If the harrowing images and stories coming out of Gaza in recent days feel like déjà vu, it’s because many people believe they have seen them before. Over the years, Palestinians have come to predict and expect escalations of violence in the overcrowded, besieged Gaza strip at eerily regular intervals.
Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which lasted from December 2008 to January 2009, killed an estimated 1,400 Palestinians. Pillar of Defense, in November 2012, stopped short of a ground invasion but still killed 174 Palestinians, according to UN figures. Protective Edge, which was launched on July 7 and entered what the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) called “a new phase” Thursday night, has killed more than 325 Palestinians so far.
“In terms of brutality and force, this is already much more brutal than 2012, though… I don’t think it will be as bloody as Cast Lead,” Idan Landau, an Israeli scholar and commentator, told VICE News. He cited statistics by human rights watchdog B’tselem that compared the percentage of civilian casualties in the last three operations: 55 percent in 2008-2009, 52 percent in 2012, and 76 percent in the current operation — at least, up until the ground invasion.