Children on their way home from school and policemen parading for a graduation ceremony were the principal victims of a bloody few hours that left the territory in flames.
Neat sleight of hand, that: children and celebrating policemen, one single category. Then, deeper into the news item, we're informed that
The strikes caused panic and confusion as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory. Most of those killed were security men — including Gaza’s police chief — but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead.
If you keep on going all the way to the bottom of the page, you finally get some numbers:
Earlier in the day, when the death toll stood at 155, police spokesman Ehud Ghussein had said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed.
Yesterday I speculated that The Independent is probably awful. Perhaps I spoke too hastily. Their leader this morning is perfectly reasonable. They haven't become Zionists, but if everyone wrote like this, I wouldn't need to blog about it.
The Guardian, meanwhile, is even lower today than it was yesterday. They've got a column written by Peter Beaumont, none other than their Foreign Affairs editor. Obviously everything is all Israel's fault, you wouldn't expect anything else from the Guardian, but Beaumont goes even further and hopes that Israel has finally given the Arab world something that will focus their minds on how evil their real enemy is:
But perhaps in a wider Arab world, becoming more uncomfortable by the day about what is happening inside Gaza, something is changing. And Israel has supplied a rallying point. Something tangible and brutal that gives the critics of its actions in Gaza – who say it has a policy of collective punishment backed by disproportionate and excessive force – something to focus on.
Something to be ranked with Deir Yassin. With the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Something, at last, that Israel's foes can say looks like an atrocity.
Creepy, isn't it? The fellow is hoping that the Arabs will actively hate the Israelis as much as he, his newspaper and his readers do, and that the overtly antisemitic killers of the Hamas will serve as their rallying point. (Sabra and Shatilla, by the way, were massacres by Arabs of Arabs).
As a small side story, it's interesting to note the URL given to Beaumont's column: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/27/israelandthepalestinians-terrorism. Israel and the Palestinians terrorism. And you thought the Guardian never uses the word "terrorism" in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Mahmoud Abbas apparently doesn't read his Guardian, because he's blaming Hamas for what he's calling a massacre, while standing next to the Egyptian Foreign Minister. It would be hard to make up such a story line, wouldn't it: Arabs condemning Hamas, while the Guardian prays they'll join it in its hatred of Israel.