destroyed in the last war! It reminds me a bit of the Confirm the Kill policy, by which IDF soldiers who merely wound Palestinians then put a point blank range shot into their heads to assure their prey is dead.
Israel’s ranking in world press freedom indices will be falling next year as they take into account yet more assaults of Palestinian media. The IDF called the home of a cameraman from Palestinian TV telling him they would destroy it. The army also hit a vehicle clearly marked as “TV” and killed another media worker.
Now the IDF has threatened 100,000 Gazans living near the border with Israel with death if they do not abandon their homes. This too is collective punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention. This is not an academic issue. Israel must be held accountable. If the world community allows Israel to escape any accounting for its actions, it will make a mockery of the whole notion of international law.
Israel is engaged in wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians. This is an inexcusable, indefensible war crime. Comparing the scale of the respective Israeli and Gazan assaults, it’s as if one side used a nuclear weapon and the other a slingshot. While I believe that no civilians on either side of this conflict should be harmed or targeted, the fact that 90 Palestinians and no Israelis are dead, should tell you something.
Palestinian rockets reached Haifa and the Mediterranean coastline at Hadera for the first time. Israel is claiming that 27% of Palestinian rockets have been intercepted and that its success rate is 90%. Though given that aiming a Palestinian rocket is a bit like steering an ocean liner with a kayak rudder, and that Israel offers no proof, its claims have to be viewed skeptically, as this report does.
You may remember a few brief summers ago when social justice was all the rage on Rothschild Blvd in Tel Aviv. Now, Haaretz tells us Protective Edge will cost Israel close to $3-billion (with a “B”). This is why Israel isn’t a normal state, but rather a perpetual war garrison state. Any commitment to improve the lives of citizens is secondary to the god of national security.
During Operation Pillar of Cloud I launched a Facebook page, No to Gaza War. To my sorrow, I’m renewing the page. Use it as a place to update us with news, blog posts, pictures, videos and eyewitness testimony about so-called Operation Protective Edge.
The very notion of calling this invasion by its Israeli bestowed name, Protective Edge, is racist. Why do we accept the IDF’s nomenclature? What do Gazans call it? Does anyone care? It only reinforces the notion that western media accept the Israeli narrative and give little or no thought to the suffering of the victims bearing the brunt. I’d rather call this disaster Operation Punching Bag, since that’s how Israel treats Gaza. It reminds me of the mean old farmer who, when he’s had a bad day, gives his dog a swift kick. For no reason other than that he can.
The Obama administration’s position has been abysmal. It’s expressed support for Israel’s wholesale attack on Gaza civilians, but criticized a ground invasion. Pres. Obama only today phoned Bibi and offered to broker a ceasefire. Given what good relations exist between the two, surely his offer will be accepted. The only good thing I can say about this is that Obama has begun to act more quickly than he did during Operation Pillar of Cloud and than George Bush did during the month-long Lebanon War. He must act to stop a ground invasion.
An indication that the State Department expects one is this official announcement of an evacuation of U.S. citizens in Gaza. It asks for information from all citizens seeking to leave by July 11th. I’d look to July 12th being the day the invasion begins.