After nearly four full days of fighting and a death toll rapidly approaching the 400 mark, it appears that the Israel and Gaza conflict is far from over. Israel just announced it is ready for “long weeks of attacks” and is stepping up its air strike campaign that began last Saturday.
United Nations Condemnation of Israeli Action
Spokespeople for the United Nations have demonstrated a unified voice in demanding an end to the air strikes, claiming they are disproportionate to the Palestine bombing which are imprecise, and are incapable of the massive destruction that the Israeli forces can, and have, inflicted.
Richard Falk, a U.N. official for Human Rights in the Palestinian territories, said that the bombings were a “shocking series of atrocities.” In an interview with the BBC, Falk said that Israel was “using modern weaponry against a defenseless population” whilst members of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) have announced: “Israeli missiles tore through a children’s playground and a busy market in Diere Balah.” Fellow campaigner, Canadian Eva Bartlett of the International Solidarity Movement, added “[I] witnessed a last rocket hit the street 150 meters away where crowds had already gathered to try to extract the dead bodies.”
Targeting Hamas Installations
It is estimated that at least 60 of those Palestinians killed in this conflict have been women or children, even though Israeli officials are adamant they are targeting only Hamas buildings and terrorist compounds. The officials have conceded, however, that because of the proximity of Hamas with the general population, civilian casualties were something they were prepared for.
After days of bombardments along the fringe of the Israeli border, Israel has stated that its aim was to end rocket attacks by Hamas and militants linked with the group. This follows the expiration of a six month ceasefire and is largely seen as a show of strength by an Israeli government who is mindful of the approaching election in February.
The Israeli Position on the Gaza Strikes
The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quick to point out on the commencement of the air strikes that Israel had to draw a line under the “continual artillery attacks” whilst saying, “Now is the time for battle.”
Ehud Barak further clarified that the chief aims of the strike were threefold: to hit Hamas rebels hard, to then use this to create fundamental changes in the region, and to end the artillery attacks against the Israeli people.
To this end, Ehud Barak said that Israel would not falter in its strikes and drew on recent American incursions, saying that “the war on terror is an ongoing war.”
Around the world, protests by Human Rights groups are being held with large scale public support. The international community as a whole is keen to reinforce its statement that an all out conflict should be avoided at all costs, and that the bombings should cease on both sides as soon as possible.
The Israeli Defense Minister, however, does not think that a cessation to violence is in the immediate future, saying, “The operation will be deepened and expanded as much as necessary. I don’t want to delude anyone. It won’t be easy or short, but we have to be determined.”
If you would like to show your support for ending Israel strikes against Palestine and Israel’s control over the region, you may like to join this Care2 group. To urge Israel to agree to a ceasefire, please take action to stop the violence in Gaza.