Almost 80 per cent of Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardments have been civilians, the UN has said.
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 192 and more bloodshed was feared yesterday as Hamas did not follow the Israeli Government's approval of ceasefire terms proposed by Egypt.
According to figures from the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) 77 per cent of fatalities since the start of Operation Protective Edge on 7 July have been civilians.
Of the 138 killed when the report was completed, 36 were children, and 1,361 Palestinians had been injured. Out of wounded Palestinians, almost 390 were children and 250 were women.
Israel has targeted the homes of Hamas leaders and buildings, including mosques, allegedly used to store weapons and as meeting points for militants.
The military has repeatedly claimed that the buildings are legitimate targets but the UN report said the targeting of civilian homes is a violation of international humanitarian law unless the homes are being used for military purposes.
More than 1,250 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged so far. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have already fled their homes in northern Gaza following leaflets warning of an Israeli ground offensive and 17,000 have taken refuge at UN-operated schools.
ISRAELIS BACK NETANYAHU
Judging from a random sample of Israelis at a falafel restaurant and an ice cream parlour in the middle class Beit Hakerem neighbourhood of Jerusalem, Israelis are ready to keep going and are worried that if the army stops now, without Hamas decisively defeated, the rocket problem will resurface soon.
“We can't stop now or the same thing will happen again a year from now,” said Adi Eliav, a 49-year old building contractor between bites of falafel. Near him a television flashed on the screen the latest news of Hamas rocket attacks - “eight year old boy lightly wounded in Ashdod” “Rockets against Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and Lachish” and “Interceptions in Ashdod.”
“We can stop when we've eliminated all their stores of rockets and hurt them in a way that it will be hard for them to come back. We're not there” Eliav said.
Eliav credits Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with managing the war effort well.
Ofer Shemtov, 28, who buys and sells real estate, said that “going towards a ceasefire now means accepting that this will happen again and that Hamas will improve its capability.”
“I'm sure there will be international pressure [to stop] but the government has to stand against this pressure,” he said.