Thursday, July 06, 2006

Obviously the kidnapping of corporal Gilad Shalit was the immediate cause for operation Summer Rains ( it already has a whole Wikipedia page of its own ), but the Qassam attacks against communities on the Israeli side of the Gaza border are probably the main reason for Israel to act within the Gaza Strip. If poor Gilad had not been kidnapped and two of his fellow soldiers had not been killed in the same attack, an extensive IDF operation against terrorists within the Gaza Strip would have started maybe a few days or weeks later, but this operation was not planned only because of the kidnapping.
When I looked for statistics on Israeli victims of Qassam rocket attacks I found various lists of casualties of the conflict on the website of B'Tselem. Among the 206 Palestinians who were killed by Palestinians in the last six years were three direct victims of Qassam rockets. I think that most of the civilian casualties who were killed by IDF fire during operations aimed at killing those responsible for the Qassam attacks could justifiably be labeled Palestinian Qassam victims as well. Notice that 'type of injury' for those killed by Qassam rockets is 'gunfire'. While I remembered that one child and one adult were killed in Sderot by Qassam rocket fire, I must admit that I did not realize that six Israeli civilians, among them three young children and one teenager, have been killed as a direct result of this form of terrorism. A fact that should be mentioned every time that Israel tries to justify its actions in and against Gaza after the disengagement. B'Tselem says it all very well: "...Israel has the right, and even the obligation, to protect its citizens from the attacks. However, in doing so, it must comply with international humanitarian law. The army is not permitted to consider the entire general area from which the rockets were fired as one target-area. " So far it seems that Operation Summer Rains follows these rules, given the fact that during more than a week of intensive warfare no Palestinian civilians have been hurt ( yet, let's hope against all odds that it stays that way ) by the IDF. Hopefully Gilad Shalit will come home soon and the Qassam attacks against Sderot and Ashkelon will stop, so that the IDF can retreat behind the border and - who knows - we can start working on some sort of normalization on both sides. Palestinian Qassam victims:
  • 'Adnan Mustafa Mussa al-Ashqar: 46 year-old resident of Beit Hanun, North Gaza district, injured on 02.08.2005 in Beit Hanun, North Gaza district, by gunfire and died on 03.08.2005. Additional information: Killed when a Qassam rocket fired to his house mistakenly.
  • Yasser 'Adnan Mustafa al-Ashqar: 6 year-old resident of Beit Hanun, North Gaza district, killed on 02.08.2005 in Beit Hanun, North Gaza district, by gunfire . Additional information: Killed when a Qassam rocket fired to his house mistakenly.
  • Ibtehal Mithkal Daher: 9 year-old resident of Jabalya Refugee Camp, North Gaza district, killed on 01.01.2005 in Jabalya Refugee Camp, North Gaza district, by gunfire . Additional information: Killed by fragments of a Qassam rocket that was fired at Israeli settlements.

Israeli Qassam victims:

  • Nissim Arbiv: 26 year-old resident of Nissanit, North Gaza district, injured on 02.01.2005 in Erez Checkpoint by gunfire and died on 12.01.2005. Additional information: Died ten days after being wounded by a Qassam rocket fired at the Erez industrial zone.
  • Ayala-Haya Abukasis: 17 year-old resident of Sderot, injured on 15.01.2005 in Sderot by gunfire and died on 21.01.2005. Additional information: Was wounded and remained brain-dead for six days before dying.
  • Yuval Abebeh: 4 year-old resident of Sderot, killed on 29.09.2004 in Sderot by gunfire . Additional information: Killed by a missile that hit her house.
  • Dorit Inso: 2 year-old resident of Sderot, killed on 29.09.2004 in Sderot by gunfire . Additional information: Killed by a missile that hit her house.
  • Mordechai Yosepov: 49 year-old resident of Sderot, killed on 28.06.2004 in Sderot by gunfire . Additional information: Killed by a missile that fell near a preschool in the Neve Eshkol neighborhood.
  • Afiq Zahavi-Ohayon: 4 year-old resident of Sderot, killed on 28.06.2004 in Sderot by gunfire . Additional information: Killed by a missile that fell near a preschool in the Neve Eshkol neighborhood.

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