|One of the lucky children who wasn't killed by Israeli forces|
At the risk of causing a fire storm I am going to venture some thoughts on the horrors going on between Israel and its Palestinian citizens and neighbors. The murder of three Israeli teenagers - the spark for the current increased violence - is reprehensible, but the murder of Palestinian youths, children and families does not only serves to undermine support for Israel by decent and moral people. Ironically, perhaps that is the goal of Hamas. The other irony is that many Israelis are descendants of those who survived the horrors of World War II and the Nazi Final Solution, yet the leadership in Israel strikes me as being incapable of seeing the humanity of Palestinians as fellow humans. Indeed, the mindset is akin to that of racists who cannot see the humanity of blacks and other minorities and Christofascists who view gays as less than human. A piece in The Guardian looks at the latest sad news about the murder of four Palestinian children and the wounding of others by Israeli forces. Here are highlights:
The first projectile hit the sea wall of Gaza City's little harbour just after four o'clock. As the smoke from the explosion thinned, four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.
Jumping off the harbour wall, they turned on to the beach, attempting to cross the short distance to the safety of the Al-Deira hotel, base for many of the journalists covering the Gaza conflict.
They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime.
It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: "They are only children."
In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen's shacks on the wall were dead. They were aged between seven and 11; two were named Mohammad, one Zakaria and the youngest Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family.
Three others who were injured made it to the hotel: Hamad Bakr, aged 13, with shrapnel in his chest; his cousin Motasem, 11, injured in his head and legs, and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21, who was hit by shrapnel in his stomach.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident. The Israel Defence Force told the AFP in a statement: "Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives. The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome."
The Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, on Wednesday formally rejected Egypt's ceasefire proposal that had been accepted by Israel to end the nine-day-old conflict that has left at least 213 Palestinians and one Israeli dead.
Alongside the air strikes, Israel told tens of thousands of residents of the northern town of Beit Lahiya and the Zeitoun and Shujai'iya neighbourhoods of Gaza City– all near the Israel border – to evacuate their homes by 8am. The warnings came by automated phonecalls, texts and leaflets dropped from planes.
The Israeli military said in its message that large numbers of rockets were being launched from these areas and that Israel planned to bomb these locations.
"Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families," the message said.
Part of me wants to say "a pox on both their houses." On the other hand, the continued brutality by Israel makes me want to contact my U.S. Senators and demand that they vote to cut off all aid to Israel. Is that the emotion Israel is seeking to evoke? I suspect not.