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On July 22, Israel killed a Hamas leader, Salah Shaheda, who was in charge of many Hamas attacks. This, in itself, I would not criticize. Shaheda was, in effect, a commander in a hostile force, trying to kill Israelis. To attack enemy fighters and their commanders is normal in war. The issues come from the timing of this attack and the way it was done.

To attack enemy fighters and their commanders is normal in war, but launching a provocative attack just when the enemy is starting to be open to peace raises the suspicion that preventing peace was the real purpose of the attack.

Gideon Meir of the Israeli foreign ministry said that they regret that bystanders were killed (14) and wounded (over 140). "To our great sorrow, in these operations, sometimes, and in military operations, civilians are also killed," he said, which presents their deaths as an unpredictable accident. However, Israel carried out the attack in a way that was sure to kill many bystanders. The one-ton bomb was so powerful that it knocked several houses into rubble. For such a large warhead to have caused few casualties would have been a miracle.

Officers that plan air attacks study carefully what their weapons are likely to do. The Israeli officers who planned this attack must have realized, if they allowed themselves to apply their knowledge, that the attack would kill many neighbors.

Shaheda's neighbors say they did not know he was a Hamas leader. I find that believable, because Hamas leaders know that Israel will try to assassinate them if it can locate them. They also know that Israel has many informers in the Palestinian population. If they put up signs saying "Hamas leader", they might as well shoot themselves.

Shehada was killed along with his wife and some of their children. His family was apparently living in a civilian residential area (an area where people live). Israel accuses Hamas of siting their activities among civilians to use the latter as a shield. The implication is that any civilians Israel kills while attacking them are not Israel's fault. However, the simple fact is that there is nowhere else to go in Gaza. Gaza is small, and very densely populated.