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Ten days of relentless Israeli assaults left part of Gaza in ruin. Eyewitnesses say the city looks like a huge pile of rubble, where it is difficult to distinguish streets and back alleys. Israel, like in 2006 in Lebanon, has no mercy for innocent civilians. Young and old are being carpet-bombed, and anyone who ventures the street faces certain death, as helicopters hovering overhead make no difference between hungry people trying to survive and Hamas militants.  Israeli generals claim they are only targeting Hamas militants, who control Gaza in an attempt to halt seven years of rocket fire at Israeli communities. The assertion is flatly rejected by all human rights organizations, for 550 Palestinians who have been killed, including at least 200 civilians, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanein of the Gaza Health Ministry.

 Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, is overwhelmed. Bodies were crowded two to two to a morgue drawer, with dead children lying on the floor. Sounds of people screaming mixed with the wail of ambulance sirens echoed the hallways of the hospital. Many of the wounded were being treated in hallways by harried doctors and nurses running on little sleep. The hospital was powered by emergency generators after shelling damaged power lines, according to The Associated press.

The fighting on Monday was the heaviest. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles backed by sustained aerial bombardments are advancing in 3 directions: from the north where the IFD (Israeli defense Forces) aims at putting an end to Hamas gunmen shelling outlining Israeli villages, from the center where it intends to cut the tiny strip in half and from the south where the aim is to obliterate everything that resembles normal life around a refugee camp.

A reporter from the Qatar television, who has managed to reach the center of Gaza City, described the scene as hellish. According to the reporter, the fighting got more intense as Hamas militants, who had been waiting for Israeli soldiers for days pounded Israeli positions from all directions. A Palestinian nurse who identified himself as Ahmad Abdul Salam said 20 children between the ages of 2 and 15 were killed on Monday. Abdul Salam, whose eyes turned red while big drops of sweats welling down his cheeks, said he couldn’t sleep. “When my shift ends, I help my colleagues. These are our brothers and friends who are being harmed,” he said. His clothes stained with blood.

In the hospital morgue, the scene was described as gruesome. Pools of blood mounted on the floor. Refrigerators designed to hold 35 bodies were crammed with 70, laid side-by-side in drawers.

Exhausted and overwhelmed paramedics could not stop rushing wounded and the dead bodies to the hospital. According to Gaza health officials, Israeli aircrafts have hit three ambulances in Gazasince the campaign began, killing seven medics. A medical building owned by a relief organization not connected to Hamas was also bombed, hospital officials said. He said the building was destroyed, along with an ambulance, three mobile clinics and donated medicines.

While poor and defenseless Palestinians are being smashed by Israeli bombs, a flurry of shuttle diplomacy are underway, and most of it is designed to give Israel more time to continue slaughtering Palestinians.  French president Nicolas Sarkozy is due in Tel Aviv and in Ramallah on Wednesday. Former British PM Tony Blair along with Madame Secretary Condoleezza Rice and a Russian envoy are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. We’ve seen it all before.  Israel will only stop when the international community speaks with one voice to demand a swift stop to the onslaught.  

What is going on in Gaza is a prelude to genocide perpetuating against a humiliated and occupied population.  Israel encircled Gaza and turned it into a huge prison camp where 1.5 million deprived Palestinians live. When that is not enough because the Palestinians refused to accept their Israeli-imposed conditions, the Israeli war machine had to intervene to bomb them into submission. If this isn’t war crime, what is it?   

Also see Israeli attacks on Gaza: the latest in a brutal occupation with no end in sight 

Proxy politics in Tel Aviv and in Washington threaten to engulf Middle East conflagration

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