Israel gunboats and air-to-surface
missiles continued to pound Gaza as “Operation
Summer Rain”, which began on June 28, entered its 11th week. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 202 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 44 children.
The assault is ostensibly in response to the capture
of a soldier by Palestinian militants during a raid on an Israeli military outpost at Kerem Shalom. The June 25 raid was in response to Israel’s
continued artillery bombardment of Gaza, which had killed dozens of people in
the previous month.
According to the August 24 OCHA situation report, during
Operation Summer Rain Israel has carried out at least 267
air strikes in Gaza. Hundreds of artillery shells have been fired into the Gaza
Strip, while Palestinians have fired less than six homemade rockets per day into Israel,
injuring 11 people.
More than 120 Palestinian houses, workshops, parliamentary
buildings and greenhouses have been destroyed by the Israeli military; another 160 have been badly damaged. Gaza
continues to have limited access to electricity and water supplies as a result of Israel’s
deliberate destruction its only power plant and other civilian infrastructure in the first days of the assault.
Thousands of Palestinians are now homeless. On August 9,
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency was forced to close three temporary shelters it had set up to aid the homeless,
after Israeli occupation forces shelled the buildings.
has also stepped up its assault on civilians in the West Bank. According to a report issued by Israeli
human rights group B’Tselem on August 21, Israeli military forces have severely beaten, assaulted and humiliated Palestinians,
with many of the victims requiring urgent medical treatment. B’Tselem said that Hezbollah’s successes in the month-long
war in Lebanon “aggravated the rage and frustration
of security forces, which they have expressed in increased aggression towards Palestinians”.
As part of an attempt to topple the democratically elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority administration, in the
past two months Israel has kidnapped 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and eight members of the Palestinian cabinet. Those
kidnapped include the PLC speaker and second deputy speaker and the deputy prime minister.