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WATCH: Whole Gaza neighborhood destroyed in an hour

A video posted Tuesday by Al Arabiya shows the destruction of the Gaza neighborhood of Beit Hanoun in one hour. According to the Israeli army, residents are given at least three minutes to evacuate their homes before they are bombed. (In some cases, Gazans are given a 24-hour notice to evacuate the entire neighborhood.) Watching this video, I couldn’t help but wonder whether those three minutes would be enough to escape this kind of attack. I don’t think so.

This video reflects the reality of civilian life in Gaza. Israel claims that Hamas is using schools, hospitals, beaches and mosques to shoot rockets, which makes each of these sites a legitimate target. However, this also means that civilians have nowhere to go for safety. I was told by some Israelis that people should just go out into the streets until the bombing is over. However, this video proves how naive this “solution” is. The residents of Gaza don’t even have the “privilege” to flee danger as refugees.

A huge crater is seen in place of a home which had been bombed during an Israeli attack, Bani Suheila, East of Khan Yunis, July 27, 2014. Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and injured around 5,000 in the current offensive. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A huge crater is seen in place of a home that was bombed during an Israeli attack, Bani Suheila, East of Khan Yunis, July 27, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

As a friend of mine from Gaza told me when I called him two days ago: “We are waiting here to see if we are meant to live or die. Every day is another day of fear and destruction. If you don’t die, someone you know is likely to be among the dead. This is no life a human being can accept.”

Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?
Not about tunnels: Israeli tanks take aim at central Gaza
Why did Israel reject Kerry’s ceasefire proposal?

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    1. Whiplash

      It is not up to Israel to find Palestinians a safe spot, it is up to their government to do this. It is Israel’s obligation to defend its own citizens from attack. Israel warns neighborhoods days in advance of a concerted attack and Gazans can choose to follow Israel’s advice or not.

      If Gazans take Israel seriously, and why wouldn’t they after hammering which Gaza has sustained in the past, they only need to move to another neighborhood which Israel is not targeting. Look in the background of the video there is a large neighborhood right behind the targeted neighborhood that is not being hit at all in the video.

      Then there are the bunkers which hide thousands of Hamas fighters in which they could find refuge. They can stay in UN run facilities or Hamas schools and universities. They can stay in the malls and hotels on the strip. Of course this would mean that Hamas would have to coordinate civilian movements and remove their weapons from these areas and not use these areas to fight from or shoot rockets.

      Hamas can end hostilities at any time and agree to surrender their arms. Then there could be quiet for quiet instead of Hamas being given another opportunity to retool for the next war on Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • BR

        I am sick of the racism and double talk. If Israel is a progressive democratic country, they would find place for Gazans, and they would give them either sovereignty or voting rights, since they control nearly everything in their life.

        “It is not up to Israel to find Palestinians a safe spot” is the equivalent of “It is not up to Hitler to find the Jews a safe place.”

        You are a fascist sympothizer.

        Reply to Comment
        • Nati

          What are you talking about? Come on.. Israel left gaza strip nine tears ago and left it to Palestinians control. There were elections and the people voted for Hamas. Big time. Hamas is the elected governed of gaza. Hamas is talking for years about distruction of Israel in case you never heard..these people brought this tragedy on themselves..

          Reply to Comment
      • Idynne

        I’m sure I would respond the same way if my whole neighborhood was bombed. No problem, just pack up what I can carry, and if I survive intact I can just move “somewhere.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        It IS up to Israel to not carry out operations it knows will put large amounts of civilians in danger. That’s international law.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          So all Hamas has to do to neutralize an armed offensive against it is mix its combatants and military installations with the civilians and infrastructure. Which they do, and so does Hezbollah and all other Islamic terror orgs. How good you must feel to give aid and comfort to Islamic imperialist aggression!

          If international law is indeed a suicide pact as I’ve illustrated, then every nation resisting Arab imperialist aggression has not just the right but a duty to disavow it completely. Any system of law that makes no provision for dealing with the unscrupulous moral calculus of Islamic imperialist warfare is unjust and must be rejected!

          Arab colonists out of the Jewish Land of Israel NOW! No justice, no peace! (Jewish) resistance (against Arab imperialist aggression) is not terrorism!

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            “Islamic imperialism.” Take your meds.

            Secondly, there is no suicide pact; nobody is looking to destroy Israel, and if Hamas’ rockets and tunnels have yet to prove a threat to the lives of millions, they likely never will. Your “accurate” air-strikes, on the other hand…

            Laws are not a contract, they are imposed on all parties, without escape clauses. It is not “terminated” for all if one party breaks it. Would you rob your next-door neighbors if you saw them do the same earlier?

            Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            “nobody is looking to destroy Israel”

            Looks like you’re going to have to save the meds for yourself.

            Nobody is looking to destroy Israel? Really? Not Hamas with its genocidal charter? Not nuclearizing, “Israel must be wiped off the pages of time” Iran? Not millions of Muslim congregants worked up to a frenzy by the Friday sermons? What the heck am I saying about saving those meds?! Nothing less than a warp drive would be needed to transport you back to reality!

            Yes, I know. “RAAAAACIST!” Standard leftist answer to any reality-based argument. Spared you the keystrokes.

            “and if Hamas’ rockets and tunnels have yet to prove a threat to the lives of millions,”

            Only because they were stopped just in time. The original Hamas plan was to do a re-enactment of the Beslan Massacre on Rosh HaShanah. Were it not for this war suddenly breaking out on account on the kidnap and murder of three Israeli Jewish boys, that might well have happened. And from you we’d hear the standard “I don’t condone it, but Occupation…” refrain.

            “Your ‘accurate’ air-strikes, on the other hand…”

            As you are so fond of saying, accuracy has its limits in a congested area. I have no issue with that, actually; what I do have issue with is your contention that that’s a good reason for Israel to accept terrorist rocket fire over its civilians and the digging of Beslan tunnels.

            “Laws are not a contract, they are imposed on all parties, without escape clauses.”

            Ah, the “It’s The Law” ploy, like I never heard it before from the oh-so Righteous Left. Funny how you regard The Law as sacrosanct just when it happens to be in agreement with your political opinions, isn’t it? Just a coincidence, I’m sure. /s

            Back in the early 1960s it was The Law for blacks in America to sit in the back of the bus. What do you say to that? That it was right because it was The Law? Or do you go with MLK in saying that “an unjust law is not a law at all”? I think the latter.

            So it is with all other laws, including international law. “Gun control” (disarming the law-abiding populace really) is the law in many countries, but is it just, seeing as so many people have died by relying on a police only minutes away when seconds matter? International law, if it grants terrorist organizations protection by mixing the combatants with the civilians, is likewise unjust. It’s the law, sure, but between legality and justice there is sometimes a great gulf fixed.

            If it is true that international law is legal grounds for forcing an army to cease fire on a hostile area as soon as the other party mixes the combatants and civilians there, then international law is an enabler of the grossest immorality and therefore a system of injustice; it is then the duty of any survival-seeking nation-state to break international law, and to do so with the utmost pride! Granted, it’s possible international law doesn’t say such a thing—left-wingers are experts at perverting systems to their advantage—but if it does, the fact that “It’s The Law” means nothing at all.

            Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          No that is not the law. Israel has the right to hit military infrastructure that is used in attacking it. If there is going to be collateral damage to civilians, the collateral damage should be proportionate to the military advantage achieved by hitting the enemy infrastructure or fighters or both. Proportionality is measured by the military objective and the force necessary to obtain that objective. If there was one sniper in a building, it would be disproportionate to destroy the whole neighborhood. At the same time, it may be proportionate to direct a tank shell or missile at the location of the sniper even though civilian causalities may follow.

          In the case of a major military infrastructure contained in a civilian neighborhood which is raining down missiles, anti-tank rockets, bullets, serving as a command center and the source of many attack tunnels, the military objective may only be obtained by destroying the neighborhood with significant collateral damage to civilians. This is indeed the case in Gaza in several neighborhoods.

          The fact that Israel called and dropped leaflets, shows that Israel tried to limit the expected collateral damage flowing from Hamas’ choice of the location of its military and its failure to obey the laws of war itself by hiding itself and its assets among civilians.

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Precisely what “military advantage,” or any kind of advantage, has the destruction of entire neighborhoods achieved for Israel?

            Also, HRW and Amnesty International would have to disagree with you about international law.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            It closes access/exit points for tunnels, clears out explosive charges, removes sniper nests, allows military progress without concern for ambush.

            Hamas basically booby traps every neighborhood (both houses and roads) that the IDF enters and uses tunnels to pop up in people’s houses in order to ambush Israeli troops. Hamas turns entire neighborhoods into legitimate military targets.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            It’s ironic and almost hilarious that people who talk about 2000 years of historical memory can’t even recall when their own representatives to the UN were complaining about the Jordanian destruction of the Jewish quarter after the Zionist militias inserted their own weapons there. Oh, and just for good measure, Haganahmas recruited kids.

            ““I began to be involved in Haganah affairs during the riots of 1920, when I was a very young girl. At the time we lived in the Beit Yaakov neighborhood, and our house was a ‘point’ (a meeting place for Haganah members) where a few fellows would gather, among them Ze’ev Jabotinsky. They would bring weapons and put them in a hiding place inside our clothes closet. Since I was a Maccabi member, and our home was a ‘point,’ they trusted me and gave me all kinds of assignments””

            “In late 1940 the Haganah High Command decided to establish youth battalions also in the form of Field Units (Heil ha-Sadeh, or Hish). The purpose was to absorb young people, both male and female, students and workers, who would receive training in preparation for entering active duty in the Field Units at age eighteen. The Gadna (Hebrew acronym for “youth battalions”) program itself, which had already been in existence since 1936, consisted of units between the ages of fourteen to seventeen where young men and women were trained in communications, signaling, etc.”



            Reply to Comment
      • Shane

        You clearly know nothing about international law. And not much more about simple human decency and morality.

        Reply to Comment
    2. PasserBy

      If the IDF was as relentless as critics argue then there would be a lot more fatalities (tens of thousands) and the fatalities would roughly follow the demographics (sex and age) of the population of Gaza. Both is not the case (according to the data Hamas publishes not the IDF!)

      I won’t defend each air strike the IDF is conducting (I am certain that a later investigation will also find crimes committed, this is a war after all) but people trying to paint the current offensive as ethnic cleansing or genocide clearly don’t know what these terms mean and trivialize their meaning.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Marco Rias

      It is clear what is happening here – the entire infrastructure is being destroyed to displace an entire peoples.

      So called “pin point operation” takes out an entire civilian neighborhood with no evidence to establish the existence of any threat (just like when they took our the four kids on a beach). Or as Kerry put it, “one h-ll of a pinpoint operation”

      Pro-israeli supporters will gladly quote international law to backup the need to “defend themselves”, yet conveniently disregard international law when it clearly limits these kind of barbaric acts we just saw in the video.

      Lets not kid ourselves- israel just wants this land and is using hamas as its scape goat. Hamas is bad, but that doesn’t justify this outlandish behaviour (show us the evidence of a threat that covers an entiee civilian neighbourhood)

      3 min to evacuate a neighborhood & your entire life – what a joke.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      Israel is clearly implementing a policy of forced displacement of the Palestinian population of Gaza. There is no other explanation to this vast and indiscriminate destruction. Israel wants to force the Palestinians into smaller and smaller enclaves within the Gaza strip to make their control easier.

      Gaza has become the Palestinian Stalingrad. Gaza’s survival is Israel’s defeat. When this war is done everyone in the world will know that Israel is a weak and cowardly a country that is only as strong as their Washington machers’ ability to procure it its weapons of mass terror.

      Shame on whoever supports this state of cowards!

      Reply to Comment
      • Avdim

        Danny, your ability to interpret events is second only to your moral standards.

        There is no policy of forced displacement. As usual, wait a month and you’ll see that there’s nothing between what you clearly see and reality.

        There is not vast or indiscriminate destruction, you probably don’t even know what those mean. Israel doesn’t want to force the Palestinians anywhere, just knock some sense into the Hamas.

        Gaza is not a Stalingrad and it will survive becauase Israel has no will to destroy it (not because of any other reason). Israel is as strong as it needs to be, given the circumstances. Surely not more cowardly or weak than others. (What is a brave country anyway?!)

        It’s amazing how you can write a whole comment where every single sentence is utter nonsense. Shame on you and people like you, who are blinded by hate and can’t even see where good and bad lie…

        Reply to Comment
    5. Richard

      All over the world – Juarez, West Africa, Eastern Congo – we’ve seen violent warlords oversee the deaths of thousands for the sake of their own money and power. Hamas is a gang like any other that looks out for itself and nobody else. They are responsible for this war and everything that happens as a consequence of it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Yet Israel insists that they alone are responsible for Gazan civilians safety, and the IDF shouldn’t do anything about that beyond dropping leaflets. Hypocrite.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Inconvenient

      I feel sorry for the innocents who may have lost their homes.

      Having said that:

      That is not what I call a neighbourhood. Looks more like a CITY BLOCK…

      Reply to Comment
    7. David from NY

      There is NOTHING WRONG with ZIONISM … All that means is a Jewish State of Israel. Sick of people making this a bad word somehow. Arabs were defeated in multiple wars … Israel is the Victor … Simple as that. Now they have to TAKE WHAT THEY ARE OFFERED at the negotiating table … or FIGHT and very likely be again vanquished. If Arabs had the Jewish People in such a position they would not be offered land, maps, deals, international help …. they would get the sword. That is the difference. Forget the fact that THEY STARTED IT ….. Simple … they lost their gambit. You cannot have a guaranteed outcome … fight a war … lose … and get the country you desire …. or fight a war … win … and get what you desire….. Also … DONT FIGHT A STRONGER ENEMY. Stupid move. Palestinians are dishonest about all of this … demanding everything they want ( which is essentially the destruction of Israel in favor of their rule ) … and if not … they will send soldiers armed with newborns to make propaganda pictures…. Well that blood is on HAMAS. And the media is disgusting … every article says … xxx palestinaisns, mostly civillians … were killed … starting off every article. that is disgustingly biased. May as well say Jews killed 100 people today …all newborns and also 75 puppies. There is no reporting responsibility. Oddly enough … of all the media i find AlJazeera to have some of the best coverage.

      Reply to Comment
    8. danny

      When the dust settle, and the Israeli occupation leaders are indicted by the World Court, Israel should be reparations for the mindless destruction of property and the murder of innocent children, women, men and animals. It is time that the world see Israeli leaders for the egomaniacs that they are. No God/Yahweh would approve of their murderous behavior.

      Reply to Comment
      • \\robert

        4500+ROCKETS fired at Israel in the last 50 days….who is the egomaniac here Danny….you are either a bltent anti-semite for not allowing Jews to protect themselves, or a fool with no moral compass whatsoever…I’m happy to hear you argue that you are not an anti-semite and join the Hamas camp

        Reply to Comment
    9. Patrick Mchenry

      Words cannot express the sense of loss, the awesomeness of the power and force shaping and destroying their lives there. I hope and pray a mutually acceptable solution can be found.. The loss of lives is difficult to comprehend; to actually know, personally.

      Reply to Comment
    10. vlad tepes

      Watch the secondary explosions, especially of the bomb at 0:35. This proves that the whole area was rigged with explosives and booby traps which caused most of the damage, not the Israeli attack.

      Reply to Comment
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