I heard the terrible news on the radio sometime on late Friday afternoon: seven Palestinian civilians had been killed on a beach in
After initial reports of this tragedy, the IDF immediately suspended further artillery shelling until a military inquiry reporting to Defense Minister Amir Peretz concludes its work by Monday night. The IDF also apologized, stating that it “regretted the strike on innocents.” However, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz cautioned – and this was apparent in an Israeli radio interview given shortly after the first news – that the army was not taking responsibility for the incident until the end of the investigation (Ha'aretz). He further emphasized that the shelling had been in response to Qassam rocket attacks on
A few people in
In Europe, the French delivered the harshest condemnation of
These kinds of declarations joined the images broadcast on Al Jazeera and other Arab television stations from the horrible scene. They as well as the Palestinian Hamas government are being quite clear in presenting the Israeli shelling as deliberate, which the use of the term massacre also implies. Hamas wasted no time in calling the “Israeli massacres” a “direct opening battle” that would merit a “tough, strong and unique response” (Ha'aretz) .
Never mind that Hamas had already re-started direct involvement in Qassam firing in the week before the accidental shelling of the beach. Furthermore, after the killing of the Popular Resistance Committee leader Jamal Abu Samhadana on Thursday night, after an Israel Air Force strike on a PRC training camp (apparently, it was not a targeted assassination – Samhadana was in the wrong place, at the wrong time), Hamas already declared that “the cease-fire no longer exists” (Ha'aretz).
After what happened on the
The use of force by
in the Palestinian territories is a principle unacceptable in itself [because] responsibility for security in the territories is entrusted to the Palestinian Authority. Israel
Danny Rubenstein believes that the images of a Palestinian girl crying over her family members’ bodies, imploring mourners not to leave her alone will incite similar anger as the footage of the boy Mohammed al-Dura who was shot in his father’s arms at the beginning of the intifadah. BTW, it is very likely that he was actually shot by Palestinian gunmen not by IDF soldiers – the boy and his father were caught in crossfire.