David Hearst writes in Middle East Eye:
I would like you to try an exercise. Google the words “family of eight killed” and you will be given several options – one in Sonora, Mexico, another in Pike, Ohio, yet another in Mendocino County, California. But Google’s massive memory seems to have suffered amnesia over what took place just one month ago in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. To recap, because you, too, may have forgotten: on 14 November, an Israeli pilot dropped a one-tonne JDAM bomb on a building where eight members of one family were sleeping. Five of them were children. Two of them were infants.
At first, the Israeli army tried to lie its way out of responsibility for the killing of al-Sawarka family (one other family member has since died of injuries, taking the total to nine). Its Arabic-language spokesman claimed that the building was a command post for an Islamic Jihad rocket-launching unit in the central Gaza Strip.
However, as Haaretz revealed, the target was at least a year old. The intelligence was based on rumours, and no one had bothered to check who was living inside that building: they just dropped the bomb anyway. Military intelligence capable of identifying and hitting moving targets like Bahaa Abu al-Atta, the Islamic Jihad’s commander in the northern Gaza Strip – or attempting to kill Akram al-Ajouri, a member of its political bureau in Damascus – is simultaneously incapable of updating its target bank from one year ago.
The Israeli army need not have bothered lying. No one took any notice. Neither the exchange of rocket fire nor the killing of the Sawarka family made the front pages of the Guardian, New York Times or Washington Post
Israel’s suffocation of Gaza predates the siege that started when Hamas took over in 2007. As Israeli writer Meron Rapoport has said, Israel’s leaders have long harboured genocidal thoughts about what to do with the enclave that they chased all those refugees into after 1948. In 1967, former Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol set up a unit to encourage Palestinians to emigrate. “Precisely because of the suffocation and imprisonment there, maybe the Arabs will move from the Gaza Strip… Perhaps if we don’t give them enough water they won’t have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither,” he suggested, according to declassified minutes of cabinet meetings released in 2017.