How Israel shattered Gaza truce leading to escalating death and tragedy: a timeline

A wounded Palestinian boy at a hospital after an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 15 November 2012.

Eyad Al Baba APA images

Today, 3 Israelis were killed as a result of rocket fire from Gaza.

This came after Israel had killed 13 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman, and injured 115, including 26 children and 25 women since yesterday, 14 November.

This will be presented by Israel – and sympathetic or careless world media – as another justification for Israel’s attacks on Gaza to stop rocket fire. But this narrative is false.

Where there was calm and an effective truce, Israel chose to shatter it, bringing about the current deadly escalation.

In general, Palestinians fired rockets, or attacked the Israeli army, as a response to Israeli attacks, seeking to avoid escalation and publicly embracing a truce. Take a look at the sequence:

  • On 29 October the BBC reported that “Militants in Gaza have fired 26 rockets into Israel, officials say, amid a flare-up in fighting which shattered a brief ceasefire between the two sides. No injuries were reported from the barrage, in the south of the country.” The BBC said that, “It came hours after Israeli aircraft hit targets in Gaza, after militants fired rockets following the killing by Israel of a Gazan who Israel said fired mortars at its troops.”

    BBC reporter Jon Donnison said, “It is often difficult to pinpoint when a specific escalation in violence started - both sides will always remember what they see as a previous act of aggression by the other which enables them to justify their attacks as retaliation.” But we can do better than that.

  • On 4 November, Israeli forces shot dead “an unarmed, mentally unfit man” walking near an Israeli-imposed “buffer” area inside the occupied Gaza Strip.

  • Yet, after the 28-29 October “flare-up” reported by the BBC, the Israel-based Twitter account @qassamcount, which catalogues projectiles fired from Gaza toward Israel recorded almost no rocket fire. Qassam Count tweeted at 23:56 UTC on 5 November about just one rocket.

The killing of Ahmad Abu Daqqa

  • On 8 November, Israeli occupation forces made an incursion into the Gaza Strip near al-Qarara villlage northeast of Khan Yunis fatally injuring a child. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR):

They leveled areas of Palestinian land amidst indiscriminate shooting. A few hours later, they moved southwards to ‘Abassan village. They opened fire indiscriminately and leveled areas of Palestinian land. An Israeli helicopter gunship also opened fire at the area. At approximately 16:30, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting by IOF [Israeli occupation forces] military vehicles, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. At the time he was shot, Ahmed had been playing football with his friends in front of his family’s house, located nearly 1,500 meters away from the area where the IOF were present.

Ahmad Abu Daqqa, profiled by The Electronic Intifada’s Rami Almeghari, died of his injuries.

  • On 9 November, the day after the killing of Ahmad Abu Daqqa:

Palestinians attack Israeli army, Israeli army kills civilians

Following this, Israel attacked civilian neighborhoods in Gaza. In the ensuing 72 hour period, Israeli forced killed 7 Palestinians. According to PCHR, five of the dead were civilians, including 3 children. Fifty-two others, including 6 women and 12 children were wounded.

“Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries resulted from an Israeli attack on a football playground in al-Shoja’iya neighborhood east of Gaza City,” PCHR reported.

Not surprisingly, Palestinians fired rockets into Israel, as recorded by “Qassam Count”:

Truce talks

Qassam Count records no rockets on 11 November. This can perhaps be explained by the fact that Palestinian factions were in talks over a truce and were keen to see calm restored.

Israel’s Ynet reported on 11 November:

Egyptian Intelligence officials have successfully brokered an end to the current round of escalation in the south, Ynet learned Sunday. No Israeli source has corroborated the report.

The Ynet reported added:

According to senior Egyptian sources, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to hold their fire if Israel suspends its airstrike on Gaza. > Cairo-based sources said that Israel reportedly agreed not to retaliate over sporadic rocket fire from Gaza, as long as it was sans casualties

Truce takes hold

Reuters reported on 13 November:

After five days of mounting violence, Israel and the Palestinians stepped back from the brink of a new war in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, sending signals to each other via Egypt that they would hold their fire unless attacked.

The report added:

Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Gaza’s Hamas government, praised the main armed factions in the enclave for agreeing on Monday night to a truce. “They showed a high sense of responsibility by saying they would respect calm should the Israeli occupation also abide by it,” he said.

Israel destroys the truce

Yet Israel was not interested in calm.

  • On 14 November Israel carried out the extrajudicial killing of Hamas military chief Ahmad al-Jabari.

Reuters noted that the Israeli attack “appeared to end a 24-hour lull in cross-border violence that surged this week.”

The rest is tragic history, some undoubtedly yet to be written in innocent blood.

An Israeli pattern

Israel’s contempt for truces and ceasefires is nothing new. In November 2008, Israel broke a months-long ceasefire, manufacturing a crisis that it then used to justify its December 2008-January 2009 massacre of 1,400 people in Gaza.

Israel has a long, well-documented history of breaking ceasefire after ceasefire, but you would never know it by watching the news or reading, say, The New York Times.

It is also important to keep in mind the context that Israel and Palestinians in Gaza are not symmetrical “sides.” Gaza is a small, impoverished enclave, home to 1.6 million people, some 80 percent of whom are refugees. Gaza is under a tight siege and blockade by Israel, the occupying power.




i'm sorry if this seems off topic. i'm just wondering, is there a reason that in reporting human tragedies EI draws a distinction between the deaths of men and women? when you write "Israel had killed 13 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman", you not only assume that the "normal" association with the word Palestinian is that of a male figure, you also more generally reiterate the "normal" interpretation of who is a person as a male, and worse put women right next to children as defenseless creatures whose deaths are more tragic than that of men.


Women n children killing are considered to be out of the norm since dey are weak creatures hence harmless and defenseles compared to men that is why for them being harmed is considered to be a tragedy and a big loss to the society that is why its presented as shown above


Are a misogynist moron. I am a woman and I would kick your ass. Defenseless. pffft


Death of women and children ARE tragic. I wouldn't say it's more tragic than men, but it's tragic nonetheless because these are traditionally and historically NOT people who are sent into war (save for a few exceptions). So when they die outside the battlefield it is seen as a senseless death as they are not even involved in the whole fighting. And children ARE defenseless. When a child that's barely a year old dies and a 30 year old man dies, how do you react? Do you mourn the one who dies at the best stage of life more, or the one whose years will never be realized?


I agree with the original reply, please just note all those killed cumulatively. There is no need to divide men from women.


Children are defenseless and it is especially tragic when they die due to war. However, woman should no longer be considered defenseless. Maybe woman were "historically NOT people sent into war" but they are now. There have been female suicide bombers all over the middle east, and now in the American army woman can be sent into combat. Its an antiquated notion and it doesn't belong in a article about a modern conflict.


please take it into the Palestinian context, not the Western world. I may be wrong, but I think quite a large amount of Palestinian women are home makers and care givers, nurturing mothers and spiritual guidance to children as opposed to career chasing executives, or those sent into the frontline of combat. I wouldn't say women are defenseless, but there's definitely something that crosses the line when you kill a pregnant woman or a mother trying to protect her children in a home.


I'm sure it's different in Gaza because opportunities are limited for obvious reasons (Israel) and they probably suffer from an even more sexist environment (Hamas) but Palestinian women and girls are highly motivated and often highly educated, often more so than the men. And yes, many are homemakers but many, many work and are sometimes the primary bread winners, as in other countries. Israel sees no difference between Palestinian men, women, and children because they mostly believe we are all terrorists-- just look at what their rabbis preach. Given this viewpoint, they are lucky that we don't view things the same way, since most every Israeli citizen serves in the military and thus is a legitimate target.


modern conflict, yes but Palestine is NOT America. Stop trying to derail from the actual issue in order to promote your 'modern views'. There's far more at stake here than nitpicking at gender equalities - because when death is concerned - there's no gender bias.


The fact that the Israeli army as well as others now have female soldiers in full combat zones does not bely the fact that in most cases the rules of war still regard
the deliberate targeting of women and children and male civilians as a warcrime.

This is especially so when they have the ABILITY as the IDF and their spokesman as well as the U.S publically claim to elswhere*, 'surgically target ONLY Hamas or say ( *Hezbollah/ Teleban) insurgent personnel over and over again on news bulletins, which are given to the world's media. When using advanced drone and satellite technology this is somewhat undone, when we see ex IDF spokesman on other newsfeeds elsewhere, claim EVERY DEATH in GAZA as a terrorist's and everyone can see they are more often children or women, old men or others.

This type of Hasbara or disinformation is about as useful now as the self defence claim of proportionate force..

The whole world is watching and not by any means anti semetic but definitely anti the propaganda that is so easily disproven by evidence that may hopefully put many like Netenyahu, Gilard Sharon and others in the dock at the Hague as it should have done Blair, Bush and any leaders who continue to support remote control premeditated genocide but call it democratic justified retaliation.. Same thing actually they are just spun words, that are very simple to spin back...


it's great to be told by two men that i'm a weak defenseless creature, and that my death would be like the death of a baby and not like the death of an adult male. that's exactly the point, we are not defenseless creatures and equating our agency to that of a baby is demeaning. it seems inappropriate to have this discussion in this context, there are more important things going on now but really, as men, it's not very helpful when you tell women that they are weak defensless creatures.


Like it or not, the 'people'='male adults'='potential combatants' assumption still has a fix on many people's minds, and specifying 'women and children' among the victims counters the assumption that the dead would be adult males. This is how public sympathies and heartstrings are tugged, to this day, for better or worse. Though just saying the number of children dead would probably be better.


Please try to focus on the problem at hand. Focusing in on a simple insignificant use of rhetoric in the piece isn't what we should be most most concerned with. Regardless of whether it be men, women, children, or animals. It is saddening to see nonetheless. Remember Gaza.


With few exceptions, most Middle-eastern cultures do not send women and children to combat. Israel is an exception in that they require military service for able bodied citizens, both male and female, between certain ages.
Some terrorist cells have also been known to use women as suicide bombers. These are usually women who have seen all their male relatives killed, lost everything to Israeli annexation and feel they have nothing to live for but vendetta.
But, for the most part, Palestinian culture demands that the men must protect and defend the women and children in their family. To this end, Palestinian men are often combatants where women, children and often the elderly are unwilling victims. Remember that bombs are indiscriminate.
Looking at it in another context, Under Israeli law, most Israeli adults are military, most Palestinians are not.
Western ideologues often ignore these details when passing knee-jerk judgments on others, even when Western subcultures may be comparable.
For example, one mainstream American Protestant church proscribes strict roles for the women in their church, including appropriate dress, occupation and recreational activities. Women in this church don't feel abused or that they are being controlled, but that they are protected.


A woman died and subsequently other women have died and more will die while you get worked up about the fact we are told this in a way you don't like.
I hope you are putting as much effort into campaigning for a stop to this slaughter be it women, men or children who are dying


There is a tendency in the press to reduce the civilian casualty toll by defining all military-aged males as militants. The theory is that since the militants in many modern conflicts do not wear uniforms, it cannot be proven that a male casualty of fighting age is not a militant, and so the benefit of the doubt is given to, in this case, Israel, though it could just as easily be US/UK/Nato. Hence the importance attached to recording the deaths of women and children is that they are definitely civilian, and any male casualties are "suspected militants".
The link refers to recording of casualties for Obama's drone strikes, but in reality this has been commonplace for many, many years.


When said a man was killed, it becomes very easy to say "well, he was probably armed" or "he's a soldier." But when women are highlighted in the news, this is to say that the attacked reached civilians. Also, whether we like it or not, the societies of the world still have the false impression that women are "weak" and "defenceless." As a sociologist, I believe this became a "self-fulfilling prophecy," meaning, originally an untrue statement becomes true as women are not going through processes of socialization that empower them and train them on how to defend themselves.
I hope this answers your question.


In the East, especially the middle East, the death of women as collateral is viewed in special light as they take no part in combat nor are they a threat. Their protection is valued by the men of the society. I think its important for the reader to come to understand such differences in cultural boundaries rather than raise red flags on femenism for the sake of Western parables.


it is propanganda to show that the majority killed were men. and so must have been lawful executions


Women and children tend to be non-combatants. Israel always brags about their "surgical" strikes -- supposedly only hitting targets of military value. And any casualties of innocent civilians or non combatants they chalk up to "collateral damage." But when you see the actual statistics and what a high percentage of people are non-combatants -- clearly the majority -- this gives the lie to their propaganda. That's why I think it is important to include this distinction in any reporting because, in part, it paints a more complete picture of the deadly effects of this campaign -- which is what, to me, amounts to a massacre of an essentially defenseless population.


Because while an adult male could possibly be an armed combatant, a woman (particularly in a Muslim country) or a child almost certainly is not - thus making their killing by the Israeli regime clearly criminal under international or indeed domestic law. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the background situation, in an armed conflict it is possible to at least make a legal case for strikes against armed resistance fighters.

For strikes that kill unarmed civilians, however, particularly at such grossly disproportionate levels, no such defence is possible. I hope I live to see those responsible put on trial at the ICC in the Hague, like other war criminals of all nations, political persuasions and ethnicities, and - following appropriate reforms to sentencing policy - swiftly and humanely hanged from a good stout length of hemp rope as an example to other such murderers, just as Goering and Goebbels were before them. For now, however, thanks to the political influence and wealth of its international benefactors, Israel gets a free pass while western Governments wring their hands on the sidelines.


and not only is it off comment it detracts from the real issues here which is the killing of innocent men, women and children. Men and women are not the same as is obvious by the fact that they are called men and women and so by identifying one gender it means those who want to can work out the number of the other. OK to satisfy you they could say KILLED children 9 women 1 men... but then someone would question the order of the list.

I find it sad that you write so much about how the death of a woman is reported but say nothing of the sorry that that death brings. For me it is more important to raise the fact that people are dying but that seems to be lost in your issue over how that is reported.


I note that "Israel’s contempt for truces and ceasefires is nothing new. In November 2008, Israel broke a months-long ceasefire, manufacturing a crisis that it then used to justify its December 2008-January 2009 massacre ..."

Is it my imagination or is it November are Zionists manufacturing a crisis again and is there an election in January that Bibi is interested in?


Women, children and elderly are considered vulnerable populations that, in international humanitarian/human rights terms, need special protection. Clearly, they are not being safeguarded.


I am sorry but no matter what gender/race you are everyone is as weak as one another when being shot at by bullets and attacked by rockets, especially when you are civilian. I'd also like to take this opportunity to say how (explitive beginning with f) crazily biased this article is, journalism should be free from bias, not full of some quazi-pro-Palestine garbage like something a tyrant such as Hitler would have published in his hay day. I therefore condemn this article. Also whichever idiot who cannot spell said women are defenceless creatures is an utter moron, give yourself a break you clearly arent living in the 21st century.


"explitive" ... "idiot who cannot spell"


You seriously went down the Hitler route? Man, you're utterly mental. I call Godwin's Law

Anyway, this article deals in facts and uses mainly Israeli sources or Reuters. Now, if you're saying that they employ propaganda akin to fascism's finest efforts, then....


Do you think it is a game?
Would you be willing that " just one rocket" be fired at your home?

Anyway, it's simple, if you do not want Israeli attacks on Gaza, simply do not fire missiles into Israel...
I don't get it... if Israel has such strong military abilities, way shot missiles into it?
Even if indeed Israel was the first one to open fire, it wouldn't make any seance to fire back.


THANK YOU. Finally some one said what I am feeling. the line "just one rocket" made me crazy. As well as so many other selected text turned to convey a specific tainted message.


Just one rocket, you focus in on that and use it to justify the actions of Israel. In answer to your questions, no I would not like to be in the area where just one rocket landed though the rockets seem to cause little damage, few casualties and no deaths until the recent change of target following Israel's recent attacks on Gaza.
What I would ask you is do you believe it it right to kill so many innocent Palestinians in Gaza because of 'just one rocket' or even many rockets? Do you think that after all this time where rockets have been fired despite the overwhelming military superiority of Israel and the on going blockade the attacks by the IDF will actually stop the rockets and make life safer in the long run as it hasn't so far?

Rather than raise the number of rockets surely it is time for the more powerful Israel to look at other ways than trying to annihilate the opposition and so kill many innocent men, women and children who have no control over what is happening they try another way? The blockade is only making more enemies, the attacks by the IDF is only killing more innocents and making more people resolute in opposing Israel, these people are the descendants of those who welcomed the returning Jews in the last century when they were fleeing Europe and helped them, their hospitality has been thrown back in their face and it is about time that stopped and Gaza and the West Bank were allowed to exist and hopefully flourish as when your enemy is well fed and doing well they tend to stop fighting.


the airspace and territorial waters? who controls what comes in and out?


No indeed you are right. Gaza is not occupied, it is under siege and being starved and attacked and denied the basic necessities of life.


what are the facts as regards the treatment of Gaza by Israel, is it an independent state in full control of it's borders, territorial water, airspace, use of it's land, planning of buildings, roads etc. Is it able to import what it wants, export what it wants, are all those living there under the rule of the elected government of Gaza? Can it's people move freely without hinder, can they live knowing that no foreign army will appear in their street, knock on their door, take their children away? Why didn't you tell us what the position of Gaza is?


It would be helpful for you to include the timestamp on the qassamcount twitter posts, just having a day isn't useful.


people these days just don't get the phrase 'sympathy', 'death' & 'war' in their fat little brain anymore. Stop laying down unreasonable quotes that will not work as miracles to stop the war. Action speaks louder then words! be a human being and save the unfortunates of this catastrophe. If all of you rather sit back & debate over some stupid issue about man & woman. Then peace is just a fairytale for the two countries. Don't let your ego blind you from seeing the truth. Seriously, its pathetic. And all of you dare to call yourselves intelligent beings. God is fair, you do good things you're one stop closer to heaven. If you do bad things, then you'll only rot in hell. unless you repent for all your sins. Man, woman, children, militants, civilians, babies, they are all the same. All of them are born with a brain & a heart. Defenseless or not, its still a death. And should be remembered not questioned.


Wikipedia ya empezo a DESINFORMAR una verguenza de articulo sobre este vergonzoso ataque del militarista "Estado" de I$rahell formado por colonos inmigrantes, sobre la indefensa poblacion originaria de Palestina


when all the hot air has blown away, the fact remains that the state of israel was created on the land and blood of the palestinian people in a continuing act of european colonialism and genocide. the solution will be the dissolution of the racist state and the removal of all the zionists who refuse to recognize palestinian nationhood on it's historical lands.


And America was created on the backs and blood of native indians. Shall we go down the list of countries that were taken over by war. Oh, the Mexican American war comes to mind. You took away my land, so we will throw rocks and bombs at you until we get it back - you want me to give it back> Really


the analogy you make shows you have no compassion or understanding of the situation. But as you raise it, yes there should be reparations to the native Americans who were forced from their lands but this article is about what is happening now where for a number of years the blockade has been an attack on the people of Gaza, Men, Woment and Children which has not ceased. The mainly ineffectual firing of a few missiles while wrong has had a comparatively insignificant impact on Israel. That doesn't make it right but it in no way justifies the behaviour of Israel which is shown in comments by members of the Knesset who have stated that they want to put Gaza back in the middle ages and another that he wants to drive all Palestinians into the sea and destroy them. With that mindset amongst the Israeli leaders and the ongoing campaign of punishment to the whole of the Gazan population any action by anyone from Gaza can only be seen as a reaction to the ongoing oppression and injustice they experience daily at the hands of Israel who claim it makes them safe. This policy they pursue does not make Israel safe and it is sad that people like you on here rather than denounce the killing by Israel as well as the rockets fired by a few individuals from Gaza seek to find the smallest thing that may in your mind justify the killing of children. That is the real issue here.


I'm just alil confused still. Your saying - 29 October (action) Mortars are fired from Gaza at Israeli troops (reaction) Israel retaliates by killing the militant they believed responsible. (reaction) Militants fire rockets into southern Israel (reaction) Israeli aircraft hit targets in Gaza (reaction) Militants fire more rockets into Israel... Ummm so how exactly is Israel responsible for breaking the cease fire?

THEN you state all is quiet for a few days. Except for A Rocket fired from Gaza? This is not another breach?? Israel is suppose to pretend didn't happen, and doesn't count as a breach of the truce, right? Looks to me like militants were needling Israeli's... - The killing of the mental unstable man wasn't a retaliation for that rocket. Tension was high, the man walking towards Israeli soldiers, and didn't stop when asked to, they fired warning shots at him, he still didn't stop. so they shot him. The soldiers were acting in self defense. He could have been rigged with explosives for the soldiers knew. He wouldn't stop so they could search him, What were they suppose to just let him walk over and risk possibly blowing the soldiers up? ... Dude one Rocket is still a breach of the truce... I'm really trying to be objective here but I just don't see how Israel is responsible for the breach..