500 Killed; 2,650 Wounded

Those latest figures are from the Palestine Monitor, and I’m sure are already out of date. CNN confirms the numbers.

Israel announced today that no humanitarian aid will be allowed into the Gaza Strip until further notice.

There are indications that the IDF may be using cluster bombs. Cernig reminds us that Israel and the United States refused to sign the ban on stockpiling or using cluster munitions signed last month in Oslo (the treaty was drafted in May).

The trouble comes from everywhere:

As Israeli forces carved up the Gaza strip today, dividing the territory in two as tanks sliced through the centre of the territory to reach the sea south of Gaza City, the UN warned of a “catastrophe unfolding” for a “trapped, traumatised, terrorised” population.

Among the terrorised is Mahmoud Jaro. He was sheltering with his wife and four young children in his home in Beit Lahiya, on the eastern side of the Gaza Strip, within sight of the Israeli border, when he heard the first tank engines in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He grabbed his children, the youngest only three, and fled.

“I couldn’t see anything. The area was dark. They cut off the electricity. We were moving in the pitch dark. There were shells, rockets everywhere. Shooting,” he said.

“I was just trying to protect my children. They were very scared and afraid. My youngest son was crying all the time.”

Eventually, Jaro and his family made it across Beit Lahiya to his parents in law’s house in a relatively safer part of the town.

“I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what the Israelis want. This time it’s from the air, the sea, the ground at the same time. I’ve never experienced it like this,” he said.

You can see how tiny the Gaza Strip is when Rhode Island is superimposed on it.

Meryl Yourish is searching for objective reporting on Gaza — defined as leaving out any mention of civilian casualties.

Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape’s topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe’s diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place.

Regardless of whether this story is legend or true, Israel is now failing its own blood pipeline test. As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

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