Israel had pounded the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and shells for at least 12 days in a row as of last Friday.
The barrage was part of an attempt to punish the besieged Palestinian enclave’s two million residents for daring to resist.
Israel has bombed Gaza almost daily since 6 August, and is doing its best to make life there miserable for ordinary people.
Alongside airstrikes Israel has cut fuel imports shut one of the only crossings out of the Gaza Strip and completely closed Gaza’s fishing zone.
The restriction on fuel imports shut down Gaza’s only power plant, leaving residents with as little as three hours of electricity per day.
Without fuel, a sewage treatment plant in northern Gaza was forced to stop working. Israeli government officials then claimed the resulting overflow of raw sewage into Israel was a deliberate act by Palestinians.
Israel says its latest assault on Palestinians is a retaliation for incendiary balloons and kites launched into Israel from Gaza.
These ordinary kites or party balloons are fitted with firebombs tied to their tails, then filled with helium and released into Israel.
When successful, they land in fields on the Israeli side of the border fence, causing fires that Israeli forces rush to put out.
It’s an inventive and defiant method of resistance by people who’ve spent 13 years living under a siege enforced by Israel’s powerful military.
Abu Barq, a Palestinian activist told the Al Jazeera news network, “We came here to send a fiery message to the Israeli occupation that we in the Gaza Strip can no longer tolerate the blockade that’s been taking place for 13 years.
“We would like to send a message that we deserve a decent life for our families and loved ones.”
Abu Obaida, another activist, said the balloons were a way of drawing attention to Palestinians’ suffering.
“Nobody is looking at Gaza,” he said. “We don’t have any enmity with the Jewish people. Our battle is against their government that has been besieging us.”
Israel imposed the siege in 2007 to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas—which resisted Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land—to lead the Palestinian Authority.
The siege leaves Palestinians at the mercy of Israel and its neighbouring ally, Egypt, which restrict access and the flow of basic goods into Gaza.
There is a severe scarcity of drinkable water in Gaza according to the United Nations, and
53 percent of people live below the poverty line.
Israel has waged three devastating wars on Gaza since 2007, killing tens of thousands of Palestinians and repeatedly destroying infrastructure.
Its soldiers also massacred ordinary Palestinians in 2018 and 2019 for daring to protest at the border fence that keeps them penned in.
Avi Dichter, chair of the Israeli government’s foreign affairs and defence committee, said Gaza’s infrastructure should be destroyed if the incendiary balloons don’t stop.
It’s right to support Palestinians who dare to resist.
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