The Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip began on Saturday, a week after a six-month ceasefire was called off by Gaza’s Hamas leadership. It was one of the bloodiest days in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli F16 fighter planes flew almost continuously, pouring fire on targets throughout the tiny coastal territory.
The target of the strikes was Hamas infrastructure: security compounds, government buildings and police stations. Most of the dead were policemen, but Gaza is one of the most overcrowded territories in the world. Inevitably, women and children were among the dead. The strikes were in response to renewed rocket attacks by Palestinian militants firing on Israel from across the border. Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, expressed defiance in a television address by its leader, Ismael Haniyeh. “This butchery forms an integral part of the Israeli strategy, the purpose of which is to strike at the resistance that historically the Palestinian people have showed wherever they are,” he said. “But even if you have killed thousands of us, even if they’re our children, you will never kill our pride and our dignity.”