“Oh hell, what do mine eyes
with grief behold?”

– John Milton, Paradise Lost

By Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch

People were saying their evening prayers when the IDF attacked the refuge camp at Tel al-Sultan in southern Gaza, where thousands had fled from the Israeli invasion of Rafah. They were told by the Israelis this was a safe zone, a secure place to shelter their children and grandparents. 

Still from a video shot by Kharmes al-Refi of the Israeli airstrike on the tent camp in the designated safe zone of Tel-al Sultan, western Rafah

“For your safety, the Israeli Defense Force is asking you to leave these areas immediately and to go to known shelters in Deir el Balah or the humanitarian area in Tel al-Sultan through Beach Road,” read one of the leaflets dropped in Rafah a few days before. “Don’t blame us after we warned you.”

The safe zone was a tent city amid the dunes–one of dozens scattered along more than 16 kilometers up the Gaza coast. The tents were made of plastic, which whipped and frayed in the coastal winds–a thin layer of protection against the sun and sand that soon turned into a death trap. 

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