The tone of the White House and some of Israel’s other Western allies shifted slightly Monday from unequivocal support to “concern for the growing number of casualties” and calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as the Palestinian death toll in the now two-week operation by the Netanyahu administration climbed to 548.

“Democracy Now” reports that more than 100 Palestinians were killed in a 24-hour period between Saturday and Sunday nights. The dead include 72 residents of Gaza’s poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods. Additionally, a strike on the al-Haqsa Hospital on Monday in what is at least the third attack on a Gaza hospital since the start of the ground invasion Thursday killed at least five people and wounded dozens more. Altogether more than 100 children have been killed, while 3,100 people have been wounded and more than 81,000 displaced.

The Guardian reported: “The conflict is rapidly threatening to turn into a major humanitarian crisis hitting electricity and water supplies and seeing large numbers driven from their homes.”

What survivors described as a massacre in the neighborhood of Shejaiya killed 13 Israeli soldiers — two of them U.S. citizens — bringing the Israeli military toll to 18. The Guardian described the casualties as “the heaviest loss of life for the Israeli military in years.”

Gangs were reportedly seen roaming the streets of Jerusalem and other towns shouting “death to Arabs” and attacking peace protests throughout Israel. In Haifa, right-wing activists burned a Palestinian flag, chanted racial slurs and threw stones at an antiwar protest, and the city’s deputy mayor, Dr. Suhail Assad, and his son were beaten. On Sunday the captain of a youth soccer team in Be’er Sheva wrote on his Facebook page: “send left-wing voters to the gas chambers and clean this country of leftists.”

In spite of the terror in Israel and the carnage in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the action for “as long as is required,” citing the backing of foreign allies that has “laid the diplomatic foundation that has given us international credit to operate.” That backing chilled slightly Monday as President Obama expressed concern for the Gaza dead on a second phone call with Netanyahu to take place over a period of three days. British Prime Minister David Cameron also spoke to Netanyahu, reiterating “the UK’s strong support for Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself from” Gaza rockets, while expressing condolences over the Israeli deaths and concern over the “mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.”

In a full collection of “Democracy Now’s” Monday coverage of the conflict, the program hears from correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert and Raji Sourani, an award winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, all inside Gaza. Sourani likened Netanyahu to the dead al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden for killing civilians. Also speaking are Rann Bar-On, an Israeli peace activist and Duke University mathematics lecturer, who took part in Saturday’s Haifa protest, and Max Blumenthal, a senior writer for AlterNet whose latest book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,” documents the spread of right-wing Israeli extremism.

“Democracy Now”:

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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