Gaza under siege

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West bank conflict intensifies in wake of kidnappings

Author: Eman Bare – Contributor

A simple yet poignant message from a protest in Edmonton. /Maha Malik

A simple yet poignant message from a protest in Edmonton. /Maha Malik

His name was Mohammed Abu Khedir. To his family, he was a sweet 16-year-old boy with a promising future.  But to a group of extremist Israeli settlers, he was little more than a way to execute revenge for the kidnapping and death of three Israeli teenagers.

Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Michael and Eyal Yifrah were kidnapped by what the Israeli government claims to be Hamas militants. However, to date no autopsy report or evidence has been released linking Hamas to the tragic murder of these three teenagers.

Shortly following the discovery of the bodies Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared an emergency cabinet meeting, where he stated,  “They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by beasts. Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.”

It is unclear how Netanyahu knows Hamas is responsible. No evidence supporting these claims has been publically presented.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, issued a statement saying, “No Palestinian group, Hamas or any other group had taken responsibility. We reject all Israeli allegations and threats against us,” he said. “We are already used to it and will know how to defend ourselves.”

Yisrael Katz, the Transportation Minister and a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud faction, urged the Prime Minister to “act with all our strength against Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and teach Hamas a lesson.”

And act they did.

Prior to the current siege of Gaza, Israel arrested 500 Palestinians, including many prisoners that had formerly been released in a prisoner exchange and killed at least 9, including two teenage boys in the search for the missing teens according to Mondoweiss News.

Following the collective punishment of Gazans was the brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khedir who, at 16 years old, was picked up by Israeli settlers on his way to the mosque, beaten, stabbed, forced to drink gasoline and then set on fire while he was alive, according to his autopsy.

Additionally, Mohammed Abu Khedir’s 15-year-old cousin, Tariq Abu Khedir, was also brutally attacked by Israeli police on a separate day. The attack was caught on camera, and it appeared that Abu Khedir was attacked for little more than standing outside of his home.

Operation Protective Edge began July 6, and has already claimed nearly 200 Palestinian lives as the Carillon goes to print July 14. The U.N. released a statement saying that “77 percent” of the causalities of the siege of Gaza were civilians.

According to the Netanyahu, the reason for the high death toll of Palestinian civilians is that Hamas is choosing to use its civilians as shields, where as Israel is protecting their civilians.

However, the IDF has been instructed to strike all Hamas infrastructure. Although Hamas is commonly referred to as a “terrorist organization”, Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza. Aiming to destroy all Hamas infrastructure means destroying all Hamas funded hospitals, schools, and government offices.

Further, Gaza is the most densely populated area on earth, with an estimated 1.7 million Palestinians living in the area. It is debatable whether or not it is possible for any attack of Gaza to not have civilian casualties.

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