Yesterday, Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who had accused of war crimes the perpetrators of a rocket attack from Gaza which had killed three Israelis some days earlier, announced with satisfaction that 1,000 “targets” of the “infrastructure of terrorism” in Gaza had been hit by the Israeli airforce. Earlier the same day, an Israeli munition killed twelve members of the same family in Gaza, including four young children.
As President Obama, UK Foreign Minister Hague and other European leaders lined up behind Netanyahu to support Israel’s “right to self-defence”, the Israeli Prime Minister said that the airforce operations,and presumably the shelling and rocket-firing of the navy, would be expanded, in order to halt the firing of rockets from Gaza.
Today, another night’s onslaught by Israeli forces has caused sleep deprivation and trauma to a whole population too well accustomed to it, but never any more immune to its effects on their health, particularly that of young children. The bombing by airforce and navy continues unabated. At 14.30 GMT today (Monday 19th Nov) the Palestinian death toll stands at 92 and the wounded over 700.
Below is an excerpt from a statement by Friends of Sabeel UK and FoS North America, outlining the key points of escalation and attempts at de-escalation in the initial days of the current conflict. Jeff Halper, ICAHD Director, spoke at a Sabeel North America conference a month ago. ICAHD UK encourages British people to write to their MPs, quoting from the information below, and task them to call on Mr Hague, Foreign Secretary, to recognise publicly that Israel have no grounds to declare an unilateral right to self-defence, when the reality is that Israel is the primary and disproportionate aggressor.
Nearly four years after Operation Cast Lead, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead, Israel has launched a new assault, killing Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari. In the week before the air strikes began, Israeli attacks killed at least six people in Gaza, and since the aerial bombardments started on Wednesday, many more have died, including a three-year-old child, an infant of 11 months, and a 65-year-old man.
Although the media and the U.S. State Department describe the attacks as retaliation after several days of rocket fire from Gaza, the sequence of events actually began on Nov. 8th, when Israel invaded Gaza with eight tanks and four bulldozers, shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy who was playing soccer. Palestinian fighters then blew up a tunnel along the Israeli border, injuring one Israeli soldier. On Nov.10th an Israeli shell killed two children in a soccer field, and Israel fired shells at a tent where mourners were gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians. The following day Israeli attacks killed another Palestinian civilian, and the Israeli transportation minister called for cutting off water, food electricity and fuel to the 1.7 million people in Gaza.
Over those four days, dozens of Palestinians were injured by Israeli attacks, and Palestinian fighters fired rockets into Israel, injuring four civilians. On Nov. 12, militant groups in Gaza agreed to a ceasefire if Israel ended its attacks. Two days later, on Nov. 14, Israel broke the calm by assassinating Ahmed Jabari, the head of the Hamas military wing and began aerial and sea bombardment, resulting in the death, so far, of 86 Palestinians. 3 Israelis have also died in rocket attacks from Gaza.
(From a statement by Friends of Sabeel UK, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mon 19th Novemeber, 12.30 GMT.)