Only a selection of the many hundreds of articles written during this fraught week
Saturday morning: Israeli airstrikes target mosques, center for disabled youth, killing 14
IMEMC 12 July by Saed Bannoura — Airstrikes continue; Israeli officials say ground invasion imminent — Two young, disabled girls were killed on Saturday in an Israeli air strike that targeted a center for the disabled in Beit Lahia, in northern GazaThe three girls have not yet been identified, as information is still coming in about the details of that attack. Several images have been posted on social media of disabled youth in the hospital who were wounded in the blast. Three men were killed in a bomb that targeted At-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City. They were identified as 1. Ibrahim Nabil Hamada. 2. Hasan Ahmad Abu Ghush. 3. Ahmad Mazen al-Bal’awy. According to a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, it took several hours to identify the three men because their bodies had been torn apart by the missile. They were taken to Shifa hospital for treatment.
A correspondent with the Wafa News Agency reported that Israeli fighter jets did not let up on the attack throughout the night and continuing into the day. The correspondent noted that the planes targeted houses, mosques, public property, infrastructure, and even parks and sports clubs, as well as agricultural land, power lines and drinking water infrastructure. He said that the ongoing explosions are causing panic and terror among the population, particularly the children, who make up around half the population of the crowded coastal Strip. The attacks Saturday morning included both bombing from the air and artillery fire from tanks and weapons stationed on the northern and eastern borders of Gaza.
LIVE UPDATES: IDF strikes 60 targets in Gaza; 14 Palestinians killed overnight
Haaretz 12 July 11:56 a.m. — LIVE UPDATES: Rocket fire on south resumes ● Gaza death toll at 121 ● Netanyahu: Operation will end only when quiet is returned ● Abbas: I have no partner for a two-state solution — 11:56 A.M. Israel is preparing for additional “long days of fighting,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon during a security briefing. “We are working to push forward our next objectives. Achievements are accumulating, and we are continuing to destroy significant targets belonging to Hamas and other terrorist organization. (Gili Cohen) 11:43 A.M. Wave of rocket fire targets wide swaths of Israel’s south: Alerts sound across Rehovot, Kiryat Gat, Yavne, and Gedera regions, as well as Gaza-bordering regional councils. Loud explosions heard in Nes Ziona. (Haaretz) 11:29 A.M. Rocket alert sounds across Bnei Shimon Regional Council (Haaretz) 11:07 A.M. Two rockets land in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries, or damage, reported. Rocket alert sounded (Haaretz) 10:45 A.M. Foreign citizens residing within the Gaza Strip are requesting to leave the Strip in rising numbers, Israeli authorities say, after receiving some 800 such requests in the last days, made by citizens of the U.S., Romania, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, and Australia, among others. [Note: Haaretz will let non-subscribers look at the updates for the current day, but not for previous days]
List of the 124 Palestinians, including whole families, killed since Tuesday
IMEMC 12 July by Saed Bannoura — The following is a list of the 124 Palestinians killed by Israeli air bombardment since Tuesday, July 8th. These are the names that have been confirmed by medical sources in Gaza. An estimated 900 Palestinians have also been wounded, with some losing limbs and others disabled for life. The majority of the wounded are children, according to the Ministry of Health. All of the casualties listed below are victims of Israeli bombs dropped on Gaza since Tuesday July 8th.
Photos of the week: Running for cover and having nowhere to run
Activestills 12 July — This week: Protests in the West Bank, U.S. and Tel Aviv as Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip kill 121 Palestinians, including at least 27 children, and injuring more than 800. [includes photos of damage in Israel from Gaza rockets]
Terror in Gaza: 57 seconds after ‘warning’, Israel destroys a house (VIDEO)
Mondoweiss 11 July by Philip Weiss — Israel claims it is warning civilians about missile strikes by “roof knocking.” Israeli army spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner made that claim to a credulous Wolf Blitzer last night on CNN. We tap harmlessly on roofs, he said, so the residents can leave. Max Blumenthal just tweeted the video above: “See how Israel “warns” Gazans it is going to bomb their homes and imagine the terror.” You can see that the purported mortar “knock” takes place at the beginning of the video; Haaretz posted the video with these headlines: “Israel’s ‘roof knocking’ in Gaza captured on video. Residents document how Israel Air Force drops mortars on the roofs of homes before destroying them with bigger bombs.” Then you can hear the terror in the voices. The fearful man, I am told, is crying “Warning, warning.” And the building is destroyed 57 seconds after the “warning.” What kind of warning is that? What is the difference between state terror and any other kind, except the magnitude?
Amid the rubble and body parts, Gazans helpless beneath Israeli onslaught
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza (The National) 10 July by Hugh Naylor // When he went to bed, Tawfiq Al Halaby’s wife, Nidaa, was five months pregnant and his neighbours, the Hajjs, were still a family. A few hours later, an Israeli attack pulverised the Hajj home next door, flinging body parts of their children across the street. The explosions also caused Nidaa, 28, to miscarry. Even for a people used to the consequences of Israel’s bombs, Mr Al Halaby, 34, and Palestinians living in the area struggled to describe what may be the bloodiest massacre during three days of air strikes on Gaza. “There were body parts everywhere,” Mr Al Halaby said in front of the mangled beams and shattered cinder blocks that used to form the Hajj family’s house. “I found the daughter’s head in the rubble around my home. The little boy’s arm was on my doorstep.” Six children were killed when the three Israeli strikes smashed into the house in Khan Younis early on Thursday, according to residents. Their father Mahmoud Al Hajj, a tailor in his 50s, was also killed, as was his wife. Israeli leaders say the aerial assault on Gaza is an effort to stop scores of rockets fired by militants from the Hamas-controlled territory. Those rockets have reached as far north as Haifa in Israel forcing many to seek safety in air raid shelters. So far, no Israelis have been killed. [Related: In pictures: death toll climbs as Israel continues to pummel Gaza ]
Killed for love of soccer
11 July by Soccerly – Soccerly.com — It was supposed to be an evening of entertainment in Gaza, watching the World Cup semi-final at a cafe, a welcome break from 48 hours of Israeli air strikes. But the evening was cut brutally short when an Israeli raid flattened the Fun Time Beach cafe in the southern Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday, killing nine people and wounding 15. All that is left of the popular seaside cafe — where dozens broke their Ramadan fast on Wednesday night before settling down to watch Argentina play the Netherlands — is a large crater and a few mounds of sand. The cafe’s multicoloured sign is still standing, somewhat crookedly, as colourful bunting and canvas windbreakers lay strewn on the floor, torn down by the force of the blast. The Israeli missile scattered the dead and wounded across the beach, and made a hole so deep that seawater filled it up from underground after impact. “It was a normal social occasion,” said Wael Soboh, a local policeman who is employed by the Palestinian Authority. “The boys ate their Ramadan iftar meal here, and then began watching the match. It is not a military area.” … Residents said three members of an extended family — Ahmed, Suleiman and Mussa Astal — were among the dead, with most of those killed in their 20s. “There was a power cut in Khan Yunis, so a lot of people came here where there’s a generator and a screen,” said Mohammed al-Aqad, a resident who was at the cafe when the missile hit but was not injured.
Gaza mother dies shielding her children
IMEMC 11 July by Chris Carlson — Tuesday night, Suha Hamad, 25 years old, sacrificed her own life to save those of her four children. Suha took her last breath saving their lives, according to Ma‘an News Agency. When the power went out at 11 pm, on Tuesday evening, Suha took three of her children to sleep the night in their grandmother’s room. Thinking it was the safest, she went back to get her four-month-old baby, when she was hit by shrapnel from an Israeli missile. Suha’s father, Mahdi Hamad, said, “Nobody called us to evacuate the house and there aren’t any resistance members around it. Glass was shattered behind the children and men fell into a big pool of blood.” Her mother asks: “Who do they have to live for when they lost both their mother and father? “What crime have these children committed to be punished like that?” Israel targeted the Hamad family house killing six family members, Ibrahim Muhammad Hamad, 26, Mahdi Muhammad Hamad, 46, Fawziyeh Khalil Hamad 62, Dunia Mahdi Hamad, 16, and Suha Hamad, 25. All of the children survived but one, a toddler, who is now in the ICU, Ma‘an has reported.
Gaza report: Death and destruction
[with photos] GAZA, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Charlie Andreasson) 11 July — We managed to get a lift in an armoured Land Rover belonging to French journalists, and at crazy speed we went through intersections with only the cat horn as protection. The goal was Jabalya refugee camp and the latest targeting killing using a drone. Ambulances left the site shortly after we arrived, and the fire brigade were just about to pull away from the car. Or what had once been a car. What was in front of me was a complete wreck with twisted metal parts. Although the real shock and disgust came when I saw the license plate. It ended with 22. It had been a taxi. We caught a ride with another journalist to Kamal Hospital, where the bodies of the three men, Mahmoud Walaid, Hazim Balouska, Alaa Abdelnabi, were taken. On a stretcher was one of the men, crumbling, burnt, with no identity left, he would now be placed into cold storage. But there were problems. The storage was full. Too many people have been killed in the past three days since “Operation Defensive Edge” began. As I’m writing the number of people murdered is 80 [the number has now risen], the cold storage is full, awaiting their funerals. Two bodies were lying on the same stretcher.
75% of Gaza City without electricity after lines damaged by strikes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July — Electricity was disconnected in major areas in Gaza City after heavy Israeli strikes on the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood, the electric company said Friday. Public relations officer at the electricity company Jamal al-Dredsawi said the two main electricity supply lines coming from Israel were damaged. Al-Dresdsawi told Ma‘an that two out of three lines were damaged, which means 75 percent of the city is without electricity. He added that repairs would be delayed until Saturday because of the ongoing strikes on the area. He explained that the 25 percent that receives electricity will work on the usual intermittent schedule. The official added that the electricity line from Rafah to Cairo was damaged three times in the last two days, and it was repaired last time at 8 p.m., worked for 30 more minutes, and then was struck again.
Gaza municipality facilities destroyed by airstrike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 July — The Gaza City municipality was completely destroyed after Israeli airstrikes hit nearby areas, the general director of the Health and Environment department said. Abd al-Rahim Abu al-Qumboz said that Israeli airstrikes targeted a building “wall-to-wall” with the municipality which caused parts of the municipality building to collapse. The main butchery building in the city, which provides meat for the whole city, was also destroyed by airstrikes. Abu al-Qumboz told Ma‘an that facilities of the municipality in different parts of the Gaza Strip were destroyed and damaged by airstrikes; the sewage plant which treats and refines 25 percent of wastewater was completely destroyed. The airstrikes destroyed a water line that provides clean drinking water for al-Shate refugee camp.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 July — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Friday, having opened it for one day to allow Palestinians injured in Israel’s military assault to seek treatment. “We received orders from the Egyptian authorities to close the Rafah crossing after we partially opened it on Thursday,” spokesman for Gaza’s interior ministry Iyad al-Buzm told Ma‘an. The ministry strongly condemned the decision by Egypt as it had prepared buses and ambulances to take wounded Palestinians to the crossing. Only 11 Palestinians were able to cross Rafah on Thursday when Egypt opened the crossing, al-Buzm added. Over 600 Palestinians have been injured in Israel’s assault on Gaza with hospitals in the besieged enclave struggling to cope with the amount of casualties.
Gaza markets remain open despite airstrikes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July – Despite the constant Israeli airstrikes, daily life in the blockaded Gaza Strip is going on normally with all shops open and markets crowded with shoppers. “I swear to God that I am not scared. Let them bombard as they like, we aren’t afraid as we don’t want to die twice, once from fear and once from missiles,” says Umm Muhammad, in her 50s, in al-Zawiya market in Gaza City. Elderly man hajj Ibrahim Abbas told Ma‘an that he lives his life normally despite the ongoing airstrikes. “The occupation’s warplanes won’t be able to kill the will of life,” he said while waiting in front of a bakery to buy bread. The unique aspects of the holy month of Ramadan are still visible in the Gaza Strip. Several customers were queuing in front of Qatayif shops to buy the exclusive Ramadan sweets. “If we die, we are martyrs, and if we live, we triumph over them, God willing,” one shopper said. Even during evening hours, life in Gaza seems otherwise normal. Worshipers can be seen going back and forth to mosques for the late evening prayer, and young men can be seen in cafes and coffee shops watching World Cup matches and paying little attention to the warplanes hovering in the sky. At the same time, dozens of wakes have been opened across the coastal enclave to receive mourners who come to offer condolences for the more than 100 people killed since Tuesday.
Senior Hamas official to Haaretz: Palestinian unity government won’t be dismantled
Haaretz 12 July by Amira Hass — Palestinians both for and against Hamas are saying that the Islamist organization is gaining in stature from the latest military confrontation with Israel, which its al-Qassam Brigades have dubbed “Operation Ramadan the Tenth.” This assessment completely contrasts with the opinion of Israel’s security establishment. The price Gaza residents are paying is particularly heavy – in lives, injuries, and without an end in sight. Every family that is almost wiped out by the Israel Defense Forces’ strikes amplifies – at least at this bloody stage of the conflict – the general appraisal of Hamas’ achievements, as they are perceived in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The ability to continue firing rockets at Israel while under attack is considered an accomplishment … “The reconciliation government will not be dismantled and Hamas has no intention of returning to a divided Gaza Strip and West Bank, or to a split in the two main political movements,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “When Israel attacked our people in the West Bank we could not remain silent. We had to show we’re one people and one nation and must protect our people,” he said. When asked whether this should be at the cost of Gazans’ lives he replied: “You think we don’t thirst to live in peace and prosperity and not suffer? We didn’t start this war, during which most of the casualties so far have been Palestinian citizens, including many children and women. The war was forced upon us, and we are protecting ourselves.”
Israeli PM says international pressure won’t stop military strikes in Gaza
JERUSALEM (Reuters/AP) 11 July — Israel’s prime minister says he will not cave in to international pressure to stop a military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference Friday that Israel will continue its offensive until rocket fire out of Gaza is halted. He says he has had “good conversations” with a number of world leaders in recent days, including President Barack Obama and European leaders.
Israel claims 117 shells fired by Palestinian resistance since Tuesday; no injuries
IMEMC 10 July by Celine Hagbard — In contrast to the Israeli attack on Gaza, which escalated on Tuesday and has resulted in 79 Palestinians killed and over 500 injured, including entire families wiped out while sleeping in their homes; the Israeli government has claimed that Palestinian fighters fired 117 shells toward Israel in the same time period, causing no deaths or injuries. Some of the shells from Gaza appear to be aimed at Israel’s cities and a nuclear reactor.
Egypt takes back seat as Israel pounds Gaza militants
CAIRO (AFP) 10 July by Samer Al-Atrush — Having crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, Cairo’s new government has taken a back seat as Israel pounds Hamas, the Egyptian movement’s Islamist allies across the border in Gaza, analysts said. Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel, brokered a 2012 truce between it and Hamas that favoured the militants, the Palestinian branch of now ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s Brotherhood. With the Brotherhood now quashed, the new government in Cairo has taken a passive approach to the latest conflict, denying Hamas a truce that could see it emerge again as a winner. “There doesn’t appear to be significant appetite on the Egyptian side in terms of playing a major mediating role at the moment,” said Michael Hanna, and Egypt expert with The Century Foundation think-tank in New York. The government of newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who toppled Morsi last year, has responded to the Gaza conflict by demanding both sides stop the violence. Public opinion has “soured” against Hamas, Hanna said. And because of “the security establishment’s long standing antipathy to Hamas, they don’t mind seeing Hamas being beaten up, essentially,” he added.
Gaza bombardment further traumatizes children suffering from PTSD
Al Jazeera America 9 July by Renee Lewis & Mohammed Omer — The traumatization of young people in Gaza looks set to become a lingering wound of the latest Israeli airstrikes, adding to the burden of mental-health experts whose work to heal child PTSD sufferers in the territory has, yet again, been set back by renewed shelling. The latest wave of bombardments has made it impossible for child psychologists to finish the delicate task of rebuilding the mental health of kids suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from previous waves of conflict, according to a children’s rights group on the ground. Meanwhile, parents report renewed signs of anxiety and stress among the young. Umm Fadi’s daughters have begun wetting their beds at night. It is a common phenomenon during the past offensives. “Now trauma is living in us again. Even closing the door of the fridge can scare my daughters,” Umm Fadi, who lives in Tal al-Sultan, told Al Jazeera. Osama Damo, communications senior manager for Save the Children, said children are likely to face a lot of disorders at sleeping times, “because military operations often take place during the night.” “The fear that they will be left with is unmanageable for children,” he told Al Jazeera from Gaza … He added that there are organizations working in Gaza to provide safe places for children during raids. But the type of offensive being launched often leaves no possibility of providing an entirely safe haven. Both children and adults can feel helpless as a result.
Palestinian journalists under Israeli fire
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 11 July by Mohammed Omer – With tearful eyes, the Al-Aqsa TV anchorman announced the death of Palestinian journalist Hamed Shehab on Wednesday evening, hit by an Israeli air strike while driving home on Omar al-Mukhtar street. Shehab, 27, was working for local press company Media 24. He was driving a car that had the letters “TV” affixed to it in large, red stickers when it was struck by an Israeli missile. The bombing, carried out on one of Gaza City’s busiest streets, has triggered fear and rage among journalists in Gaza. “Such [an] attack is meant to intimidate us. Israel has no bank of targets anymore, except civilians and journalists,” Abed Afifi, a cameraman for the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV channel, told Al Jazeera. Afifi said Shehab was an independent media professional, and was not affiliated to any political party. Shehab’s body arrived at Gaza’s Shifa hospital in pieces, burned and unidentifiable. His silver-coloured Skoda car was riddled with shrapnel and covered in blood. Another eight Palestinians were injured in the same attack … This isn’t the first time Israel has allegedly targeted journalists in Gaza. In November 2012, the Israeli army carried out four separate strikes on Gaza-based media, killing two cameramen, injuring at least 10 other media workers, and damaging four media offices. Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev justified the bombings at the time, saying that the people targeted were not “legitimate journalists”.
International activists staying at Gaza hospital the IDF plans to bomb
Haaretz 12 July by Amira Hass — International solidarity activists are staying in a Gaza hospital, which the Israeli Defense Forces plans to bomb, as a human shield. They joined patients unable to leave because the rest of Gaza’s hospitals are in a state of emergency, treating persons injured in the bombings and waiting for more patients to come in. Two warning rockets were fired at the Al Wafa hospital east of Gaza City at 2 A.M. early Friday morning, Director Basman al Ashi told Haaretz. At 7 P.M. a rocket was fired at the fourth floor, blasting a large hole in the ceiling and shattering windows. The floor was evacuated on Wednesday.
After the rocket was fired someone called the hospital. Speaking in Arabic with a distinct Israeli accent he asked if there were patients on the top floor, if anyone was injured and if there were plans of evicting it. The answer to each of the questions was negative
Israeli strikes on Palestinian homes could breach laws of war: UN
AFP 11 July — Israel could be violating the laws of war by bombing Palestinian homes in Gaza, the UN’s human rights office said Friday, as the death toll from the Israeli strikes rose to 100. We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes,” said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani. “Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” she told reporters. International humanitarian law is UN-speak for the laws of war, and Shamdasani said targeting homes was a violation unless the buildings were being used for military purposes. “In case of doubt, buildings that are ordinarily used for civilian purposes, such as homes, are presumed not to be legitimate military targets,” she said. “Even when a home is identified as being used for military purposes, any attack must be proportionate, offer a definite military advantage in the prevailing circumstances at the time, and precautions must be taken to protect civilians,” she added. Israel has accused the Islamist movement Hamas and other Palestinian militants who have fired hundreds of rockets at its territory of deliberately placing military installations in densely populated Gaza in order to use civilians as human shields. “Military assets should not be located in densely-populated areas and attacks should not be launched from such areas,” said Shamdasani. “This is a call to the armed groups on the Palestinian side,” she added, condemning their attacks on Israeli civilian areas, which have injured less than a dozen people.
In Gaza, 1.7 million Palestinians feel like human targets for IDF bombs
Haaretz 10 July by Amira Hass — High death toll and intensity of IDF offensive rallies Palestinians behind Hamas, evaporating any criticism of group’s possible responsibility for triggering escalation — “The IDF hasn’t succeeded or bothered to find the rocket launchers themselves, and so they’re attacking civilian targets, not hesitating to kill many civilians and children,” is the prevailing conclusion amongst Gaza residents, who also claim that the current attacks are less restrained than Operation Pillar of Defense … Without sirens, shelters, or Iron Dome systems, and with blackouts roughly every eight hours, each of the 1.7 million Gaza residents feel as if they are a human target for IDF bombs and rockets. No home or street is safe, and there’s no knowing where the next strike will hit. Most Gaza residents were unable to sleep overnight Tuesday due to the frequent attacks. During the day, traffic is light, and people leave their homes only for urgent business – not even for the Iftar meal which breaks the daily Ramadan fast. Universities cancelled classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Hardest of all is dealing with children’s fears, as it is impossible to hide from them the images of destroyed homes and dead children, buried under the ruins. Though the IDF warned families of imminent attacks on their homes on Tuesday, warnings were not issued in every case on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Did Israel really think Hamas would turn the other cheek?
Haaretz 10 July by Gideon Levy — What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? — Following the kidnapping of three teenaged Israelis in the territories and their murders, Israel wildly arrested some 500 Palestinians, including members of parliament and dozens of freed prisoners who had no connection at all to the kidnapping. The army terrorized the entire West Bank with a dragnet and mass arrests, whose declared aim was “to crush Hamas.” A racist campaign raged on the Internet and led to a Palestinian teenager being burned alive. All this followed Israel’s punitive campaign against the effort to establish a Palestinian unity government that the world was prepared to recognize, its violation of its commitment to release prisoners, a halt of the diplomatic process and a refusal to propose any alternate plan or vision. Did we really think the Palestinians would accept all this submissively, obediently, and calmly, and that peace and quiet would continue to prevail in Israel’s cities? What exactly were we thinking? That Gaza would live forever in the shadow of Israeli (and Egyptian) caprice, with the restraints sometimes loosened a bit, or sometimes painfully tightened? That the biggest prison in the world would carry on as a prison? That hundreds of thousands of its residents would remain cut off forever? That exports would be blocked and fishing restricted? What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? Can anyone explain why its future is never discussed? Did we think that all this would continue and Gaza would accept it submissively? Anyone who thought so was a victim of dangerous delusions, and now we are all paying the price. But please, just don’t act surprised. Just don’t raise hell about the Palestinians raining rockets on Israeli cities for nothing – such luxuries are no longer acceptable….
Gaza diary: Israelis are completely misled about what’s going on
GAZA (Haaretz) 11 July by Abeer Ayyoub — Enjoying the relatively calm hours in the early morning following a noisy sleepless night, everyone in the house was sleeping when my brother, who lives in the same building, came to wake us. He told us that our neighbor got a phone call from the IDF asking him to evacuate his house, which was about to be bombed. Our neighbor’s house is only couple of meters away; getting ready for the closest bombardment yet was so traumatizing … Last night wasn’t like any other night. The extremely noisy drones haven’t stopped circling the sky of Gaza for a second, F16s haven’t stopped targeting for a single hour, and the gunboats continued to shell the area near the beach for the whole night. I could not sleep for a second as the explosions were surrounding us; in the besieged coastal enclave, the furthest point in Gaza is still close by, as the territory is so small … I watched an interview with IDF spokesman Avichay Adrey on one of the Arabic channels, and I was totally surprised by him talking about the success of the operation so far. I don’t know what success Israel is talking about when most of the 86 people killed (through early Thursday) were children and women … Through social media, I could know that most of the Israelis are totally misled about what’s going on in Gaza. My Israeli followers on Twitter keep telling me that I should move away from Hamas if I want to stay alive, as Hamas if is a monster that lives somewhere here. In contrast, I could always understand how it feels for an Israeli child to be killed. I never excluded humanity from how I look at the Israeli-Palestinian scene.
How Netanyahu provoked this war with Gaza
972mag 9 July by Larry Derfner — His antagonism to all Palestinians – to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than to Hamas – started and steadily fueled the chain reaction that led to the current misery — On Monday of last week, June 30, Reuters ran a story that began: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Monday of involvement, for the first time since a Gaza war in [November] 2012, in rocket attacks on Israel and threatened to step up military action to stop the strikes.” So even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense” ended in a ceasefire. (Hamas denied firing even those mentioned by Netanyahu last week; it wasn’t until Monday of this week that it acknowledged launching any rockets at Israel since the 2012 ceasefire.) So how did we get from there to here, here being Operation Protective Edge, which officially began Tuesday with 20 Gazans dead, both militants and civilians, scores of others badly wounded and much destruction, alongside about 150 rockets flying all over Israel (but no serious injuries or property damage by Wednesday afternoon)? We got here because Benjamin Netanyahu brought us here. He’s being credited in Israel for showing great restraint in the days leading up to the big op, answering Gaza’s rockets with nothing more than warning shots and offering “quiet for quiet.” But in fact it was his antagonism toward all Palestinians – toward Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than toward Hamas – that started and steadily provoked the chain reaction that led to the current misery. And nobody knows this, or should know it, better than the Obama administration, which is now standing up for Israel’s “right to defend itself.”
Cut off power to Gaza dialysis patients, Knesset deputy speaker urges
Electronic Intifada 11 July by Ali Abunimah — “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israeli army] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza],” said Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Wednesday. “Therefore I call on the prime minister who we all support in this difficult hour, before we send the IDF into Gaza, we should simply shut down their electricity,” he added. Feiglin made these calls for war crimes – heard in the video above – during a session from which he expelled three Palestinian members for criticizing Israel’s full-scale bombardment of Gaza which has claimed more than one hundred Palestinian lives since Monday. A member of Israeli prime minister’s ruling Likud party, Feiglin has long been an activist in radical Jewish organizations that aim to replace occupied Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish “Third Temple.” During the same session, another member of parliament stated that Israeli missiles were good for Palestinians in Gaza. These comments are in tune with an atmosphere of intense incitement that has included lawmaker Ayelet Shaked taking to Facebook to call for genocide of the Palestinian people.
Israeli commander declares ‘holy war’ on Palestinians
Electronic Intifada 11 July by Ali Abunimah — On the eve of a threatened ground invasion of Gaza, the commander of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade has told his soldiers that they are engaged in a war to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God. In a Hebrew language letter to his troops published by Israel’s NRG news website and laden with bibilical references, Colonel Ofer Winter writes, “History has chosen us to be the sharp edge of the bayonet of fighting the terrorist enemy ‘from Gaza’ which curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel’s battles.” “We will act together forcefully and with resolve, with initiative and with deceptive tricks and aim for contact with the enemy. We will do everything to live up to the mission and wipe out the enemy and remove the threat from the Nation of Israel,” Winter’s letter adds. In Hebrew, the phrase used for “Nation of Israel” refers specifically and only to Jews.
West Bank & Jerusalem — the use of live fire appears to be increasing
Ministry of Health: ‘More than 1,000 Palestinians kidnapped since June 12’
IMEMC 11 July by Saed Bannoura — Head of the Censure Department at the Palestinian Ministry Of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana, has stated that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped more than 1,000 Palestinians since the three Israeli settlers went missing on June 12, 2014. Ferwana said that the latest arrests against Palestinians in the West Bank brought the number of those currently imprisoned by Israel to more than 6,200. He added that Israel never stopped kidnapping Palestinians, as the army has been kidnapping approximately 35 each day, and that the vast majority of arrests take place in the West Bank, while 350 Palestinians have been kidnapped in occupied Jerusalem and historic Palestine. The Palestinian researcher also said that the army kidnapped nearly 200 children, 13 democratically elected legislators, including the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik, as well as two former ministers, bringing the number of imprisoned legislators to 24, in addition to two ministers of former government. The army also kidnapped 60 former prisoners who were previously released under the “Shalit Prisoner Swap Agreement”, bringing the number of detainees released under the deal, and then rearrested, to more than 80, in direct violation of previously signed agreements.
5 injured by live bullets in Kafr Qaddum
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 July — Five Palestinians were injured with live bullets in clashes with Israeli forces in Kafr Qaddum village northeast of Qalqilya. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers using a silent rifle fired at Palestinian protesters injuring five of them. Medical sources said the five were in stable condition. Hundreds of residents participated in a weekly protest in the village calling for the re-opening of the village’s main street which was closed in 2000.
20 injured in clashes in Jerusalem village
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Twenty Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in al-‘Issawiya village in East Jerusalem on Friday, officials said. Village monitoring committee member Mohammad Abu al-Homs said clashes broke out after Palestinians marched in support of the people in Gaza. Israeli forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at them injuring 20. Abu al-Homs added that Israeli forces also sprayed skunk water randomly at people and homes.
14 injured in clashes in Ramallah, el-Bireh villages
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 July — Fourteen Palestinians were injured with live fire and rubber-coated bullets during clashes in the villages of Ramallah and el-Bireh that continued until early Friday. In al-Janiya village, in western Ramallah, nine youths were hit with live fire during clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli forces raided the village while shooting tear-gas canisters and live fire injuring several when youths replied with rocks, Molotov cocktails and empty bottles. Israeli soldiers shut the main road to the village, prevented vehicles from entering or leaving and set up ambushes for youths. Villagers called for ambulances when many injuries were reported and ambulances could not enter the village because the road was shut.
Clashes erupted Thursday night in Deir Abu Mashaal village, in northwestern Ramallah, between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths, who targeted a military vehicle, threw rocks and tossed Molotovs at soldiers, a Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli forces shut the main road to the village, shot live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters at the youths injuring six.
In Jabal al-Tawil area in eastern el-Bireh two youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and four were detained during clashes with Israeli forces late Thursday, a Ma‘an reporter said. Youths clashed with Israeli soldiers “guarding” the Pesagot settlement in al-Bireh. Youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers while they shot tear-gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets.
Three youths were injured with rubber-coated bullets and dozens were suffocated with tear-gas bombs during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the eastern entrance of Ni‘lin on Thursday. A Ma‘an reporter said that clashes erupted between youths and Israeli soldiers and the entrance of Ni‘lin, on the main road that settlers use.
9 injured in overnight Bethlehem clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 July — Nine youths were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers near Rachel’s Tomb overnight Thursday. Tariq Jawarish, 22, was hit in the foot with live fire and nine Palestinians suffered tear gas inhalation. Two youths were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and skunk water at a march protesting Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 90 Palestinians.
PA: Palestinian driver hits 2 settlers, kills 1
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 July — An Israeli settler died and another was severely injured early Friday when a Palestinian driver struck them with his car at Zaatara military checkpoint in southern Nablus. Palestinian security forces told Ma‘an that a Palestinian driver hit two Israeli settlers with his car killing one immediately, while the other sustained severe injuries. The driver fled immediately but ran into trees a few meters away from the checkpoint before Israeli forces arrested him. The forces opened an investigation to find out whether the incident was intentional. The Israel army denied knowledge of the incident. Israeli media reports said a settler crashed into an army vehicle.
Israel imposes restrictions at al-Aqsa for Friday prayers
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 July — Israeli forces imposed restrictions on Palestinian worshipers entering the al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, a local group said. “Israeli forces turned Jerusalem into a military base and imposed restrictions on worshipers entering the al-Aqsa compound for the second Friday in a row,” the al-Aqsa foundation said in a statement. Men under 50 were not allowed to enter for Friday prayers and Israeli police set up barricades in the Old City and around Damascus Gate.
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian near Hebron refugee camp
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli soldiers attacked a Palestinian man from el-‘Arrub refugee camp in Hebron late Wednesday, locals said. Witnesses said Islam Abu Rayya, 22, was walking on the main road between Beit Ummar and el-‘Arrub after finishing a night shift at a stone factory, when a group of Israeli soldiers patrolling the road assaulted him. Abu Rayya sustained bruising to his head, eyes, and ears and was treated by Red Crescent medics. Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the Bethlehem village of Tuqu‘.
Settlers beat up Palestinian teen in Jerusalem
HEBRON (WAFA) 9 July – Israeli settlers Wednesday assaulted and beat up a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem, causing him bruises throughout his body, according to witnesses. 17-year-old Mos’ab Bheis from the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, was assaulted and beaten up by settlers while he was in Jerusalem, where he sustained bruises throughout his body. Police forced him out of the city following the attack
11 Palestinians hurt in clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah
[with photos] RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 July — Some 11 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah early Wednesday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an dozens of Palestinians set fire to an Israeli watchtower near the entrance to the Beit El settlement before Israeli forces shot at them with live fire and rubber-coated bullets. A young man was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the eye, severely injuring him, locals said. Three others were shot by live bullets in their lower extremities and six were hit by rubber-coated bullets in the back and stomach. Additionally, witnesses said journalists and ambulance workers were hit by rubber-coated bullets and suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation … The clashes started when Palestinians set fire to bushes and trees near Beit El, torched tires near offices of the Israeli Civil Administration, and hurled stones at the buildings. Palestinians had earlier gathered in the area for a protest march in solidarity with the Gaza Strip as Israel continued with heavy airstrikes that killed at least 24 people Tuesday. Earlier, Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces in Bethlehem, with witnesses saying three Palestinians were injured by live bullets.
Israeli forces detain several Hamas leaders in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 9 July – Israeli forces carried out multiple predawn raids across the West Bank on Wednesday detaining several Hamas leaders, says Palestinian Human rights group and security sources. Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights irector Fuad al-Khuffash said that Israeli troops detained Ghassan Thouqan in Nablus in the northern West Bank. Thouqan, according to the report, is a lecturer at Al-Najah National University. He had served several years in Israeli custody. Israeli forces also detained former prisoner Rasheed Dweikat from his home in the village of Beita south of Nablus. In addition, Israeli troops raided Jaba‘ village in Jenin district and detained senior Hamas leader Nazeeh Abu Aun. The center highlighted that Abu Aun had spent more than 16 years in Israeli jails. Wael Hashash was also detained in Jaba‘. In Ramallah district in the central West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the village of Kubar [?Kaubar] and detained former prisoner Ibrahim al-Abed. Similarly, Israeli troops stormed the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘ in the southern West Bank and detained Sahir Sabbah and Omar Sabbah. In the Nablus-area village of Odala [or Udala] Israeli forces detained 29-year-old Mahir Abdul-Rahim. Palestinian security sources said he was affiliated to the PFLP. Another PFLP affiliate, Walid Hasan Hamdan, 31, was detained in the village of Asira al-Qibliya south of Nablus.
Israeli forces detain young man from Ramallah-area village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 July – Israeli forces stormed the central West Bank village of Kafr Nimah west of Ramallah before daybreak Wednesday and detained a young Palestinian man, locals told Ma‘an. Witnesses said Israeli troops raided the village with more than 10 military jeeps and detained 20-year-old Wajdi Marwan Ataya. The soldiers, they said, damaged the interior of Ataya’s home before they took him into custody. Young men from the village clashed with the Israeli soldiers who then fired gunshots at main electricity cables causing blackout in the village.
Palestinians, Israeli troops clash near Qalandia checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 July – Three young Palestinian men were hit by rubber-coated bullets during clashes with Israeli soldiers late Tuesday near Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at Palestinian stone-throwers. Three were hit by rubber-coated bullets, and dozens suffered from suffocation as a result of inhaling tear gas.
The murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir
I watched Israeli police beat my American cousin. Most Palestinian victims don’t even get that much attention
Washington Post 9 July by Tamara Essayyad — The scene opens with two masked men kneeling over what looks like a rice sack, one man holding it down, the other man repeatedly raising his right fist and pounding it. The fisted man stands up, giving us a clearer view, and begins stomping on the figure. Then it moves and we see a head and small body writhe in pain: The rice sack is a person. Long after the figure goes limp, the men continue the assault. The unmoving rice sack was my cousin, 15-year-old Palestinian American Tarek Abu Khdeir from Tampa, Fla. The two masked men are Israeli police officers. Videos and pictures of Tarek hit international mainstream and social media within hours –— perhaps because he is tied to the brutal revenge kidnapping and murder of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khieder, or perhaps because he is an American. Tarek’s family, who live in communities across the United States and in Jerusalem, was lucky: Calls from journalists (about what high school he goes to and what his hobbies are) helped get him released from an Israeli jail and sent to a hospital. The problem is that Tarek is not alone. This week’s violent attacks on two teenage boys, and an entire Jerusalem village, are not outliers. This is how Israeli security forces work, both inside and outside the Palestinian Territory. State-sanctioned Israeli brutality toward local Palestinian populations is a regular occurrence in Israel and the West Bank. As a result of the disappearance of three Israeli teens hitchhiking in the West Bank (they were later murdered), Israel’s response was to kill six Palestinians, arrest some 700, invade 1,600 homes, schools and businesses and bomb over 30 sites.
[Listen to interview with] cousin of 16-year-old who was burned to death by Israeli extremists
IMEMC 11 July Portland, Oregon — Thawra Abu Khdeir never thought that she would live to see someone from her own family, her own flesh and blood as she puts it, burned to death in a brutal and senseless act of violence. But at the ripe old age of 20, she has now seen this – and so much more that no one should have to endure. She’s a nursing student at Hebrew University, and has herself experienced harassment and even beatings for holding a silent weekly vigil at her university to bring attention to the reality of life for Palestinians under occupation. But now, she has had an experience that she says will change her life, and that of her family’s, forever. [she mentions that the IDF is harassing the family apparently because they aren’t keeping quiet about the murder]
For Palestinian-Americans, a summer vacation at wartime
Haaretz 11 July by Alona Ferber — 21-year-old Maen Hammad marked the Fourth of July this year coughing up tear gas. The Palestinian-American, who is spending the summer studying Arabic at Bir Zeit University, was at the weekly Bil‘in protest in the West Bank, holding up a sign that said, “Happy Fourth of July from Occupied Palestine.” Just like American Jews who stay with an aunt in Ra’anana or visit Israel to connect with their Jewish heritage, Palestinian-Americans come to the region to visit family and get in touch with their roots. As for Jews, visiting at a time of rockets and IDF strikes, can be tough. Like 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir from Florida, who was severely beaten by Israeli Border Police and placed under house arrest on his summer vacation, the trip also brings them face to face with the lives of their family under occupation. There are 107,280 Palestinian-Americans, according to the U.S. Census, although the Arab American Institute believes this is lower than the actual number … One major sticking point for Palestinian-American visitors, however, is their experience at the Israeli border .. Israeli organization Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, describes Israel’s policy as one of “separation and fragmentation that prevents Palestinians from seeing their family members and accessing various parts of the occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Police release to house arrest 3 suspects in killing of Arab teen
Times of Israel 10 July by Adiv Sterman — Remaining detainees certainly behind brutal murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, investigators say; Shas spiritual leader castigates murderers — Three of the six people arrested Sunday in connection with the murder of East Jerusalem teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir were released to house arrest Thursday after police determined they had not taken part in the killing, despite being linked to those suspected in the crime. The three remaining suspects, one adult from the West Bank settlement of Adam and two minors from Jerusalem, were certainly behind the deadly assault of the Arab teen, police asserted. The three prime suspects in the killing confessed to the crime and reenacted it after they were brought by police to the spot in the Jerusalem Forest where Khdeir’s beaten and burned body was found, officials said … Attorney Adi Kaidar, who represents two of the six suspects, one of whom was released to house arrest, said that though the incident was shocking, the police had no right to hold anyone without charge for such an extended period of time. The Shin Bet had forbidden the suspects form consulting with a lawyer until Thursday, Haaretz reported. “These three [who were released] had no connection to [the case], and it’s very grave that they were held for this long,” Kaidar said. Little information has been released about the identity of the suspects. According to police reports, most of the six people arrested are minors, and most of them are members of the same well known Sephardi ultra-Orthodox family.
Ministry warns against Israeli attempts to depict Abu Khdeir’s murderers as mentally ill
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 July – The Foreign Ministry warned Wednesday against Israeli government’s attempts to mislead international community by claiming that Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s murderers were ‘mentally ill’. “Israel frequently comes out with such allegations each time an Israeli murders a Palestinian or more. It alleges that the perpetrator is mentally ill, taking the first step to acquit him of his crime against the Palestinians. Accordingly, Israel does not prosecute, imprison or punish Israeli perpetrators for murdering Palestinians,” said the Ministry. The Ministry considered this Israeli misleading as tantamount to rewarding, encouraging and offering safe harbor to such perpetrators and criminals. Israel has frequently resorted to such an allegation “to protect Jewish terrorists, whose hands are drenched in the blood of innumerable Palestinian civilians.” The ministry warned Israel against resorting to this allegation as an outlet and urged the international community to watch out for such ploys and maneuvers.
Breaking news: Leader of terror-murder cell follower of Shas and Beitar Jerusalem / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 6 July — Israel’s Shabak announced today it had arrested six Israeli Jews wanted in the immolation murder of Palestinian youth, Mohamed Abu Khdeir. The leader of the terror cell is Ezra Batzri, the grandson of a well-known Jerusalem rabbi and a member of the Jerusalem Beitar racist fan club, La Familia. Bazri is from the Jerusalem Har Nof, a primarily Orthodox neighborhood with a large Mizrahi population. Another suspect is from Beit Shemesh and another from the West Bank settlement, Adam. Several are minors and their identities aren’t yet known. They are being defended by the settler terror legal defense group, Honenu, which also defended Yigal Amir and other settler terrorists. Unlike what I posted earlier, the conspiracy doesn’t seem particularly rooted in the West Bank (though one suspect lives there). Rather, the suspects are all ardent followers of the Shas party, the home of Mizrahi Orthodox nationalists. Until recently, the racist Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was the party’s spiritual leader. Coincidentally, the latter also lived in Har Nof. Another critical affiliation the suspects had was to the Likud-affiliated Beitar Jerusalem soccer club. Beitar has an ardently racist fan club called, ironically enough, La Familia (the reference to the mafia is probably deliberate).
ProPublica: US funding defense of suspected killers of Palestinian teen
11 July by Uri Blau – ProPublica — A controversial Israeli organization that is representing the six men recently arrested in the recent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager is receiving thousands of dollars in tax-deductible support from Americans. The group, called Honenu (which roughly translates to “pardon”), supports Israelis charged with or convicted of violence against Palestinians. Honenu’s work goes well goes beyond legal aid. The group says it also provides “spiritual” and “financial” assistance to prisoners and their families. Among those Honenu has helped: Yigal Amir, assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; an Israeli convicted of murdering seven Palestinians at a bus stop; and an Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter and obstruction of justice after shooting a British photographer in Gaza. The tax-exempt donations do not appear to run afoul of U.S. law. But they do put U.S. taxpayers in the position of subsidizing aid to Israelis convicted of politically motivated violence.
Political, other news
The occupation will last forever, Netanyahu clarifies
972mag 11 July by Michael Omer-Man — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday put to rest any lingering speculation or hopes that the long-comatose two-state solution might ever be revived. All of a sudden, the prime minister’s refusal to discuss borders or maps in negotiations with the Palestinians makes sense. After all, why negotiate over a map you have no intention of ever compromising on? “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Netanyahu said in a televised statement about the current Gaza military operation, the Times of Israel reported. Yes. You read that right. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister for the coming years (unless he is unseated by a political opponent who outflanks him from the right) said that there is no way he would ever pull the Israeli army out of the West Bank. It’s official. Not that this should really surprise anyone, as long as Netanyahu is the Israeli prime minister the occupation is forever and there will be no sovereign Palestine. So when PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas takes his next international diplomatic step aimed at advancing Palestinian statehood and claiming a seat among the community of nations, remember why he is doing so. (Abbas is reportedly discussing joining the International Criminal Court.) It is not because negotiations broke down over some minor details, a clash of personalities or just bad timing. No. It’s because at the negotiations table, Abbas was the only one even talking about a two-state solution.
Israel’s message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave, or die
Mondoweiss 11 July by Jeff Halper — The Kerry initiative may have ended with a whimper instead of a bang, but its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was significant and fundamental nonetheless. The end of the political process, futile as it may have been, triggered the collapse of the status quo as we have known it for the past 47 years. It set in motion a series of events that will confront us with two stark alternatives regarding Israel and Palestine: either the permanent warehousing of an entire population or the emergence of a single democratic state. Both the blatantly disproportionate response to the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli boys and, as I write, the all-out air strikes on Gaza, have been cast by Israel as military operations: Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Operation Protective Edge. Neither had anything to do with the operations’ purported triggers, the search for the boys or rocket fire from Gaza. Palestinian cities supposedly enjoying extra-territorial status were invaded in Operation Brothers’ Keeper, more than 2000 homes were ransacked, some 700 people arrested. Who knows as yet the devastation wrought on Gaza – 100 dead in more than 1,100 air attacks so far, mostly civilians according to reports; deafening around-the-clock bombing of communities by American-supplied F-15 and artillery from the ground and sea that amounts to collective torture; Israel’s Foreign Minister calling for cutting off all electricity and water amidst threats to completely obliterate Gaza’s infrastructure; and the prospect of almost two million people being permanently imprisoned, reduced to bare existence just this side of starvation. What is clear is that the military operations had a purpose of their own, that they would have been launched regardless, that they were merely waiting on a pretext. They had to come because the vacuum left by Kerry had to be filled.
Kuwait calls for urgent Arab ministers meeting on Gaza crisis
Cairo (AFP) 11 July – Kuwait requested on Friday an urgent Arab foreign ministers meeting to discuss “the deteriorating situation” in the Gaza Strip, its Arab League representative said, as Israeli air strikes pound the Palestinian enclave. Israel’s aerial military campaign targeting rocket-firing militants in Gaza has killed around 110 Palestinians since it began early Tuesday. The Arab foreign ministers’ meeting is expected to take place on Monday, an Arab League official told AFP. Kuwait, the current rotating president of the Arab League summit, requested the meeting “to discuss the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip,” its permanent representative to the Pan-Arab organisation, Aziz Rahim Al-Daihani, told AFP. The move comes as the United States said it was ready to leverage its relationships in the Middle East to try to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement ruling Gaza. Despite international concerns, truce efforts have so far been unsuccessful, according to Egypt, which has been key in mediating previous Hamas-Israel ceasefires. Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “no international pressure will prevent us from striking, with all force, against the terrorist organisation which calls for our destruction.”
Abbas: Israel committing ‘genocide’ in Gaza
AFP 9 July — …”This is genocide – the murder of entire families is genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people,” he said at an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. “What is happening is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole, and not against the (militant) factions,” he has said. “We know that Israel is not defending itself, it is defending settlements, its main project,” said Abbas … Egypt on Wednesday urged Israel and Hamas in Gaza to halt their spiraling conflict but played down hopes of a Cairo-mediated truce.
Israeli, Palestinian leaders behaving ‘like children’ — Tutu
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) 9 July – Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has lashed out at Israeli and Palestinian leaders for behaving “like children,” seeking to blame each other for the latest bloody conflagration in the long-running conflict. “Once again, the people of Israel and Palestine are embroiled in a deadly contest of tit-for-tat violence in which there can never be victors, only losers,” the South African cleric said in a statement. “Like children following a playground dust-up, political and religious leaders fall over each other, not to make peace, but to proclaim: It wasn’t us, they started it.” … “The world is looking to Israelis and Palestinians to be bigger than themselves; to act now, before any more children are harmed,” said Tutu.
At last, US challenges Israel’s discrimination against Arab Americans
Haaretz 9 July by James J. Zogby — The U.S. is finally taking a decisive stand in defense of Arab American rights, protesting Israel’s treatment of its citizens at its borders; the brutal beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir may have turned the tide.