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War on Gaza & Other Violence and Aggression
A fresh Israeli air raid on Gaza early Sunday killed a 12-year-old, bringing the death toll from strikes since Friday to 17 and dashing Hamas hopes of restoring a tacit truce. The killing of the leader of the ultra-hardline Popular Resistance Comittees and a slew of other militants in Israeli raids on Friday unleashed a spiral of tit-for-tat violence on the Israel-Gaza border that has made for the highest death toll in more than three years. The European Union and the United States urged both sides to restore calm but Palestinian militants vowed to avenge their dead and Israel threatened to hit back if its citizens came under renewed rocket attacks from the coastal enclave.
At least 15 killed as Israel pounds Gaza
Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed 15 Palestinians, including the leader of a resistance group, medics said on Saturday. These have been the deadliest 24 hours of attacks on the area in more than three years. Two men riding a motorcycle in the town of Khan Yunis were killed in a raid on Saturday, medics said. Israeli media said three of the casualties were Thai agricultural laborers working on a farm near the border with Gaza. The Israeli military said an aircraft attacked “a terrorist squad” planning to fire rockets, but provided no evidence for these claims.
Israel assassinated the leader of a Palestinian resistance faction on Friday in a targeted attack on a car in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official said. A former prisoner released last year in an Israeli-Hamas prisoner exchange deal also died in the blast, while a third person was injured. The blast set a small metallic blue car ablaze. At least two of the victims were inside the vehicle when the explosion occurred, witnesses said. Reuters television footage showed one charred body being carried away from the scene.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Popular Resistance Committee that militants from the group’s armed wing had survived an Israeli airstrike on Saturday evening. The group said that one militant from the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades sustained light injuries in the attack, which targeted the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces opened fire on mourners near the Gaza Strip’s eastern cemetery on Saturday and injured four people, a government medical official said.
Egyptian FM asks for immediate end to the Israeli aggression on Gaza
Egyptian foreign minister Mohammed Amr has condemned the Israeli military escalation against the Gaza Strip that killed 14 Palestinians and wounded 21 others since Friday.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday approved the transfer of medical supplies to the Gaza Strip. Medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said that he received a call from the presidents office to confirm that medical supplies will be sent to Gaza by Sunday. Nathmi Mhanna, head of border crossings for the Palestinian Authority, contacted the president’s office to make the request after the medical spokesmen called on the PA to send supplies. Fifteen people have been killed and 26 injured since Friday evening as Israeli airstrikes targeted the Gaza Strip. The army say that about 90 rockets had been fired toward Israeli territory at the weekend, injuring eight people including one seriously in southern Israel.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A correspondent for Ma’an-Mix satellite TV and his pregnant wife sustained injuries late Friday in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. Muamin Shrafi was injured by shrapnel and his wife Iftikhar sustained bruises when a missile landed near their home in Gaza City’s Shujaiyyah area. Muamin said the house next door to his also sustained material damage. Israeli warplanes continued to strike several targets across the Gaza Strip overnight and early morning for the second day bringing the death toll to 14 and more than 20 injured. Islamic Jihad’s military wing the Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement that 10 of their fighters were killed since Friday. Eight people have been injured in southern Israel, news reports said.
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — The Israeli minister for Home Front Defense said Saturday Hamas was trying to avoid a new military assault on the Gaza Strip, but it depended on Gaza to bring an end to violence that has killed 15 Palestinians since Friday. ”It began, as previous rounds, with our decision to hurt a man worthy of hurting. As for how it ends, that depends on the other side,” Matan Vilnai said on a visit to Beersheba, Israeli news site Ynet reported. An Israeli airstrike assassinated the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees on Friday, sparking a series of deadly airstrikes and volleys of rockets into southern Israel, which have injured eight Israelis. ”Hamas is doing everything in its power to avoid a ‘Cast Lead 2′ … We’ll see where it’s going later on tonight,” Vilnai added.
In the last two days, Israeli forces have killed at least 15 residents of the Gaza Strip and wounded over 30. Among the dead are two young boys (see here and here), while the wounded included a reporter from the Ma’an News Agency and his pregnant wife. Militant factions in Gaza have responded to the Israeli assault by launching several homemade rockets at Southern Israel, leaving two injured and no one dead.
I am writing to all people of the world in solidarity with the oppressed and suppressed around the world. Right here, in Gaza, right now, being under attack, I have no place to polish my language; I have no time to choose my words. I am just being spontaneous, for every second counts. One hour later, I may have no chance to write you, lest being dead — I have the same things in mind now all Gazans have. (I am Gazan at the end of the day).
Imagine living years under deplorable isolated siege conditions. Imagine also enduring regular Israeli land, sea and air attacks. Gazan resistance groups launch Grad missiles, home-made rockets, and mortar shells in self-defense. Israel calls them “unprovoked” attacks. Palestinian freedom fighters vow to continue their liberating struggle. Under international law, it’s their right, and for them a duty. The latest Israeli attacks came Friday and Saturday. Expect more to follow. Deaths so far number at least 15. Over two dozen others were injured, some seriously, according to Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya. Israel falsely claimed only militants and weapons manufacturing sites were struck.
Settlers Attack Two Towns Near Hebron
A number of armed extremist Israeli settlers attacked, on Saturday, the outskirts of the towns of Yatta and Bani Neim, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, while the residents were ordered by the army to stay home.
Between the years 2000 and 2009, the US transferred “more than 670 million weapons, rounds of ammunition and related equipment,” according to a new report.
Miles of Smiles 10 Makes It Into Gaza
The Miles of Smiles 10 humanitarian convoy managed to enter the Gaza Strip on Saturday via the Rafah border terminal, between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, carrying humanitarian supplies.
Gaza power plant shuts down for third time in a month
The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant shut down on Saturday for the third time in a month due to a shortage of fuel, the territory’s energy authority said.
The parents of Hana al-Shalabi, who has been on hunger strike since 16 February to protest Israel’s holding her without charge or trial, are pleading for action to save their daughter’s life.
Active Stills has posted an amazing series of photographs from the Women’s Day demonstration against the occupation at Qalandiya checkpoint Thursday.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Declaration of Support for the Global March to Jerusalem
We, the Advisory Board of the Global March to Jerusalem, are alarmed and deeply troubled by the continuing repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem and by the deliberate and systematic attempts to expel and reduce the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population of the city as part of the policy called “Judaisation,” which is being applied to every part of historic Palestine.
Welcome Home Naji Tamimi
Naji Tamimi, the 49 year-old father of five from the tiny village of Nabi Saleh, is finally back at home again, after spending almost a year within the Israeli prison system.
Analysis / Op-ed
Women have been at the heart of liberation struggles in the Middle East and North Africa, contrary to Orientalist misrepresentations.
Yesterday we did a piece hammering on the fact
that obits of Anthony Shadid, the New York Times correspondent who died in Syria last month, have elided the fact that the Israelis nearly killed him in 2002. The obits say he was shot in 2002. A little like saying Rachel Corrie was killed by a bulldozer. This is from Dave Kindred’s fine piece on Anthony Shadid
Another indication of the inevitable demise of the state of Israel
“That number fell by 70 percent the following decade, as the number of Jews living in threatened communities dwindled. Last year, only 17,500 immigrated to Israel, one of the lowest totals in the state’s history.”
Palestinian plight no longer on world agenda
At the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAX conference this week, it was Iran, not Palestine that dominated proceedings. World leaders may be looking elsewhere, but the clashes at Israeli checkpoints are on the rise. Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike in Israeli detention centres, and a growing sense of impotence and frustration is fuelling talk of a third intifada. The Palestiniand Liberation Organisation executive are finalizing a letter, listening all the ways, over the last 20 years, that they say Israel has blocked peaceful progress. They will deliver it first, out of courtesy, to the Israeli government, and then circulate it to the international community. Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from the Occupied West Bank.
The Canadian government’s close relationship with the Israel lobby is the topic of a new book on academic freedom.
Flying into Tel Aviv? ‘Welcome to Palestine!’
The other day someone kindly sent me an old link to an aviation forum where an irate passenger had written: ‘This morning (6 May 2003) on a flight from Rome to Tel Aviv, after landing the pilot announced in the microphone: ‘Welcome to Palestine’. I think this is the most disgusting thing for a pilot to say.’
At least a 100,000 Bahrainis took to the streets of the capital Manama on Friday demanding democratic reforms from the government. Event leaders estimated the figure at over 250,000 people, but wire agencies and some activists put the figure closer to 100,000.
Saudis must end occupation of Bahrain
In Bahrain, hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets across the country to demand an end to the rule of Al Khalifa dynasty.
Human rights expert on Bahrain torture report
The head of the fact-finding committee formed to investigate the protests in Bahrain says all torture there has stopped. Egyptian human rights expert Mahmoud Sherif Basyouni published his report in November. He told Al Jazeera’s David Frost that crimes against humanity are no longer being committed.
A Bahraini youth died on Saturday of a police gunshot wound sustained at the start of the month, opposition activists said. Condemning state “repression of demonstrations calling for political reforms,” a statement from the opposition Al-Wefaq political party said Saida Fadhel Mirza al-Obeidi, 22, was struck in the head on March 1 in Diraz, a village east of the Bahraini capital Manama. Doctors said his skull was fractured and he died later of his wounds, with fresh protests expected following the announcement.
Students at a women’s university in Saudi Arabia said on Friday they planned to boycott classes after dozens were hurt during a campus protest following the intervention of security forces. Students at King Khalid University in the town of Abha told Reuters by telephone that a strike was planned for Saturday, the start of the week in the conservative Muslim kingdom. The students had begun a protest on Tuesday, attracting at least 8,000 on Wednesday, to criticize the university management for allowing the campus to deteriorate and against ongoing corruption in the country.
Annan Syria comments spark anger
Syrian opposition activists angrily reject calls by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, for dialogue with the government.
Israel mulls charity concert for Syrian insurgents
Foreign Ministry source confirms that singer-songwriter Arkadi Duchin called and volunteered to recruit leading Israeli performers for a charity rock concert.
Filippo Grandi, commissioner general for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said Syria violence had so far spared the 500,000 Palestinian refugees in the country because of their neutrality.
Qatar told Arab ministers on Saturday it was time to recognize the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) as the nation’s legitimate representative, and suggested planning an international intervention in the crisis-hit country. Arab and Western states have till now held off from recognizing the SNC, in part because the body has only limited support inside Syria, where rival opposition forces are dominant. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country vetoed a UN Security Council resolution based on an Arab peace plan, joined the Arab meeting.