The Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip has seen its bloodiest day so far, bringing the Palestinian death toll to more than 500. More than 100 Palestinians were killed in a 24-hour period between Saturday and Sunday nights. The dead include 72 residents of one of Gaza’s poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods. In the single worst attack to date, Israeli forces shelled homes and fought militants in Shejaiya, leaving behind a scene of carnage that survivors called a massacre. Frightened civilians fled along streets strewn with dead bodies. Wounded residents bled to death in their homes. An unconfirmed report said more than 20 children and 14 women were killed. Scores of homes were destroyed. Hundreds of people were wounded and taken to the overrun Shifa Hospital, which struggled to find room for the bodies. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the attack on Shejaiya as an "atrocious action." The fighting in Shejaiya killed 13 Israeli soldiers, bringing the Israeli military toll to 18 since the ground invasion began last week. Joining us from Gaza City, Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous details the assault on Shejaiya and describes a new Israeli strike that killed 24 members of the Abu Jamaa family in Khan Younis. Kouddous documented their bodies collected together inside a local morgue.
In breaking news from the Gaza Strip, at least five people were killed today and dozens wounded when the Israeli military shelled the al-Aqsa Hospital. It is at least the third Israeli military attack on a Gaza hospital since the ground invasion on Thursday. Speaking from Gaza’s overrun al-Shifa Hospital, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert accuses Israel of directly targeting medical facilities. Gilbert helped treat many of the victims of Israel’s attack on the Shejaiya neighborhood, where 72 people were killed. We also speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reporting from Gaza City.
The mass killings in Shejaiya have helped push the Palestinian death toll to more than 500 during the two-week Israeli assault on Gaza. The dead include more than 100 children. Some 3,100 people have been wounded and more than 81,000 displaced. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has warned it is running out of food and medicine at the schools housing more than 50,000 people. The number seeking refuge has nearly tripled since the ground invasion began on Thursday. At least 130 Palestinians have been killed during that time. We speak with Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and human rights lawyer whose accolades include the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and the Right Livelihood Award.
We look at the increasingly dangerous political climate inside Israel where several peace protests have recently come under attack. On Saturday, right-wing activists burned a Palestinian flag, chanted racial slurs, and threw stones at an antiwar protest in Haifa of Arabs and Israelis opposed to the bombardment of Gaza. Haifa’s deputy mayor, Dr. Suhail Assad, and his son were beaten. On Sunday, the captain of a youth soccer team in Be’er Sheva wrote on his facebook page: "send left-wing voters to the gas chambers and clean this country of leftists." The week before the Gaza invasion began, gangs were reportedly seen roaming the streets of Jerusalem and other towns shouting, "death to Arabs." We go to Israel to speak with Rann Bar-On, an Israeli peace activist and Duke University mathematics lecturer, who took part in Saturday’s Haifa protest. And we are joined by Max Blumenthal, senior writer for Alternet.org and bestselling author whose latest book, "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel," documents the spread of right-wing Israeli extremism.
As Israeli forces killed more than 100 Palestinians on Sunday, Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the assault on Gaza for "as long as is required," citing the backing of foreign allies that has "laid the diplomatic foundation that has given us international credit to operate." The Obama administration has provided critical support, claiming Israel has acted in self-defense and blaming Hamas for the civilian toll. But on the conflict’s bloodiest day, the White House began showing mild signs of apprehension. President Obama spoke to Netanyahu for the second time in three days and raised "serious concern about the growing number of casualties." Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry made the rounds of Sunday television talk shows to publicly defend Israel’s assault on Gaza. But in a private phone call caught on camera in between commercial breaks, Kerry appeared to speak sarcastically about the massive civilian toll in the attacks he was publicly defending. The White House says Kerry will travel to Cairo today to work an end to hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire. Max Blumenthal, a best-selling author and senior writer for Alternet, says the Obama administration has practiced "hollow diplomacy," in order to "legitimize Netanayahu’s ground operation and create political space for the kind of massacres that we have been witnessing. ... This is an absolute failure of U.S. diplomacy and an abdication of leadership by Barack Obama who says that he is heartbroken by these images that he is witnessing from the Gaza Strip, as he oversees and authorizes the shipment of the very weapons that are used to bombard hospitals."