Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Chief Rabbi have condemned horrifying scenes on television showing a group of far-right Israeli men beating an Arab man and separately a group of Arab men beating a Jewish man. Scenes of neighbors turning on each other who used to live in peace in towns where both Israelis and Arabs live has turned what is usually a quiet and friendly areas into violent and dangerous streets.
Israel continues to strike Hamas targets inside Gaza after Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Tel Aviv and at Jerusalem civilian areas. Hamas said they had to act by launching rockets after violence erupted on the Temple Mount, and area sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Nearly all of the violence for now, is in mixed Israeli/Arab towns. Hamas rockets have hit malls, homes, schools, synagogues, and public parks. Israeli responds by striking where the rockets are being launched from, however, many of the places Hamas is using as launch sites are places where civilians and children go to school or live.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 80 civilians have been killed including 17 children. Israel has disputed that figure saying many are actually Hamas militants who routinely disguise themselves as civilians when they are engaged in terrorist activities. “It’s a horrible act to use areas where kids and civilians live to launch rockets from, using people as human shields,” says Rivka Gordon, who lives in Lod, a city in central Israel where Israel’s main international airport is located.
“We have to defend our pride, when we are treated disrespectfully and pushed into a corner, we have no choice but to attack,” said Khalid Annawon from the town of Jenin in the West Bank. An unidentified i24 reported asked Khalid, “why does Hamas targets their attacks at malls, residential areas, schools and places of worship? Shouldn’t they attack the Israeli military, police and government places? Khalid said that he doesn’t know why Hamas, which is located in the Gaza Strip, doesn’t target more legitimate targets and seems to always go after civilians.
U.S. President Joe Biden called for calm and urged both sides to restrain themselves, though he did say Israel has a right to defend itself. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. still believes in a two-state solution.
Human rights group Amnesty International, in a rare move, called Hamas’ actions a war crime. It is rare because usually they side with Palestinians.
The normal joyful time at Al Aqsa mosque in which Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan was marked by a more muted and somber observance. Most of the violence in Israel currently is civilian attacking neighbors and rioting, most of the Hamas and Israeli strikes have been limited of the last couple days.