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Steve Hendrix, Shira Rubin and Michael E. Miller at WaPo report that Israeli air strikes on the densely populated urban areas of the Gaza Strip had by Thursday evening killed 109 Palestinians, among them 28 children, and had wounded 621 persons.
The Israeli Air Force deliberately destroyed some of Gaza’s taller buildings, alleging that the ruling Hamas party had offices in them. They gave advance warning so that families could leave their homes. But the huge bombs falling on a civilian city inevitably did damage also to nearby buildings and have left families homeless. Flying glass and debris injured noncombatants.
Claire Parker and Adam Taylor at WaPo report that Hamas and other militant groups in the Palestinian Gaza strip have fired a thousand rockets into Israel since Monday. Almost all landed uselessly in the desert or were intercepted by Israeli Iron Dome interceptors. Despite being unguided, some landed on buildings or parked cars, apparently more or less by accident, and they killed seven Israelis, including a teenage boy and a young girl. These are war crimes on the part of Hamas and the other groups in Gaza, since indiscriminate fire into civilian areas is strictly forbidden in international law.
It has to be underlined, however, that the thousand rockets did not damage a thousand buildings. More like a handful. Most Gaza rockets only travel 3 to 6 miles, and at that range they just stir up desert sand. Hamas has deployed a few longer range rockets, and hit Tel Aviv.
But the rockets are still primitive and there weren’t many longer distance ones.
This is psychological warfare. The organization is letting Israelis know that it can strike relatively distant targets. The barrage was provoked by the Israeli attack on worshipers in the al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas styles itself and Islamic party and could not let this defilement of Muslim sacred space go unanswered.
The rockets killed Israeli noncombatants, which is terrorism.
But there is also a principle of proportionality in the law of war.