The latest escalation of Israeli violence in the occupied territories has added to the bloody history of massacres of Palestinian families perpetrated by the Israeli army with at least 692 people from 133 Palestinian families killed in Gaza by Israeli forces since 2006, according to a report prepared by Anadolu Agency (AA).
On Nov. 14, eight members of the al-Sawarka family, including five children, were killed by an Israeli airstrike on their home in the city of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip. The Israeli military later acknowledged that it “made a mistake” in targeting a residential building in Gaza City, which led to the deaths of every member of the family. One of the worst rounds of Israeli-Gaza violence in five years began in response to news that Israel had targeted two senior Islamic Jihadi leaders earlier this month. An Israeli airstrike killed Bahaa Abu al-Atta, the commander of Islamic Jihad, as well as his wife Asmaa Abu al-Atta. This was considered the possible beginning of a renewed conflict, leaving residents fearing for their lives.
The blockaded Gaza Strip was subjected to three Israeli wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014 during which the majority of the death toll took place. One of the most notable massacres committed by Israeli occupation forces against families in Gaza took place in the summer of 2006 when Israeli navy battleships shelled the shores of the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. A family of nine was killed, and only a girl survived who appeared on media screaming in shock. In November of the same year, Israeli artillery targeted a residential neighborhood on the border, east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, killing 19 people of the Athamna family, half of them children.
During the 2008-2009 war, 29 people of the al-Samuni family were killed in the Shejaiya neighborhood in January 2009.
In 2014, 26 people of the Abu Jame family were killed in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. The Daya family of Gaza's Zaitoun neighborhood lost 22 people in January 2009, and the families of al-Najjar and Abu Jabr lost 20 people each in July 2014. On Aug. 1, during the 2014 war, more than 200 Palestinians were killed by Israeli artillery shelling in Rafah town, as 23 families lost three or more people in the attacks.
Israeli violence has continued amid years of diplomatic paralysis, diminishing hopes for peace and escalating Palestinian frustration. Israel is repeatedly targeted by rockets from Gaza and often responds by conducting retaliatory airstrikes. Palestinians are demanding that the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the territory be lifted and want the return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.
At least 311 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the blockaded Gaza Strip, most of them during border protests and associated clashes. Israeli forces deployed along the volatile border with Gaza Strip have been firing live rounds at Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations against Israel’s long-running blockade of Gaza began in March. Israel has been criticized by a U.N. human rights body for its killing of protesters in Gaza and for its treatment of Palestinians, declaring it a “war crime” under the Statute of Rome. The high casualty toll has also triggered diplomatic backlash against Israel and new charges of excessive use of force against unarmed protesters.
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