Like most people, after Hamas terrorists brutally attacked Israeli civilians on October 7 my sympathies were almost totally with Israel.
Sure, I was aware that Israel has treated Palestinians badly and has done little recently to move toward the two-state solution that is recognized by everybody except for far right Israelis as the best way to assure lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors.
But I felt that Israel occupied the moral high ground after the Hamas attacks. Now, though, Israel is squandering that moral authority by the brutal way it is conducting war in Gaza, which is run by Hamas.
Today came news that an Israeli warplane, reportedly a F-16 supplied by the United States, fired missiles at a refugee camp in the northern part of Gaza in an attempt to kill a Hamas leader. As you can see from the photo above, this wasn't a newly established refugee camp with tents and such.
According to the United Nations, the Jabalia refugee camp has existed since 1948 and has 116,000 Palestinians registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency. Wikipedia says it is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, being only 1.4 square kilometers in size.
Yet to target the Hamas leader, Israel bombed the refugee camp, causing hundreds of people -- women, children, the elderly -- to be dead or wounded. The casualties are still being counted due to the need to search for bodies under collapsed buildings.
Here's how a Washington Post story, "Israel strikes on Jabalya refugee camp kill and injure hundreds in Gaza," starts out.
The IDF, Israeli Defense Forces, claims credit for the attack -- as if a military should be proud of killing innocent civilians. Disgusting. Here's a post on X that was in my feed today.
It deliberately targeted civilians in the refugee camp by attempting to kill the Hamas leader. Israel isn't doing itself any favors by spewing the sort of self-serving B.S. that one expects from politicians, but not from a country that claims to stand for democratic values.
Today I heard a woman from Doctors Without Borders interviewed on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show. She said that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is the worst she'd ever encountered in her lengthy experience with horrible situations.
The woman said this is why Doctors Without Borders is calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. That is needed to safely bring aid -- food, water, medical supplies, fuel -- to the hospitals in Gaza and the people of Gaza. She said that it is impossible for all civilians in northern Gaza to move to the southern part, given how many people are in hospitals and otherwise unable to travel.
Yet Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has rejected a cease-fire. A Washington Post story says that Netanyahu is using World War II rhetoric to justify the Gaza war. That's a dubious proposition, given the many differences between that war and the Gaza war.
One difference noted in the story is that even though allied bombings killed many innocent civilians, this occurred before the international community established rules of war in response to the horrendous impact of World War II on civilians.
Similarly, the context for discussion of war crimes in this [Gaza] conflict is sharply different now than it was in 1945. Much of what we now call International Humanitarian Law, sometimes dubbed the rules of war, would only be formalized after World War II. That’s because they were a response to it.
So Israel has no excuse for committing what appear to be war crimes. Whether they truly are or not hopefully will be determined after the Gaza war is over. Regardless, Israel should start acting like the morally upright nation it claims to be and stop killing Palestinians for no good reason.