Analysis: The game changer

An unfortunate mistake in Gaza was inevitable.

An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip 370 (R) (photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip 370 (R)
(photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
Regardless of the precision attacks touted by the IAF on targets in Gaza, it was inevitable that an incident would occur during Operation Pillar of Defense that could alter Israel’s game plan.
That incident took place Sunday afternoon when 11 members of the Dalu family, including four women and four children – were killed, according to Palestinian medical sources, when the building they lived in collapsed following a hit by an Israeli rocket on the fifth day of the campaign.
Whether or not the army had a good reason for targeting the building, the result was exactly what the government has feared – the deaths of innocent, defenseless Palestinians.
Arguments can – and will – be made that Hamas embeds itself in residential areas, using the women and children as human shields; that the army has sent written warnings to residents of Gaza to vacate premises where Hamas members are hiding; and on and on – all perfectly valid points. But at the end of the day, there’s still those 11 victims.
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One possible outcome of the Palestinian deaths is the hastening of an IDF ground invasion into Gaza and the tapering off of air strikes to avoid a repeat tragedy.
However, the willingness that the international community has so far shown in supporting Israel’s attempt to bring peace to its southern border, is about to stop in its tracks. Nobody, from France and England to the US and Canada, is willing to see photos and footage of what is already being termed a “massacre” splashed across the world’s TV screens and websites.
Efforts at brokering a ceasefire between the sides will quickly turn into stronger diplomatic pressure, and once again, like in Operation Cast Lead, Israel will be nudged into truncating its campaign without clearly achieving its goal.
And like four years ago, it will be the residents of the South who will ultimately pay the price – and the innocent Palestinian families in Gaza being held hostage by cynical Hamas.