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As night follows the day, deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers lead to deaths of 30 Palestinian civilians

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(photo source: Al Jazeera)
Fuel tanks at Gaza’s only power plant under attack (photo source: Al Jazeera)

Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza’s sole power plant early this morning. As flames spread to fuel tanks, plumes of smoke smothered the dawn, ending a horrific night of bombardment from land, sea and air killing at least 30 Gazans. Some may characterize it as a night of deadly revenge. For there is now an Israeli report that the civilian massacre in Shuja’iyyeh last week and subsequent sniper attacks on civilians were reprisal for the deaths of Israeli soldiers.

El-Amin Mosque
El-Amin Mosque (photo:Sharif Kouddous)

The last Israeli invasion, Cast Lead, lasted 22 days. We are now in Day 21 of Operation Protective Edge, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vows a “protracted” battle. Yesterday, after ten Israeli forces were killed in combat, thousands of residents in the Gaza communities of Shuja’iyya, Zeitoun, Jabaliya, Beit Lahiya, and Beit Hanoun, were sent messages to evacuate their homes before Israel’s bombardment commenced. These strikes were described by teenage Gazan blogger Farah Baker as falling “like the heavy rain of January” as Gazans suffered one of deadliest days so far.

Palestinian officials say more than 110 people have been killed in the past 24 hours. Israel’s targets included refugee homes, a government complex and the El-Amin Mosque.

Baker lives opposite Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital compound. Minutes after the hospital’s outpatient clinic was hit yesterday an attack on the adjacent park at Beach (Shati) refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians, including 9 children. The head of Shifa Hospital’s emergency room staff, Ayman Sahabani, said at least 46 people were also wounded. 

Israel denied its airstrikes were the cause of the massacre at the park. It  blamed “Gaza terrorists whose rockets fell short“. B. at Moon of Alabama picked up a pre scrubbed version of an NBC News article stating that an unnamed  NBC News journalist “witnessed the attack on the hospital and said it had been fired by an Israeli drone.” 

The article now says:

 “Early reports from the ground had said an Israeli drone appeared responsible for the attack..”

–thereby leaving out the information it was one of their own journalist who witnessed the attack.

In retaliation for the attack on the park, Hamas forces infiltrated Israel via a tunnel near the Nahal Oz kibbutz, which is about a mile from the Gaza border, and killed a number of Israeli soldiers. 

Ma’an News reports: Qassam Brigades releases details of Nahal Oz operation that killed at least five soldiers:

The group said that they had managed to infiltrate “behind enemy lines” around 6:45 p.m. of Monday, and killed 10 Israeli soldiers in the operation.

The group added that they attempted to capture a soldier but they were not able to…

On Tuesday, the Israeli military said that five soldiers had been killed in the strike. 

They also claimed the one al-Qassam fighter had died.

Al Jazeera reported the Nahal Oz operation raised to 10 the number of Israeli military fatalities yesterday, bringing the total of Israeli soldiers killed since the beginning of operation “Protective Edge” to 53.

The massacre at the Gaza park, where children were playing, follows the publication of a video (reported here yesterday) of Israelis in Tel Aviv engaged in chants cheering on a genocide of Palestinian children: “There’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left there [in Gaza]! Oleh!”

Some of the Israeli attacks in Gaza have been retribution. This recent posting from Eran Efrati (once chief investigator for Breaking the Silence whose reports have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian) on his Facebook page is chilling testimony to support reports of Israeli snipers killing wounded civilians during the Shuja’iya neighborhood massacre, boldface mine:

In recent weeks I was on the border of Gaza and getting reports from soldiers in the Gaza Strip who leak information out to me. I am in the process of publication of two big stories in major U.S. newspapers, but there are some things I can share with you right now: Soldiers in two different units inside Gaza leaked information about the murdering of Palestinians by sniper fire in Shuja’iyya neighborhood as punishment for the death of soldiers in their units. After the shooting on the Israeli armored personnel carriers, which killed seven soldiers of the Golani Brigade, the Israeli army carried out a massacre in Shuja’iyya neighborhood. A day after the massacre, many Palestinians came to search for their relatives and their families in the rubble. In one of the videos uploaded to YouTube, a young Palestinian man Salem Shammaly calls the names of his family and looking for them between the ruins when he is suddenly shot at in his chest and falls down. A few seconds after that, there are two additional shootings from snipers into his body, killing him instantly. Since the video was released, there was no official response from the IDF spokesperson. Today I can report that the official command that was handed down to the soldiers in Shujaiyya was to capture Palestinian homes as outposts. From these posts, the soldiers drew an imaginary red line, and amongst themselves decided to shoot to death anyone who crosses it. Anyone crossing the line was defined as a threat to their outposts, and was thus deemed a legitimate target. This was the official reasoning inside the units. I was told that the unofficial reason was to enable the soldiers to take out their frustrations and pain at losing their fellow soldiers (something that for years the IDF has not faced during its operations in Gaza and the West Bank), out on the Palestinian refugees in the neighborhood. Under the pretext of the so-called “security threat” soldiers were directed to carry out a pre-planned attack of revenge on Palestinian civilians

Sunrise in Gaza. (photo: @SergioAndresMN)
Sunrise in Gaza. (photo: @SergioAndresMN)
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I get the impression that Israel would like to deal with the Arab problem by starving 1.8 million people. Then they will be that much nearer to the so called Greater Israel. Question is , who in the international community is going to stop them. Then in a year or two , we will have a replay of the same strategy in the West Bank and then only East Jerusalem will be left sort out.… Read more »

I suspect that Netanyahu is intent on doing substantially more than Cast Lead, longer time, more dead, in order to justify himself to his right wing, who would support him killing everyone door to door, and are ready to dump him at the first sign of peace. I believe news coverage should focus more on the pressures on Netanyahu from the most rabid within Israel. What this group is saying, what that minister is saying,… Read more »

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, shares a link to the New York Times interactive of destruction in Gaza.

Satellite imagery shows 600 structures destroyed in Shejaiya neighborhood of #Gaza City. http://t.co/vBnd4Wy6QD pic.twitter.com/MptAOBV0No

The ratio of 3:1 is rather moderate, I think. The overall casualty figures suggest a ratio of at least 20:1. It could go higher, of course, but it is a long way from the 100:1 ratio the Nazis used and this shows how absurd it is to compare Zionism with Nazism (at least for the time being).

Given all the sexualized violence directed towards the Palestinians and the Left I fear there may be some raping when the Golani boys are set loose in Gaza. They’ve already gotten the message that they can take out their “frustrations” out on the civilian population.

And why are they frustrated? Probably because they are not use to having people fighting back. More dangerous than chair wielding Turks.