Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza on are the worst the enclave has seen since 2014, when Israeli forces killed 2,200 Palestinians, and Palestinian resistance fighters killed 72 Israelis. One recent Israeli strike alone made about 80 families homeless. As the deaths, injuries, and damage climb, Palestinian resistance groups launch rockets into Israel.
by Kathryn Shihadah
(This is an update to yesterday’s report.)
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza now appears to stand at 27 – at least 8 of them children* – as Israel continued its attacks on Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday. In addition, Israeli forces reportedly shot dead a young Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Nablus. In retaliation, resistance groups in Gaza have launched hundreds of rockets toward Israel, killing 5 in Israel.**
Over 175 Palestinians and more than two dozen Israelis were also injured.
Head of the government information office for Gaza, Salameh Marouf, declared that 56 Israeli airstrikes had utilized over 120 missiles “against civilian targets,” including near two schools, a Covid quarantine center, 15 homes, and 6 factories.
An Israeli missile assassinated a Hamas military leader on Tuesday, along with his wife; 25 other Palestinians were wounded in the blast.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that the Israeli army attacked buildings adjacent to a hospital in Gaza, damaging the hospital as well as the other buildings – a violation of international law and a possible war crime. [NOTE: Israel is currently under investigation for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.]
Israeli forces destroyed a 12-story residential tower in Gaza housing 80 families and an office for Gaza’s civilian political leadership. IMEMC reports that residents had just evacuated. No casualties were reported, but somewhere in the range of 600 men, women, and children are estimated to have been made homeless by the attack.
The Times of Israel noted that on Monday Israel closed, without warning, the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel. The crossing, completely controlled by Israel, is the only entry point for goods, including food and humanitarian aid. Erez, the only residential crossing, is also closed until further notice. Erez is the only route for medical patients to get treatment outside Gaza.
Israel’s additional ban of all fishing in the Mediterranean Sea only adds to Gazans’ food insecurity.
Following Israel’s attack on the residential tower, Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas, retaliated by launching a barrage of rockets toward Tel Aviv.
Gazan rockets, which were first launched in 2001 after Israeli airstrikes had killed 570 Palestinians, have killed a total of 32 Israelis. During the same period, Israeli air attacks have killed over 4,000 Gazans.
Hamas has signaled its solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem, which has been facing its own crisis.
The city has for several weeks been a flashpoint, as Israel has severely hindered Palestinian movement, and Israeli forces have injured approximately 400 Palestinian worshipers and protesters. The Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah has been the site of additional protests, as a number of families face imminent eviction to make room for illegal Israeli settlers to take over their homes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that the Gazan resistance “will pay a heavy price for their belligerence,” adding, “both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased.”
The White House condemned the rocket attacks, declaring Israel’s right to defend itself, without addressing the death toll in Gaza; Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the need for both sides to “enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy.”
Blinken has boasted that during Israel’s 2014 onslaught against Gaza, he had engineered a quarter of billion dollars of US tax money be sent to Israel.
The United States gives Israel over $3.8 billion a year in military aid.
* This number reflects new information from a just-released investigation by Defense for Children International-Palestine.
** One was an Indian citizen
Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. She also blogs at Palestine Home.