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On 14 November Israel assassinated Hamas military leader Ahmad al-Ja`bari, simultaneously blowing up a truce mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials and accepted by Ja`bari, other Palestinian parties and - according to the Egyptians - Israel as well. In this and a further series of air raids eight more were killed, at least two of them children. Claiming these initial attacks had destroyed the long-range missile capability in the Gaza Strip, Israel`s strategy of a short, sharp assault that would remind the Palestinians who makes the rules proved illusory. As Israeli planes pounded the length and breadth of the Gaza Strip with increasing ferocity, causing hundreds of mainly civilian casualties, Palestinian rocket fire - while no match for Israel`s - extended as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
On the evening of 16 November the Israeli cabinet approved the call-up of 75,000 military reservists. This is almost eight times as many as Israel deployed during its brutal 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip. During Operation Cast Lead Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilian non-combatants. Operation Pillar of Cloud continues. Once again, the extent of Israeli war crimes will reflect the degree to which it is permitted to act with impunity and escape accountability for its actions.
[Introductory Text by Mouin Rabbani, photos from the Associated Press selected by Michelle Woodward.]