Israel offensive on Gaza strip
Sir, – Israel did not “begin... the attacks with an air strike that killed the Hamas military commander” (Mark Weiss, November 15th), but with an unprovoked assault on Gaza on November 8th, in which a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed while playing soccer.
Prime minister Netanyahu’s statement that “while the militant groups deliberately target innocent civilians, Israel makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties” should not be quoted without critical comment. Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment has (as I write) killed at least two children and critically wounded at least 10. Gaza is the most densely populated area on earth; Israel’s assault on the Strip in 2008-9 resulted in up to 1,000 Palestinian civilian fatalities.
Netanyahu’s claim that “no country would put up with continuous rocket fire on its civilian population and Israel was no different” should have been balanced with clarification that Gaza is under an illegal Israeli siege, and that while rocket fire from Gaza is far from “continuous”, the Israeli embargo that starves its population most certainly is. Mr Weiss should have clarified that “targeted assassinations” are deemed illegal by many authorities on international law, and hence Israel’s threat of their “resumption” (as if they had ever wholly ceased) is itself criminal.
The one pertinent point in Mr Weiss’s report is that “it is likely that electoral considerations played a role in Mr Netanyahu’s decision to launch the latest offensive . . .” In Israel the willingness to slaughter Palestinian children is an infallible vote-winner. – Yours, etc,