Dozens of Palestinians from the Bethlehem area gathered Wednesday evening in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in solidarity with the people of Gaza who have been under Israeli military attacks since the early morning.Around 100 Palestinians and Internationals gathered and lit candles for the souls of those who were killed in the ongoing Israeli air strikes. They raised Palestinians flags and signs that read â€śTears of Gazaâ€ť and stop the attacks on Gaza.
At least eight Palestinians have been killed and thirty others were wounded since the attacks started early Wednesday. Israel says the attacks are in response to the home-made shells fired at Israeli targets by Palestinian resistance groups from the Gaza Strip, and the attack that resulted in the destruction of an Israeli military vehicle and the wounding of the troops inside.
Israeli minister of defense, Ehud Barak defined the goals for the military operation dubbed, â€śPillar of Defenseâ€ť, as weakening the ability of Hamas armed wing to fire into Israel and to maintain the level of Israeli deterrence in the region.
Among those killed in the Israeli airstrikes, Ahmad Jabari, a senior leader of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. Israeli says Jabari is responsible for the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Jabari was also the one who handed Shalit to the International Committee of the Red Crescent after the deal reached between Hamas and Israel in early 2012.
While Israeli sources said that the Israeli air force conducted surgical operations against armed Palestinians only, Palestinian medical sources said dozens of Palestinian civilians were wounded including at least 10 children and women.