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I fear for Gaza's children

18 299 0

In the last few days, as Israel intensified its military operation on Gaza, all I could think of was my one-year-old niece Ela'a, who is living with other members of my family in a refugee camp there.

Although she is just a toddler, she has already learned to hurry and hide behind a chair or under a table whenever she hears an explosion caused by an Israeli air raid.

She, like other children in Gaza, starts her childhood at a time and in a place where Israel regularly commits war crimes with brazen impunity.

At the end of this last military assault on Gaza, the Israeli government declared triumphantly that it had carried out "surgical strikes" in Gaza and had killed "terrorists". Once again, its leadership declared that the Zionist state did so because it has the "right to defend itself" and the world nodded.

But let us take a closer look at Israel's actions.

The so-called "target killing" of Islamic Jihad Commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata and his wife, Asmaa, was followed by the bombardment of several other areas around the Gaza Strip. In other words, the "assassination" of Abu al-Ata and Asmaa, as we call it in Palestine, was just the beginning. As of Friday morning, Israel's "surgical strikes" have killed a total of 34 Palestinians, almost half of them civilians, including eight children and three women.

Surely there is nothing "surgical" about bombings that kill not only accused militants - without a judge, jury and trial - but also their wives, children and various bystanders. A surgeon does not kill en masse, a war criminal does.

And yet, the so-called "international community" refused once again to condemn what effectively was a series of extrajudicial killings and the reckless use of deadly bombs in densely populated civilian areas.

Avi Berkowitz, Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump and the latest leading member of his so-called "Middle East Peace Team" tweeted: "The US fully supports our partner & ally Israel in their fight against terrorism and the terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad."

The European Union, meanwhile, focused its outrageon the rockets that were fired from the Gaza Strip on Israel in response to Abu al-Ata's assassination and effectively remained silent on the killing of Palestinian civilians.

"This morning, Israel conducted an operation inside Gaza targeting a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In response, rockets were fired from Gaza on southern........

© Al Jazeera