“In the deadliest attack since Israel launched its assault on Gaza twelve days ago, up to forty-two Palestinians died on Tuesday after Israel fired mortars at a United Nations school that was sheltering Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes. Fifty-five Palestinians were also wounded in the attack. Doctors said all of the victims were civilians, including many children. We speak with Christopher Gunness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
“In the 12 days of Israel’s war on Gaza, the shelling of a United Nations school on Tuesday has been the most shocking incident. More than 40 people were killed. Israel claims the school was a legitimate target because rockets were fired from it. But the UN has vehemently denied those claims.
Al Jazeera is the only international news channel with correspondents on both sides of the border. Ayman Mohyeldin visited what’s left of the school, and the families now in mourning.”
Related News: Thousands of people flee their homes in southern Gaza after threats by the army
Date: Wednesday January 07, 2009 20:04
Thousands of Palestinian residents from the southern Gaza strip city of Rafah were forced to flee their homes on Wednesday after threats by the Israeli army of shelling them.
Local media sources reported that Israeli jet fighters drooped leaflets warning people that they are going to shell their homes. The Sources added that around three thousand people have left their homes so far since the morning due to the warnings.
The military leaflet told residents to run for their lives “Because Hamas uses your houses to hide and smuggle military weapons, the IDF will attack the area, between the Egyptian border until the beach road,” local residents said.
The Israeli army confirmed the leaflets, Israeli sources reported.
After 12 days of Israeli continued attacks on Gaza the death toll reached today 700 people, half of that number is from children and women, and more than 2900 injured among them 200 in critical conditions.
GRITtv with Laura Flanders » Phyllis Bennis: Darkness in Gaza: “According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli Defense Forces were instructed to prepare for an aerial assault and ground invasion of Gaza six months ago, even as they were negotiating a ceasefire.
The story begins: ‘Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces ‘Cast Lead’ operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.’
Phyllis Bennis, director of The New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of many books including Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, says that this fact alone belies Israel’s claim that the war in Gaza is a direct response to Hamas rocket fire. Bennis says that the war has much more to do with Israeli and US politics than with stopping Hamas rockets and that their hope is to finish the operation by the time Barack Obama is inaugurated. President elect Obama finally broke his silence yesterday deploring the loss of civilian life in Gaza and Israel. He said that, ‘starting at the beginning of our administration, we’re going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.’
Bennis also argues that numerous violations of international law have occurred. One, the prohibition against collective punishment. The Geneva Conventions state that no member of an occupied population may be punished for an act they were not responsible for. Hamas rocket fire, which up until the invasion had killed zero Israelis, does not give Israel the right to punish the 1.5 million people of Gaza–half of whom are under the age of 14. Two, the prohibition against disproportionate attacks. Thus far over 600 Palestinians have been killed, at least 195 of them children. Seven Israeli soldiers have died in fighting. Three, the targeting of civilians is also a violation of international law.
So the international community has an obligation to bring an end to the war and suffering in Gaza.”