Israeli Escalation Imperils Gaza Truce Talks

Death Toll Passes 700 as Israel Steps Up Attacks

by Jason Ditz, January 07, 2009

Tomorrow’s Cairo ceasefire talks may well be the best chance at peace the Gaza Strip has seen since Israel began its attacks 12 days ago. But as this afternoon’s brief humanitarian lull gave way to not just renewed, but escalated attacks, the prospects of those talks look weakened.

As Israel ratcheted up their attacks in southern Gaza, they forced thousands of additional Gaza civilians from their homes. And as shells continue to rain down on the tiny enclave, the toll continues to soar. Over 700 have now been killed in the attacks, and at least 220 of those are children. Israel’s attempts to defend their actions in the killing of 46 civilians in an attack on a school yesterday fell flat when they finally admitted their official story had no basis.

So where does the truce stand? Hamas seems hopeful. But the quick return to killings has certainly put a damper on things, as has the apparent split in the Israeli government over an exit strategy. Meanwhile many Israelis continue to cheer on the war, and feel the prospect of ending the military’s killings in the Gaza Strip poses, as so many things seem to, an existential threat to Israel itself.

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