Alongside the military offensive, officials said Israel would work with its allies to build a durable, long-term truce, and would seek to expedite and increase humanitarian aid. But it would not agree to a proposed 48-hour cease-fire.This is typical of the cynical manipulations that characterize so much of the Israeli relationship to the struggle of the Palestinian people. The Israelis will work to create a peace once it can unilaterally dictate the terms and has wiped out the civilian infrastructure supporting 1.5 million people's lives.
Seen in the context of Israel's denial of access to humanitarian aid, including food, under the blockade that preceeded the Israeli attack, this statement is particularly tragic because the people being attacked are effectively defenseless.
on Thursday morning hit government buildings and the Parliament, while militants fired at least 13 rockets at locations in southern Israel, including two in the city of Beersheba, the Israeli army said. One relatively long-range rocket scored a direct hit on an eight-storey apartment house in Ashdod, some 25 miles from Gaza, according to news reports. No injuries were reported and the Israeli Army said warplanes counter-attacked, hitting the site in Gaza from which the rocket was launched.
NPR is reporting that the entire civil infrastructure of Gazan civil society has been destroyed including medical facilities, the Parliment, and the information infrastructure that supported civil society.
As the NYT reported in In Dense Gaza, Civilians Suffer,
Dr. Madhoun, a general practitioner, was in an ambulance responding to an Israeli strike at the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Another missile hit the ambulance. The driver, Muhammad Abu Hasira, died instantly. Dr. Madhoun lingered for a day, dying of his wounds on Wednesday in the intensive care unit of Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of people have been brought since Israel began its heaviest assault on Gaza in three decades.
The dentist cried.
“He was just doing his work,” said the dentist, who would not give his name. “He’s a doctor, and I can’t understand why Israel would hit an ambulance. They can tell from the cameras it’s an ambulance.”
It has always been this way, over years of conflict here, that civilians are killed in the densely populated Gaza Strip when Israel stages military operations it says are essential for its security. But five days of Israeli airstrikes have surpassed past operations in scale and intensity; the long-distance bombardment of the Hamas-controlled territory has, however well aimed at those suspected of being militants, splintered families and shattered homes in one of the most densely populated places on Earth.
Among the total dead — between 320 and 390, according to the United Nations — Palestinian medical officials say that 38 were children and 25 were women. The United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees said 25 percent of those killed had been civilians. Israel said it knew of 40 civilian deaths but that it was still checking.
The facts and the figures barely begin to capture the horror of the Israeli attack.
“Conditions for parents and children in Gaza are dangerous and frightening,” Maxwell Gaylard, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said in a statement.
“It is absolutely crucial that there is an end to the fighting,” he said. “Without it, more civilians will continue to be killed. Without the violence stopping, it is extremely difficult to get food to people who need it, we cannot assess where the most urgent needs are.”
In the debate over civilian casualties, there is no clear understanding of what constitutes a military target. Palestinians argue that because Hamas is also the government in Gaza, many of the police officers who have been killed were civil servants, not hard-core militants. Israel disagrees, asserting also that a university chemistry laboratory, which it claims was used for making rockets, was a fair target in an attack this week, even if it could not show conclusively that those inside the laboratory at the time where engaged in making weapons.
The Israelis attempt to define their attack in terms of self-defense against terrorism. The Israeli position, as put forward by Shimon Peres on NPR today, is that if the Hamas leadership cared about their people they would stop attacking Israel. However, this position denies the continuous economic and military attack that Israel maintains against the Palestinian people, and which negotiation has proved fruitless to stop. A focus on Hamas and internal Palestinian struggles can confuse the situation. The Israeli attack is destroying the complete civil infrastructure for life for 1.5 million Palestinians. It is an attack against the Palestinian people, not against Hamas.
There have been demonstrations in Indianapolis protesting against the Israeli attack. World wide protests are increasing pressure on Israel to stop their attack.
In the United States, which provides billions of dollars and military support to Israel, we have an opportunity to influence the peace process by demanding an end to all US support for Israel until the Palestinian people have an independent state as laid out under UN resolutions.