Israel shrugs at excessive civilian casualties in Gaza. So does Hamas. | EUROtoday

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Almost each time it emerges that Israeli forces have killed massive numbers of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Israel and its supporters invoke their repeated mantra: It’s all of the fault of militant group Hamas.

That was the road that adopted Saturday’s bloody occasions, when an Israeli navy operation freed 4 hostages in central Gaza and killed at the very least 274 Palestinians, a lot of whom have been civilians together with dozens of youngsters, based on Gazan well being authorities. Locals described to my colleagues the “doomsday” scenes within the crowded Nuseirat refugee camp, with firefights and Israeli aerial bombardments turning streets right into a “hall of blood,” as one eyewitness put it.

Israeli officers have been jubilant in regards to the mission and pinned the collateral injury on their enemy. “Every civilian life lost in this war is a result of how Hamas has operated,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner informed ABC on Sunday. Israeli officers routinely deny fees that they’ve intentionally focused civilians and blame Hamas for working in areas the place civilians are put in danger. A rising physique of worldwide authorized consultants and jurists allege Israel has dedicated battle crimes; Israel is locked in trial proceedings on the highest U.N. court docket on genocide fees and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant each may even see the International Criminal Court subject warrants for his or her arrest.

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“The fact that your adversary is breaking international humanitarian law does not change your obligations,” Adil Haque, a regulation professor at Rutgers Law School, informed my colleagues. “The foreseeable harm to civilians was disproportionate to the legitimate aim of rescuing the four hostages.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israel has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since it began its campaign of retribution against Hamas, which launched an unprecedented terrorist strike Oct. 7 on towns and villages in southern Israel. The war, by various measures, is among the most destructive conflicts of the 21st century, with much of Gaza pulverized by Israeli offensives and the bulk of its population displaced by the fighting and plunged into a spiraling set of humanitarian calamities.

Stung by the events of Oct. 7 — the bloodiest day in the history of the Jewish people since the Holocaust — the Israeli public has generally shown little compassion for Gazans caught in the crossfire. Some prominent Israeli officials and politicians have openly declared that there are “no innocents” amongst Gaza’s 2 million plus inhabitants. As it was, the need for collective punishment on the residents of Gaza, the place Hamas has held sway for greater than a decade and a half, existed in Israel nicely earlier than Oct. 7.

“People have not cared about the Palestinian casualty count the whole time, and the media doesn’t really report it, so I wouldn’t expect them to start caring about it now, during of all things a rescue operation,” Mairav Zonszein, senior Israel analyst on the International Crisis Group, informed the Guardian this week. “As we have seen before, there is an Israeli narrative in the war and an international narrative, and they don’t really meet.”

An Israeli raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp that freed 4 hostages killed at the very least 274 Palestinians on June 8, Gazan well being officers mentioned. (Video: The Washington Post)

Hamas has its personal narrative, too. The group, listed as a terrorist group by the United States, casts itself on the coronary heart of the resistance to Israeli occupation and says it efficiently blew up the established order that surrounded the Israeli-Palestinian battle and the frozen peace course of between either side. In April, even because the group confronted main losses to its armed wing and the hideous toll exacted on Gaza’s civilians grew, Khaled Meshal, one in all Hamas’s leaders in exile, informed an viewers in Qatar that his faction was additional down “the path of liberating Palestine and defeating the Zionist project.”

Meshal was talking within the wake of an Israeli airstrike that killed some relations of Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh. The incident apparently elicited an analogous response from Yehiya Sinwar, the shadowy Hamas chief inside Gaza who is taken into account to be one of many masterminds of the Oct. 7 assault. In an April 11 message to Haniyeh, Sinwar allegedly informed his colleague that the lack of his sons and different Palestinians throughout the battle would “infuse life into the veins of this nation, prompting it to rise to its glory and honor.”

The particulars of Sinwar’s correspondence have been reported Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, which obtained dozens of messages he reportedly relayed to cease-fire negotiators, Hamas officers and others outdoors of Gaza. (The Washington Post was unable to independently confirm the Journal’s reporting.)

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar mentioned in a latest message, based on the Journal, to Hamas officers working to dealer an settlement with Qatari and Egyptian officers. The inference right here, the Journal famous, was that Sinwar believed additional Israeli hostilities and mounting Palestinian casualties performed into his group’s arms. In a separate message, he likened the lack of Palestinian lives in Gaza to the demise tolls in different revolutionary conflicts, together with Algeria’s battle for independence. He mentioned that “these are necessary sacrifices.”

Hamas officers on Monday welcomed a U.N. Security Council decision to help the American-backed cease-fire plan for Gaza. On Tuesday, in addition they responded to the newest proposed cease-fire deal, with the United States and different Arab nations fitfully attempting to dealer a truce between Israel and the Palestinian faction. “The proposed deal would begin with a six-week cease-fire that includes the withdrawal of Israeli troops from heavily populated areas of Gaza; the freeing of all women, elderly people and children held hostage in return for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes throughout Gaza; and a surge in humanitarian aid to the starving enclave,” my colleagues reported.

In its response, based on officers with data of the negotiations, Hamas wished additional readability on a timeline for a everlasting cease-fire and particulars relating to the entire withdrawal of Israeli troops. Talks will proceed with Secretary of State Antony Blinken slated to journey to Doha, the Qatari capital, on Wednesday. For their half, Netanyahu and his right-wing allies have balked on the notion of a cease-fire forward of “total victory” over Hamas — an goal many Israelis, together with former wartime cupboard member Benny Gantz, who stop this weekend, imagine is unimaginable to attain.

On Tuesday, Blinken informed reporters that “if Hamas doesn’t say yes” to the present deal on supply, then the battle persevering with could be “clearly on them.” But he additionally gestured at Netanyahu’s seeming unwillingness to come back to the desk with a transparent “day after” plan for Gaza that may assist heal the injuries of the battle in addition to push Israelis and Palestinians towards reconciliation.

“There has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan, in order to ensure Hamas does not in any shape or form resume control of Gaza,” Blinken mentioned.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/12/hamas-death-toll-gaza-sinwar-messages/