Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It was a 'Hamas stronghold'

"At least 40 people have been killed in an Israeli air strike on a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources have said.

A number of children were among those who died when the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp took a direct hit, doctors at nearby hospitals said.

People inside had been taking refuge from the Israeli ground offensive."

That's the trouble with 'taking refuge' from Israeli attacks. The IDF don't recognise refuge when they're out to kill. What is more, it has a history of attacking UN facilities because, apart from anything else, the UN sometimes says mean things about Israel. During the Lebanon war, the IDF punished the UN for its mealy-mouthed criticisms by attacking UNIFIL positions fifteen times. As John Ging of the UN points out, not only is the school clearly marked with UN flags and insignia, the GPS coordinates and full details of all UN facilities in Gaza are known to Israel. That this was a school was known to Israeli forces. They presumably also knew that locals were hiding there, petrified, scared out of their minds by what Israel is doing. So, the Israelis sent a clear message that, as Ging also says, "nowhere in Gaza is safe". Let it be repeated, until the message gets through: Operation Cast Lead is an unmistakeable and vicious attack on the civilian population of Gaza.