Here's Radio National presenter James Carleton speaking with (American-accented) Lt. Libby Weis, spokesperson for the Israel Defence [sic] Forces on RN's Breakfast yesterday about Israel's habit of just blazing away at Gaza:
JC: Has Israel used artillery against Gaza?
LW: Artillery has been used. Yes.
JC: But isn't artillery inherently untargeted? It can be aimed, but Israel talks of pinprick accuracy in targeting individual militants in individual rooms when, of course, an artillery shell, that is something that destroys a large area and cannot be targeted with precision.
LW: Artillery is not the only method being used on the ground. All the methods we use, all the targets selected, are done, again, with the goal of only targeting Hamas and not civilians in the area.
JC: But then why would you use artillery, because that is inherently unlikely to achieve your stated aim.
LW: Again, that's one use in a range of different operational abilities we have at our use. It's not the only thing we use, and again we weigh every situation and make the decision upon different criteria.
JC: Lt. Libby Weis, thank you for your time.
And here's just one result of Israel's blazing away at Gaza, described by Anne Barnard of the New York Times:
"The four Bakr boys were cousins, the children of fishermen who had ordered them to stay indoors. But cooped up for 9 days during Israeli bombardments, the children defied their parents and went to the seaside, the eldest shooing away his little brother, telling him it was too dangerous. As they clambered over a beach jetty in the late afternoon sun, a blast hit a nearby shack. One child was killed instantly. The others ran. There was a second blast, and 3 more bodies littered the sand.
"The Israel Defence [sic] Forces acknowledged later that it was responsible for the 'tragic outcome' and had intended to hit Hamas militants. Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai announced that Israel would observe a 6-hour 'humanitarian ceasefire' in Gaza following an appeal from the United Nations. Alon Ben-David, an Israeli military affairs analyst, said on Israeli television that the second beach blast might have been aimed at the running children, perhaps mistaken for militants. He added that given the military's technologically advanced surveillance equipment 'it is a little hard for me to understand this, because the images show that the figures are children'. One correspondent who witnessed the incident from a nearby hotel said a shell seemed to have been deliberately aimed at the boys as they were running away from the earlier strike.
"The surviving boys were carried to the nearby Deira Hotel, where foreign journalists gave first aid to other wounded children. Hamad Bakr, 13, lay flat on his back moaning in pain from a piece of shrapnel that had penetrated his chest. Nearby, his 7-year-old brother, Yunis, crouched by a wall whimpering, his face distorted in terror. Their cousin, Moatasem, 11, lay bleeding from stomach and head wounds, a bandage wrapped around his head.
"The Israeli army said: 'The IDF has no intention of harming civilians dragged by Hamas into the reality of urban combat. We are carefully investigating the incident in question. Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives. The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome'." (Strike kills four boys playing on beach, Anne Barnard, NYT/Telegraph, London/Sydney Morning Herald, 18/7/14)