A newspaper article published in the Hebrew-language version of Israeli newspaper Haaretz has stated that the Israeli military (IDF) is intentionally targeting civilians in Gaza as a form of collective punishment aimed at placing Hamas — which Israel continues to regard as a resistance group, though it has governed Gaza since winning elections there in 2007 — “in a problematic situation.”
The article states that, after a rocket launched by Hamas’ armed wing landed in Beersheva, “the IDF began to attack civilian targets, including population centers, with the goal of causing the residents to understand the price of escalation and placing Hamas in a problematic situation.” In other words, the article acknowledges that the IDF is deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza to collectively punish all those living in Gaza for the primitive rockets allegedly launched by Hamas into Israeli territory.
The article goes on to claim that the IDF’s deliberate targeting of civilian sites is a “change in policy” for the IDF, as past Israeli airstrikes had “focused on Hamas’ clear military objectives, mostly in areas where civilian presence is sparse.” Yet, past airstrikes have targeted civilian infrastructure, which were then labeled, after the fact, as Hamas military sites and assets.
The tactics mentioned in the article seem to refer exclusively to IDF airstrikes, as the article does not mention the fact that the IDF, since March 30, has shot over 17,000 unarmed Palestinian civilians, killing at least 164, for approaching the Gaza-Israel border fence during recent protests. Furthermore, the IDF’s “change in policy” also comes after it was recently reported that the IDF has already killed a record number of Palestinian children in Gaza this year, with still just under five months to go.
Yet, in terms of airstrikes, this “new” IDF policy of targeting civilians is unsurprising given that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman infamously asserted earlier this year that “there are no innocent people” in Gaza, despite the fact that around half of all Gazans are under the age of 18. Furthermore, the IDF had long targeted Gaza’s civilians in past military operations even before Hamas was voted into power in 2007, suggesting that the IDF’s justification of “punishing Hamas” is merely the pretext to justify the climbing civilian death toll in Gaza in the absence of a major military conflict.