Gen. Relik Shafir of the Israeli air force said a cease-fire will be possible only if militants in Gaza stop firing rockets.
“At any given time, we can elevate the level and the type of targets,” he told reporters Sunday night in a conference call. He said Israel has taken “great pains” to avoid civilian casualties but acknowledged that is a difficult task “because Hamas fires from populated areas.”
In Gaza on Sunday, Israeli warplanes dropped bombs that hit the Dallu family residence, killing a mother and her four children, ages 10, 6, 2 and 1, as well as five other relatives. It was the single deadliest strike of the campaign, dubbed Pillar of Defense.
“They killed the whole family,” said Yasser Sallouha, an uncle of the children, looking despondent as he stood near their bodies at the morgue. “The whole family tree is gone. Were the two children launching rockets? I want someone to answer me. They are taking revenge on children.”
On Monday, Gazans buried the Dallu family at the hilltop Sheikh Radwan Cemetery in Gaza City amid continued airstrikes. One explosion shook the hill and sent a cloud of gray smoke into the air over nearby buildings. A few elderly men sobbed as men carried the still bloodied bodies of two of the children.
“We want to be martyrs like them,” Kamal al-Dallu, 60, a cousin of the family, shouted angrily. He said Gaza is ready for an Israeli ground invasion. “We don’t want war, but we will protect ourselves, and we will fight them,” he said.
Dallu and others in Gaza City have reacted with indignation and rage to Israeli warnings to stay away from Hamas or risk getting killed.
“We live in a country that is full of these groups — Hamas, Fatah, and the other factions,” Dallu said. These groups are part of Gaza, and everyone in Gaza is involved, he said. Distance is impossible.
“Where do they have to go?” Ayman al-Sahbani, the head of emergency room at al-Shifa hospital, asked indignantly, referring to the civilians he has treated. “If they say, ‘Go to this specific place; that will be safe,’ just name it.”
Beside him, doctors wheeled in 17-year-old Kafah Thaer on a gurney. She was crying hysterically but had not been wounded. The home next to hers in East Gaza had just been bombed, said Hammam Alloh, an emergency room doctor. “She has psychic trauma,” he said.