As Socialist Worker went to press yesterday details emerged of Israel’s worst atrocity yet in its murderous military campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defence Forces shelled the Fakhura school in Jabalya refugee camp, killing at least 40 including many children.
The school was run by the United Nations (UN) and was being used as a refuge from Palestinians sheltering from the Israeli onslaught. It was packed with children at the time it was hit.
The UN had supplied the Israeli military with exact coordinates of all its schools and told the Israelis that the schools were being used as refugee centres. The families had sheltered there after being ordered to flee their homes by Israel.
The Israelis shelled two other UN schools that night. One was empty, but the Asma school was also being used as a refugee centre. Three cousins were killed in that attack.
“The three boys went to get some water from the toilet taps outside when the attack took place,” said Ziyad Zayyad. “A couple of minutes later, we found them ripped to shreds.
“We are resigned to drinking water from the toilets and sleeping in a school without any comforts. But death follows us even here.”
There is no doubt that this was a conscious and deliberate war crime on the part of the Israelis. The bombing demonstrates beyond any doubt that Israel is targeting the entire Palestinian population in its onslaught on Gaza.
It recalls Israeli atrocities in previous wars. On 30 July 2006 the Israelis bombed a building in the Lebanese village of Qana that was being used as a shelter. Some 28 people were killed.
Ten years earlier on 18 April 1996, Israel shelled a UN compound in Qana that was sheltering 800 civilians. Some 106 of them were killed.
Israel has justified its latest massacre with the usual litany of lies. It claims – absurdly – that Hamas militants had been firing mortar shells at its army from within the UN schools. The UN has flatly denied this.
Stop the massacre: Israel out of Gaza
London, Saturday 10 January, 12.30pm,
Speakers Corner, Hyde Park
Edinburgh, Saturday 10 January,
12.30pm, East Market St