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Gaza Food Distribution Killings

It is being reported that approximately 100 Palestinian residents of Gaza were killed this week during what has been described as both a riot and a stampede while food was being distributed in Gaza City. Hamas and Israel, of course, have differing stories about what has happened. Israel Defense Forces have forced all media people to leave the Gaza City area of Northern Gaza, so there are no independent accounts of what happened.

Hamas claims that IDF troops opened fire on un-armed civilians and that most of the dead were shot by IDF troops. A very few, they claim, were trampled in the ensuring stampede, or run-over by aid trucks trying to get back to border crossing.

The IDF, on the otherhand, says that a huge crowd of Palestinians encircled and besieged the aid trucks, which the IDF troops were attempting to protect. When the encirclement became a riot, the IDF fired warning shots into the air in an attempt to break the siege and free the aid trucks. The IDF claims that only a very few Palestinians may have been shot and that the vast majority of casualties were the from being trampled during the riot or being run-over by fleeing trucks.

Without independent news reporters on the scene, we will never know what truly happened.

It should be noted that the IDF has ordered all civilians to refugee south out of Gaza City, and that they (the IDF) will assume anyone left in Gaza City is part of Hamas. For that order to be considered valid, it has to be enforced. Since the IDF allowed aid trucks into Gaza City, they clearly weren't prepared to enforce their order. Of course, Israel is under extreme international pressure to not enforce this order.

News media outlets, foreign governments, and everyone else should not be surprised by this turn of events. The most militant members of Hamas have stayed in and under Gaza City (their homes). That they are hungry should be of no surprise to anyone. Further, that they are desparate enough to attack aid trucks for food should not be surprise either.

Will this damage the negotiations for a cease fire? If Israel and Hamas truly want a cease fire... this event will not change that dynamic. Currently both sides seem less that optimistic about a cease-fire happening soon. President Biden seems more optimistic. It seems to me that it is unlikely that either side of the negotiations will publically indicate that an agreement is near as long as there are any outstanding issues between them. The report of cease-fire, if it happens at all, will come upon the world suddenly and without warning.