Palestine sympathy doesn’t equate to condoning Hamas

World of Politics with Harry McGee

The scale of what happened in Israel and Gaza over the past five days has been incredible with a death toll since last Saturday now well on the way to 2,000. To put it in context. The number of people killed within a single week is two-thirds the number of those who lost their lives during 30 years of the Troubles.

The attack on Saturday was audacious. We have grown up believing Israel’s defences were so sophisticated and extensive as to make it impregnable from wide scale Palestinian attack.

Not so; in an attack that had been planned for many months, thousands of militants from Hamas penetrated the border and attacked 22 specific targets, including kibbutzes and small settlements.

The planning was meticulous but the assault was beyond words, with butchery taking place on a vast scale, with elderly people and children been mown down.

Tragically, as the Hamas attack began that dawn, a huge open-air rave was taking place in the desert in southern Israel only three miles from the border with the Gaza Strip. Thousands of young people were attending.

The first they saw was the missiles being launched from the Gaza Strip, then militants flying in on motorised paragliders, and then the sound of gun fire from jeeps and motorbikes that had breached the security fence that separates Israel from the closed-in territory.

The final death toll from that festival alone was awful – almost 300 people with many others injured. Over 100 from across the district were taken hostage by Hamas militants.

In all some 700 Israelis were killed in what was the single biggest incursion into Israel since the Yom Kippur war half a century ago.

Everybody knew what the reaction was going to be. Within hours Israel was bombarding Gaza with missiles and airstrikes. The right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu vowed retaliation, with him saying that Israel’s actions had “only started” when he addressed Israelis in a television address on Monday evening. The hardline defence minister Yoav Gallant said that no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel would be allowed in.

Pictured: Smoke in the air indicates the bombardment of Gaza City.

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