Israel Launches Ground Offensive in Gaza

[Content Note: War; death.]

Following a five-hour "humanitarian truce" requested by the UN and other international organisations to provide emergency relief, medical supplies, water, food, and hygiene kits to the people of Gaza, and after four children, ages 9 to 11, were hit directly by a rocket fired from an Israeli battleship off the Gaza coast, Israel has now launched a ground offensive in Gaza.
In a statement, the [Israel Defense Forces] said: "Following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip."

It said the goal was to "establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas' terror infrastructure."
Without even getting into a discussion about the long history leading to this conflict, nor a debate about whether the Hamas military leadership are leaders of an occupied resistance, or terrorists, or both, my primary concern at this point is the utter disproportion of a conflict that has consequences far beyond merely "striking a significant blow" to Hamas' military arm:
Some 230 Palestinians and one Israeli have died during the Operation Protective Edge period.

...Israel says it has carried out more than 1,960 attacks on Gaza since 8 July, while militants have fired some 1,380 rockets at Israel.

The UN says at least 1,370 homes have been destroyed in Gaza and more than 18,000 people displaced in recent hostilities.

It says most of those killed in Gaza have been civilians.
The reason for the disparity in casualties is because of the disproportion in military capabilities. And that lack of proportion is so casually elided by reports of the numbers of rockets fired, without any further context, in order to draw a false equivalence to make this seem like a balanced conflict.

Dorothy Zellner, a member of the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace, notes here: "[T]he Palestinians have no army, no air force, no navy, not even an airfield. The Israelis, on the other hand, have super high-tech weaponry."

Israel got $3 billion in aid, much of which went toward its defense, from the United States in the last year alone.

That is an awful lot of might, behind which is rhetoric like: "When there is no ceasefire, our answer is fire." Which suggests a parity that does not exist.

Or like: "[Israel] is continuing to pound Hamas and its infrastructure," without regard for the fact that the population of Gaza is not, in fact, synonymous with "Hamas and its infrastructure." Children are not Hamas and its infrastructure.

At a certain point, being right becomes less important than doing the right thing.

Or, at least not doubling down on the wrong thing.

[Please note: We have always managed to have thoughtful and civil threads in this space on previous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, and I trust that can happen again. If the thread gets ugly, it will just be closed. Please comment thoughtfully—and bear in mind that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are monolithic groups; among Israelis are people who agree with the Netanyahu administration's actions and people who condemn those actions; among Palestinians are people who agree with Hamas' leadership's actions and people who condemn those actions. There is not consensus among diaspora populations, either.]

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