Over 850 Killed as Gaza War Moves into Third Week

Israeli Cabinet Says War About Pressuring Egypt

by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2009

The Israeli war on the Gaza Strip moved into its third week today, with still no end in sight. Both sides proclaimed the great success of their respective war efforts, though Hamas once again does not appear to have killed anyone, while the civilian toll in Gaza continues to soar amid Israeli attacks.

Since Israel began its attacks, top military commanders estimate that “roughly 300” Hamas members have been killed, though others put the number higher. The overall Gaza toll now exceeds 850, with a growing number of them civilians since Israel began its ground invasion.

Tank shells were once again reported to have hit civilian targets across the strip, killing and maiming civilians. But as the world watches in horror at the destruction wrought by the invasion and waits with bated breath for Israel’s promised “phase three” escalation, Israel’s cabinet suggests the military operation is no longer about stopping the rocket fire by force (which it has failed to do, miserably) and is now about “pressuring Egypt” to offer Israel better terms in a hypothetical truce.

The good news from this change in motives is that the Israeli cabinet is at least implicitly suggesting that it will eventually agree to a ceasefire instead of just continuing the attacks ad infinitum. The bad news is that the killings will continue into the foreseeable future, now ostensibly as a bargaining tactic.

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