The attack on a school shelter in Gaza that killed at least 15 Palestinians marks a brutal phase in the conflict with Israel. The international outcry against the killing of civilians in the Palestinian enclave hasn’t had any effect on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which seems to have found a ruse to embark on a fusillade of attacks against Gaza after the killing of three Israeli teens triggered the current confrontation.
Gaza is a small territory in which 1.8 million Palestinians live in cramped conditions. Israel’s contention that it warns Gazans sufficiently in advance about impending attacks is preposterous. Where can families, often big ones at that, go every time the Israeli military warns them with dud missiles or leaflets of an approaching strike?
In the latest attack that killed several sleeping children in the UN-run school, Palestinians must have been warned, but so was Israel. According to the United Nations, the Israeli military was informed 17 times about the location of the school. Yet it chose to target the building where so many Palestinians have been housed to escape the war. This is the fifth UN school to be targeted in 23 days during which the conflict has been raging. Worldwide condemnation fuelled by images of Palestinians wailing over the bodies of their loved ones has failed to force Tel Aviv to end hostilities or even consider scaling them down.
Israel has defended its action saying the attack was in retaliation to missiles being launched from the vicinity of the school.
Netanyahu yesterday said the campaign against Gaza won’t stop till the tunnel network used to launch attacks against Israel is destroyed. A total of 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the ongoing conflict. Even an admonition by the world body hasn’t forced Israel to stop in its tracks.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield system has kept casualties low on its side with 58 casualties, 56 of them civilians. Amid worldwide protests against Israeli strikes, the voice of sanity has failed to prevail. Israel, being ruled by a government that sees the presence of Palestinians and Hamas as existential threats, has been growing more hostile over the years. Emboldened by a worldwide diaspora that enjoys most support in the western world, Tel Aviv has been spreading its footprint steadily by building more settlements. It allows its citizens to gloat in the realisation that they are in a cocoon provided by their government and the West.
Israel has inflicted more casualties on the Palestinians than it has suffered. However, Netanyahu should understand that Palestinians are an unrelenting spirit. Their sufferings over the decades have made them resilient to the most extreme onslaughts. By killing more of them, Israel is working to cement their resolve rather than weaken it•