In a clear indication of Israel’s shocking callousness and disregard for civilian lives, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon today told PRI’s The Takeaway that most of those killed and injured in Israel’s eight day long bombardment of the Gaza Strip “deserved it.”
“If you compare the situation in Gaza to the situation in Syria today,” Ayalon said, “where the Assad regime just mercilessly butchers people and children there is a big difference and I would say that most of the people that were hit in Gaza deserved it as they were just armed terrorists.”
But in fact, the vast majority of those killed and injured were unarmed civilians. Up to 20 November, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 91 of the 136 Palestinians killed were civilians, including 28 children and 13 women, and 922 of the 941 wounded were civilians, including 258 children.
So 66% of those killed, and 97% of those injured were civilians. Almost one third of the dead are children.
PRI, notably, did not challenge Ayalon on his false assertions.
News reports say that at least 22 more Palestinians were killed on 21 November, including at least two more children.
Earlier today, BBC correspondent Wyre Davies told World Service radio, “It’s quite alarming how many young children have been killed in this conflict.”
A video by Egyptian citizen journalists taken at Gaza City’s main hospital vividly shows the extent of the deaths and injuries to civilians.
In addition to the dead and injured, large numbers of civilians have been displaced. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said that: "Many families are gathering in overcrowded apartments located in areas that they hope are less likely to be targeted. However, as shelling of residential building persists, the population grows weary and evermore fearful."
The remaining 34% of the dead presumably include members of Palestinian resistance factions, some of whom will have been killed by Israel in what amount to extrajudicial executions while they were in their homes or other places.
It is only by comparison with the dire situation in Syria that Ayalon hopes he can prettify Israel’s horrifying crimes. But it is clear that Israel’s crimes, and the responsibility of leaders like Ayalon for directly ordering them or complicity in them, stands on its own.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza on 14 November, breaking a tenuous ceasefire, four Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed in fire from Gaza and 21 Israelis were injured this morning in a bomb explosion on a bus near Israel’s “defense ministry” in the heart of Tel Aviv.
Ayalon’s comments came as Israel and Palestinian resistance factions agreed to a ceasefire. Under the terms of the deal brokered by Egypt, Israel will cease all attacks, incursions and extrajudicial executions in Gaza and ease the blockade, while Palestinian factions will refrain from firing toward Israel.
What remains to be seen is if the ceasefire will take hold and if Israel will implement its terms, given its history of violating such truces.
[Reprinted from Electronic Intifada.]