Israel Targeting Hamas In Gaza But Killing Civilians

One theme running through news reports on the savage Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza is that while they say they are targeting senior Hamas officials and commanders, so far, it seems, they have gotten only a few, but they’ve wiped out many families. As of late Sunday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to the Occupied Palestinian Territories counts 165 dead and 1,084 wounded. Among the dead are 41 children, 5 with disabilities, 23 women, and 15 elderly. The Israeli offensive has destroyed 290 homes and damaged 9,000 others, displacing 3,250 people. Water and sewage infrastructure has been damaged in 8 places affecting 350,000 people. The UN agency lists other humanitarian needs a well. The deadliest strike reported, so far, was the targeting of the Hamas police chief for Gaza. The chief, himself, escaped with moderate injuries, but about 20 other people, mostly family members, were killed. Another 35 people, including many who were exiting a nearby mosque at the time of the strike, were wounded. Also getting wide coverage is the destruction of the Palestine Society for the Disabled in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza on Saturday (July 12). The strike killed 5 people, including two residents who were severely disabled and unable to care for themselves and had lived at the home since it was opened in 1994. The death toll would have been higher except that many of the residents were on weekend visits with relatives. The home’s director said there had been no warning before the building was hit.

International pressure on both the Israeli government and Hamas to stop the fighting is increasing, but there is no sign, yet, that anyone has a credible path to a ceasefire. As has already been widely reported, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that a ceasefire is not on the agenda. News media sources in direct or indirect contact with Hamas also report that Hamas believes there is nothing to talk about. Nor is there a credible mediator in sight. “The problem is that at this stage there’s no cease-fire outline on the table and there’s no clear and reliable mediator to formulate one,” writes Ha’aretz’s Barak Ravid. “Meanwhile, everyone’s talking to everyone: the Egyptians, the Qataris, the Turks, the Americans, Tony Blair, and the UN chief. Netanyahu is waiting for an offer, but if Israel wants the cease-fire to include diplomatic achievements and not just six months of calm, it must initiate an effort of its own volition.”

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