Israel's prime minister on Sunday expressed regret over the deaths of seven members of a family at a Gaza beach on Friday that Palestinians say was caused by Israeli shelling.An expression of regret about this tragedy is not sufficient. The killing of civilians in warfare doesn't have to be deliberate for it to be morally criminal. If it happens through negligence that too is inexcusable. Naturally, I'm not in a position to know how this happened. But the Israeli government needs to find out and give an unvarnished public account. On the face of it, shelling in the vicinity of a beach used by civilians looks as if negligence, if not open recklessness, was involved. If so, then someone must be accountable for that.
Ehud Olmert, speaking at the start of Israel's weekly Cabinet meeting, said "it has never been Israel's policy to attack innocent civilians," and said an inquiry was under way.
(See also Lisa Goldman.)