11:45am AEDT, 25 January
The last couple of days has been extraordinarily hard for Israel and its supporters.
On Monday, 21 soldiers were killed when a Palestinian anti-tank missile appeared to detonate explosives in a building that the IDF was preparing to demolish. The building was brought down on those inside. With three other soldiers killed in a separate incident in Khan Younis, Monday was the deadliest day for Israel since 7 October.
As this heartfelt missive from the Times of Israel Editor David Horowitz points out, the 21 soldiers were from every part of Israeli society – “kibbutzniks and settlers and Orthodox and secular; Ashkenazim and Sephardim; a Bedouin and the son of a Filipino cleaning woman”.
Two hundred and nineteen Israeli soldiers have been killed since the ground operation began in late October.
Testimonies about sexual violence
Also this week, the Knesset caucus on victims of sexual and gender violence in the war heard searing testimony from former hostages about what they experienced and witnessed whilst hostages. The knowledge that there are still young women being held hostage in Gaza, and likely being subjected to rape and other sexual torture, is appalling.
Meanwhile, the national solidarity that, in the wake of the 7 October massacres, papered over the deep divisions within Israeli society is beginning to wear thin. We aren’t seeing anything like what we saw for most of last year, but there are increasing protests – for an immediate hostage/ceasefire deal, for the government to call elections, for an end of aid into Gaza – which, during an ongoing war, many thought would not eventuate.
ICJ preliminary findings
Finally, tomorrow, the International Court of Justice is expected to release its preliminary findings into the case that South Africa brought against Israel, alleging the latter is carrying out genocide in Gaza.
These findings won’t be of the actual allegations, but about whether, in the ICJ’s opinions, activities that could amount to genocide are taking place. If the ICJ finds that this is so (and we won’t be surprised if that happens), it is likely the ICJ will demand that Israel cease all operations in Gaza while the ICJ continues its case.
Be sure you’re across the case by reading our brief on the ICJ case, here.