By Amanda Vender

A Palestinian mother, with her two surviving children, attends the funeral of her five daughters, who were killed by an Israeli missile strike. Photo: AMIR FARSHAD EBRAHIMI

A Palestinian mother, with her two surviving children, attends the funeral of her five daughters, who were killed by an Israeli missile strike. Photo: AMIR FARSHAD EBRAHIMI

On December 27, Israeli warplanes started bombing the Palestinian territory of Gaza as people were returning from work and school. A week later, on January 3, Israel launched a ground invasion.

According to The Guardian (UK), as of January 14 more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 315 children. On the Israeli side, 13 people have been killed.

“The home [I am staying in] has been severely damaged,” said Natalie Abu Eid, an observer from Lebanon with the International Solidarity Movement. “All the glass of the house shattered. One little boy in our house fainted. An eight-year-old little boy was trembling on the ground for an hour. In front of our house we found the bodies of two little girls under a car, completely burnt. They were coming home from school.”

Israeli officials say that Israel is bombing Gaza in response to rocket attacks from Gaza landing in Israeli territory. Since 2005, these attacks by Palestinians have killed ten Israelis, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

For 18 months, Israel has enforced a blockade on Gaza and restricted the flow of medicine, food, fuel and electricity to people living in the area. Protests were held around the world calling for an end to Israeli attacks.

The United Nations Security Council urged an end to the violence and called for Israel to open border crossings to Gaza for aid supplies. The United Nations calls the situation in Gaza a humanitarian crisis, noting that there is no electricity or water for Gaza residents. However, U.S. officials have supported Israel’s actions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “When Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally.”

Glossary

Israel: A country in the Middle East founded in 1948 as a Jewish homeland. The U.S. gives Israel more economic and military aid than any country in the world. In 2008, it gave Israel $2.38 billion in military aid.

Palestinians: People from the area that now includes Israel and the Palestinian territories. When Israel was formed, about 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave the area, and millions of people, along with their descendants, now live in refugee camps.

Gaza: Part of the Palestinian territory. It is one of the poorest and most densely populated areas in the world.

Quick Fact: 1,300,000 That’s how many Palestinians live in Gaza, an area that is only 360 square kilometers in size.