Monday marked the deadliest single day for Palestinian civilians in Israel's 'Operation Pillar of Defense' bombing campaign of Gaza.
Democracy Now! reports that a total of 34 Gazans were killed on Monday. Only six of the dead were reportedly militants, the rest were innocent civilians.
The Guardianreports that four members of the Hijazi family were killed in an Israeli air strike on the Jibaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Parents Fuad and Amna, along with children Mohammad, age 3 or 4, and Suhaib, age 2, were killed. More than a dozen people, mostly women and children, were also wounded in that attack.
Two teenage brothers, identified by Palestine's Maan News Agency as Ahmad Tawfik al-Nasasra and 15-year-old Muhammad al-Nasasra, were reportedly killed in an air strike on their home in Rafah. Fourteen others were wounded in that attack.
A woman and two children were killed in a separate bombing attack in eastern Gaza City.
In another area of Gaza city, shop owner Jamal Dalu sat in mourning for the 11 members of his family, including his wife, sister, two daughters, four grandchildren and daughter-in-law who were killed in a Sunday air strike that Israeli authorities say was meant to kill a Hamas commander. Israel is investigating the incident.
Adding to Monday's death toll was an incident in which Israeli forces opened fire on protesters demonstrating against the Gaza bombing in the West Bank. Two protesters were killed. Antiwar.com identified them as 31-year-old Rushdi Tamimi, who was reportedly shot in the back, and 22-year-old Hamdi Mohammad Jawwad al-Falah of Hebron, who was unarmed but shot four times by Israeli troops who claimed their lives were in "immediate and present danger."
An injured child in a Gaza hospital
Attitudes toward the slaughter of innocent civilians vary widely in Israel. While Israeli leaders and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim they take great pains to avoid killing civilians, some, like Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari from the far-right National Union party and Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai have publicly advocated a far more brutal approach. Claiming that "there are no innocents in Gaza," MK Ben-Ari has implored IDF troops to "paint Gaza red" with blood, "turn it into rubble" and "mow" men, women and children like grass.
Minister Yishai, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, says Israel should "blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water."
The total death toll from the weeklong aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza reached 144 on Tuesday as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appeared increasingly likely. JTA reports that Hamas rocket attacks have killed five Israelis since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense. Four of the dead Israelis are civilians; 18-year-old Cpl. Yosef Partuk is the lone IDF soldier killed.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli air strike killed three Palestinian journalists in their cars. The Associated Press reports that two of the dead were cameramen for Hamas-run al-Aqsa TV, the other was Mohammed Abu Eisha, who worked for Hamas-run al-Quds Educational Radio.