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What Israel's news organization says about Palestinian deaths.

Haaretz is Israel's third largest newspaper. This editorial is worth reading.

Editorial | Minimizing Deaths of Gazan Civilians Is in Israel’s Best Interest

Haaretz Editorial

Dec 4, 2023 3:57 am IST

Now that the war in Gaza has started up again, Israel would be wise to listen to what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had to say during his visit here last week, and even more to President Joe Biden’s call to limit civilian casualties. Blinken made it clear that what had happened prior to the seven-day humanitarian truce and the release of the hostages could not happen again when the fighting resumed.

At a press conference after his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken emphasized that “before Israel resumes major military operations, it must put in place humanitarian, civilian protection plans that minimize further casualties of innocent Palestinians.”

Shocked, wounded and bleeding since October 7, with 1,200 murdered, hundreds more wounded and some 240 kidnapped, including babies, children, women and the elderly, Israel has not been able to engage in a serious public debate on the question of harming civilians in Gaza.

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The Israeli public has not been fully exposed to the death and destruction on the other side. Those who get their information about what is happening only from the Israeli media have only a partial picture, enabling them to give little thought to the need to reduce harm to civilians, including children and babies.

We should not forget that according to estimates not denied by Israel, some 15,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip to date, most of them “non-combatants,” including more than 4,000 children. On the matter of humanitarian aid, Israel has insisted on limiting the number of trucks permitted to enter Gaza to deliver food and medicine.

The Israel Defense Forces urged the residents of neighborhoods north and east of Gaza City to evacuate their homes, and more recently distributed a complicated map detailing zones that Gazans in the south will be required to move to if the military operation there goes ahead.

However, it appears that such an operation will not be easy to pull off, mainly due to the presence of two million people now crowded into just one half of the enclave. Most of northern Gaza is no longer habitable after the fighting there.

The call to minimize civilian casualties and increase humanitarian aid, especially since Gazans who fled the north have nothing to return to, are especially important given that senior political and military officials are talking about a prolonged period of fighting ahead. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi expect months of high-intensity conflict.

Ignoring harm to civilians and the need to allow humanitarian aid will not only lose Israel international support; the U.S. needs Israel’s cooperation so that it can continue to give its military operation full backing. Cooperation is in Israel’s interest.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

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