I was reading the front page story on the NYT’s website about the Israel/Gaza Strip conflict and found five bits of information that drew my interest.
Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.
Israel’s military made clear it had widened the scope of the bombing campaign in Gaza to hit the political structures of Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, including the home of Ismael Haniya, the No. 2 Hamas official behind Khaled Meshal, its leader-in-exile in Qatar. But Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said it was unclear whether Israel had been responsible for the debilitating strike on the power plant, where an enormous fire hurtled thick, black smoke skyward, visible for miles.
The shutdown of the power plant, which Israel previously attacked in 2006 and which sat idle for weeks this past winter for lack of fuel, threatened to turn the situation in Gaza into a major humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.
F-16 and Apache helicopter strikes also ruined the headquarters of the Al Aqsa satellite television and radio channels affiliated with Hamas.
Also flattened was the Financial Monitoring Authority, a government building where some Hamas leaders kept offices. Relatives of Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, own the home next door, which was damaged; Mr. Sourani said his brother, his brother’s wife and his 94-year-old aunt were in the house at the time of the strike and had received no warning.
My question here is what happened to the stated goal of stopping rocket fire into Israel and eliminating Hamas’ smuggling tunnels? What’s all of this now? Collective punishment and the destruction of Hamas is the only real goal.