Today they are victims of genocide in their own motherland;Talking about the Gaza Genocide.

Even as Israel appears to be restraining its use of heavy bombs, Palestinian civilians are dying. The world’s condemnation is deserved, and a push to end the war is imperative.

Before war broke out in Gaza between Hamas and Israel, the southern city of Rafah was home to about 171,000 people. Now, an estimated 1.3 million – more than half of Gaza’s entire population – have crowded into what was supposed to be a safe haven but is now the latest flashpoint in the conflict It’s small comfort, then, that Israel seems to be complying with President Joe Biden’s plea for restraint and limiting itself to smaller bombs than the 500- and 2,000-pound shells that have caused so much death and devastation. In a densely populated area in which many people are living in tents, a 37-pound bomb can be just as deadly as a larger one in more sparsely populated terrain.

And so it is unsurprising that at least 45 people were killed in a May 26 airstrike that hit a compound in a designated humanitarian zone in Rafah. The strike, using what several news organizations have identified as U.S.-made GBU-39 bombs, was intended to kill just two senior Hamas operatives, but touched off a fire that killed civilians as well. The Israeli military says that it did not intend to harm civilians and that the fire may have been sparked by munitions stored near the compound.

This tragic incident in Rafah is something of a microcosm of the war and the broader debate about the seven-decade-long conflict between Israel and Palestinians displaced by the 1948 founding of the Jewish state.

One can blame Hamas for the deaths in Rafah, for embedding its terrorists and munitions among civilians, putting noncombatants at clear risk. And one can blame the deaths on Israel for dropping bombs on an encampment full of refugees whom it had directed to go there for their own safety. One can point to Hamas’ horrific Oct. 7 attack in Israel that killed more than 1,100 and saw more than 250 people taken hostage. Or one can go even further back: to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s long resistance to a two-state solution, and to Hamas’ founding as a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews.

None of that will bring back the dead, or stop yet more deaths of men, women and children who are simply trying to survive as war rages around them. We cannot let every death of innocent civilians prompt little more than a helpless shrug at all the fruitless rhetoric that has perpetuated the long hostility underlying this latest conflict.

Mr. Netanyahu’ depiction of this as an “accident” rings hollow when it’s the result of dropping a bomb of any size into an area thick with refugees. He and his government deserve international condemnation for the deaths of noncombatants. And that criticism should not be mistaken for, or contorted into, antisemitism or anti-Israeli rhetoric. Mr. Netanyahu may be Israel’s president, but that does not make him one and the same with the state of Israel. To miss that distinction is to try to shut down well-deserved criticism of him, his war Cabinet and his coalition.

This latest tragedy is all the more reason Israelis and Palestinians need to be thinking and talking about what comes after this war and urging their leaders to hasten its end. To imagine that the surrender or eradication of Hamas, if either is even possible, would in itself bring peace is to ignore the past 76 years of turmoil.


The dream of a two-state solution, despite broad international support, seems more elusive than ever. Gallup polls have found that where 61 percent of Israelis favored a two-state solution in 2012, 65 percent opposed it in 2023. And though 59 percent of Palestinians also favored a two-state solution in 2012, only 24 percent did by late last year.


We don’t need another poll to tell us that this war has likely hardened those sentiments even more. What’s needed is leadership, on both sides, with the courage and the vision to soften people’s hearts, and to guide them back to a place of hope, in which peace and coexistence are once again possibilities

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