Health officials quoted by The Guardian said that of the 21 Gazans killed in Israeli airstrikes Sunday, nine were children and four were women. Haaretz reports meanwhile that “the Israel Defense Force is continuing its intensive preparations for the ground phase of Operation Pillar of Defense.”

The Israeli newspaper adds, “It appears that relatively little additional time remains before the operation is carried out,” although it is quick to caution that the threat of a ground-based attack could be used as leverage in negotiations.

Rockets continue to fly out of Gaza, aimed at targets in Israel.

Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, writes in the conservative Jerusalem Post, “The ball needs to hit the net, visible to all. What does a decisive victory sound like? A Tarzan-like cry that lets the entire jungle know in no uncertain terms just who won, and just who was defeated.”

The White House has so far stood by Israel in the conflict. President Obama said Sunday, “Let’s understand what the precipitating event here that’s causing the current crisis and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated, and there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”

For another perspective on Gaza, try Truthdig columnist Juan Cole on Twitter, an excellent source for news as it breaks.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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