West Bank & Jerusalem
Fear and loathing in Israel, Palestine
JERUSALEM/TEL AVIV/GAZA CITY (IRIN) 10 July — With dozens killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warning that the situation is “on a knife-edge”, relations between Palestinians and Israelis are disintegrating. Some Palestinian workers say they have been summarily dismissed, while an atmosphere of hatred and fear is preventing many from going to work, taking public transport or even leaving their homes. Recently Sami, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem in his mid-20s, received a call from the Jewish-run shop in West Jerusalem where he has worked for several years. “They… said don’t come in because you are an Arab. I haven’t worked in two weeks,” said Sami, who lives with his parents, several of his nine siblings and his two young daughters in a crowded flat. Likewise, 16-year-old Mohammad said the restaurant where he works in Tel Aviv told him his help was no longer needed. Since the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers several weeks ago, relations between Arabs and Israelis in the city have become increasingly fractious. Anger has increased on both sides, with Jewish mobs attacking Arab communities and Palestinians protesting and sometimes carrying out attacks as well. In Jerusalem, groups of Israelis chanting “death to Arabs” have tried to enter Palestinian neighbourhoods while across the city, stickers have been put up imploring the Israeli government: “Enough talking, we want revenge.” Sami, switching between Arabic and nearly fluent Hebrew, pointed out that he has many Israeli friends who have called to see how he is doing, but that his family and other Palestinians are living in fear of an attack by far-right groups. Arabs don’t go to the centre of the city any more, since all of this started,” he said, while smoking and checking his phone for news updates or calls for help from his friends. His screen was a stream of photos of the slain Khdeir and videos of the latest news. “We don’t let our kids out of the house, even though it’s Ramadan,” he said.
Monument to murdered Palestinian teen vandalized for second time
Haaretz 12 July by Nir Hasson — For the second time in a week, a monument to the murdered East Jerusalem teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir has been vandalized. The monument, at the site where the 16-year-old’s body was found in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2, was built last Tuesday by several dozen residents of Beit Zayit and Jerusalemites, who spontaneously organized the memorial. They held a service at the site, built the monument from surrounding rocks and placed flower garlands on it in memory of the murdered Shoafat youth. The memorial was built over the charred piece of land on which Abu Khdeir was burned alive by his murderers. Three people have been detained on suspicion of killing the boy for nationalistic motives. The memorial was initially vandalized by unknown assailants the same day it was built. “Somebody used no small amount of strength to destroy it,” said Yoav Laff, a Beit Zayit resident and one of the monument’s initiators. Two days later, on Thursday, members of the Hoar HaOved VeHalomed and Dror Israel youth movements rebuilt the site and held another short service in Abu Khdeir’s memory. From a visit to the site on Saturday, it appears that somebody has again vandalized the monument, removed some of the rocks that form it and scattered the flower garlands.
Living in a state of fear: the rising spectre of vengeance attacks on the Palestinian population
Middle East Monitor 13 July by Matthew Vickery & Sheren Khalel — The East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shu‘fat lies in rubble, its residents still in a state of shock after the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and the clashes that followed in its wake between residents and Israeli forces. Decorative lights strung up as part of the Ramadan celebrations in Shufat remain intact; however the group of friends who put them up before the beginning of the holy month are not complete anymore. “The last time I saw him we were putting the lights up together,” a friend of Abu Khdeir, Mahmoud, told Middle East Monitor, “Now he is gone. He was the nicest person, everyone liked Mohammed.” Abu Khdeir was kidnapped, beaten and burned alive before a strike to the head finally killed him. The murder of the teen has become the most well-known and shocking example of a revenge attack launched on the Palestinian population since the discovery of three dead Israeli teens on June 30th, but it doesn’t stand alone … In Jub‘a, near Bethlehem, a nine-year-old-girl was run over by a settler’s car in an alleged revenge attack on 1st July. In the village of Husan the following day, a young Palestinian boy escaped an attempted kidnapping and strangling attempt, hiding in a forest for hours before members of his village found him. There has also been an attempted kidnap attempt in the Christian community of Beit Sahour, and several lynching attempts in Jerusalem, which has left half a dozen Palestinians in hospital. Residents of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem now report living in a constant state of fear and worry. Children who are normally free to roam the streets of their neighbours are kept close to home, their whereabouts monitored. People say they now avoid walking alone at night, and keep tabs on one another.
Mother, 2 children survive ‘stabbing attempt’ in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Two Israeli extremists attempted to stab a Palestinian woman and her two children as they passed through a Jewish neighborhood in the Old City of Jerusalem late Saturday. A Ma‘an reporter said that the two Israelis attempted to stab Umm Ziyad Abu Hadwan, her daughter Fidaa, 10, and her son Ahmad, 8. Her husband said that the Israelis verbally abused her before one of them took out a knife. They started screaming and managed to flee to a shop in the Chain Gate area. The Israelis attempted to follow them but were stopped by people at the gate.
Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian south of Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the Hebron village of Samu‘ early Monday, locals said. Munir Ahmad Badarin, 22, was shot in the abdomen and thigh during clashes with Israeli forces and died at a public hospital in Yatta. Badarin’s death is the first in the occupied West Bank since Israel’s assault on Gaza began.
In Beit Ummar, Israeli forces shot and injured 21-year-old Mahmoud Yasser Muhammad Breghith in the leg and Mahmoud Nasser Juma Hitawi, 20, in the foot, a local committee official said. The victims were treated at a public hospital for moderate wounds. The shootings took place during clashes as protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
30 injured in Aqsa, Jerusalem clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces raided the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound on Sunday and fired rubber-coated steel bullets at worshipers, witnesses told Ma‘an. Clashes broke out earlier in the morning when Israeli officers closed the area to Palestinian worshipers and opened the Moroccan Gate for a group of right-wing Israelis. Dr. Ziad Srour, who was on duty at a clinic inside the compound, said 20 young Palestinians were injured during the clashes. The majority, he said, were hit by rubber-coated bullets in the head and received treatment in clinics inside the compound. Meanwhile, a group of right-wing Israelis led by Yehuda Glick entered the compound via the Moroccan gate. Worshipers hurled stones and fireworks at them as they were escorted by Israeli police.
Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in several East Jerusaelm neighborhoods overnight while protesting the ongoing Israeli attack on Gaza. Local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma’an that 10 Palestinians were injured in clashes in al-Isawiya as Israeli forces sprayed ‘skunk’ water and fired rubber-coated steel bullets. Clashes also broke out in Shu‘fat, al-Tur and ‘Anata. Israeli forces raided both neighborhoods and fired excessive amounts of tear gas. Locals in Anata said youths managed to thwart an attempt by Israeli undercover agents to enter the town.
Rockets from Gaza hit West Bank cities: army
Jerusalem (AFP) 12 July – Rockets fired from Gaza hit in and near two cities in the southern West Bank Saturday, the army said on day five of an Israeli offensive against the coastal territory. “Rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel and hit the Judea region,” an army statement said, using Israel’s term for the southern West Bank. “One rocket struck an urban area in Hebron and two other rockets struck the area of Bethlehem,” it said, giving no details of any casualties or damage. Shortly before the rockets hit, air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem, just a few miles north of Bethlehem, before at least two explosions were heard. Palestinian security sources told AFP one rocket hit an inhabited area of Hebron, and another struck a house in the nearby village of Sa‘ir, to the south. There were no immediate details on the third rocket. Militants in the Gaza Strip have fired several rockets at Jerusalem and Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv since Monday, many of which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. Rockets from Gaza have also reached as far as Hadera, 116 kilometres (72 miles) north of the besieged Palestinian territory.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian in Jenin-area village
JENIN (Ma‘an) 12 July – Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man in the northern West Bank village of Bartaa al-Sharqiya west of Jenin. A village councilor, Tawfiq Qabaha, told Ma‘an that 28-year-old Muatasim Jad Sabri was detained after he drove West Bank workers to Bartaa. Qabaha highlighted that Sabri wasn’t a resident of Bartaa. Separately, fierce clashes broke in Bartaa between Israeli soldiers and dozens of young Palestinian men who hurled stones at Israeli military patrols. The Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters at the protesters.
Israeli forces detain 7 in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 July – Israeli forces detained seven Palestinian men in several West Bank districts overnight Saturday, Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. In Jenin in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Jamil Abu al-Kamil and Muhammad Jamal. Israeli forces also detained a Palestinian man Muhammad Abu Turky from Hebron in the southern West Bank.
In the Old City of Jerusalem, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Samrin and Ibrahim Abu Sneina in addition to two others unidentified. The total number of West Bank detainees in the last campaign following the abduction and killing of three teenage settlers rose to 1,013.
Eleven legislators, many residents kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC 14 July by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, different Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped 11 legislators, and several other Palestinians. The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights has reported that the soldiers kidnapped Professor Ibrahim Abdul-Sattar Qassem, a prominent intellectual and a professor at the Najah University in Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Ahrar added the soldiers also kidnapped former Finance Minister, Legislator Dr. Omar Abdul-Razeq, from Salfit in central West Bank, and Legislators Daoud Abu Sier and Riyadh al-‘Omla Qablan, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus. In Jenin and Tulkarem Districts, in northern part of occupied West Bank, soldiers kidnapped legislators Khaled Sa’id and Ibrahim Dahbour (Jenin), in addition to legislator Riyadh Raddad and Fathi al-Qar’awy in Tulkarem. Legislator Fadel Hamdan was also kidnapped in the central West Bank district of Ramallah. In Hebron, in southern part of the West Bank, soldiers kidnapped legislators Mohammad Abu Jheisha, Mohammad At-Till, and Nayef Rajoub. [most likely Hamas legislators]
Soldiers also kidnapped several Palestinians in Hebron, and took them to a nearby military base … Soldiers detonated main doors of many homes in Hebron, before invading and searching them, causing excessive property damage. In Bethlehem, soldiers kidnapped Mahmoud Kamel Sabah, Mohannad Nasser Sabah from Teqoua‘ village and Mahmoud Hussein Zawahra from al-Ma‘sara village.
LIVE UPDATES: Rocket strikes yard of Ashdod home, lightly wounding 8-year-old boy
Haaretz 14 July — Operation Protective Edge entered its seventh day Monday, as the IDF continued to carry out massive strikes within the Gaza Strip from land and sea, and Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns. Since the operation began, 172 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,100 have been wounded. Gaza hospitals are reporting a dire shortage of medicine and equipment, particularly for trauma injuries. Thousands of northern Gaza residents fled their homes on Sunday after Israel issued warnings of forthcoming air strikes.
Israeli airstrike hits home of Gaza police chief, death toll continues to rise
RT 13 July — An Israeli airstrike on the home of Gaza’s police chief killed 18 people and injured 45 others on Saturday, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. It was the deadliest day since Operation Protective Edge began, with the death toll soaring to over 150. Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on Israeli military offensive in Gaza Police Chief Tayseer Al-Batsh is said to be in critical condition and the majority of those killed are family members, Reuters reported, citing a Hamas member. An Israeli military spokesman is reportedly looking into the claims. People are still trapped under the rubble, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra. Rescue workers are continuing their search operations. Journalist Harry Fear, reporting from Gaza for RT, tweeted that according to witnesses, the Al-Batsh home strike did not have a warning known as the “roof knock.” Read more: Israeli ‘knock on the roof’ bombing technique caught on film (VIDEO) Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed 52 people on Saturday, making it the deadliest day of the offensive. Among the dead were two severely handicapped women in a care facility, AFP cited medics as saying. The total Palestinian death toll now stands at 157.
Israeli commandos make first ground incursion in Gaza
JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 July — Israeli marines mounted a first ground assault on Gaza early Sunday, further escalating a deadly six-day offensive hours after the UN Security Council unanimously called for a ceasefire … Overnight, Israeli naval commandos raided the northern Gaza Strip on a mission to destroy longer-range rockets, dozens of which have been fired at cities as far away as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Hadera in the north, sending tens of thousands fleeing for cover. “A naval commando operation took place on a beach in Gaza this morning with the aim of hitting a long-distance rocket launching site,” Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters, saying the mission was a success, despite four soldiers being lightly injured. Radio reports spoke of a fierce gun battle with Hamas militants in the Sudaniya district. The ground operation came just hours after the UN Security Council unanimously urged Israel and Hamas to return to the ceasefire agreement that ended their last round of fighting in November 2012.
Hamas fighters force Israeli Special Forces to retreat from Gaza Strip
Middle East Monitor 14 July — Hamas fighters announced on Monday morning that they had compelled a unit of Israeli Special Forces to retreat overnight along the eastern borders of Deir Al-Balah city, in the middle of the Gaza Strip, Anadolu news agency reported. The agency quoted a statement by Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, saying that one of its armed groups traded fire with the Israeli Special Forces while they were attempting to invade the Palestinian enclave. “The Israeli Special Forces’ unit was obliged to retreat after it was faced by heavy fire from Al-Qassam fighters,” the statement said.
On Sunday morning, Israeli Special Forces from Shaytet Unit 13, the most elite of Israel’s commando units, attempted to break into the north of Gaza City from the sea. However, faced by fire from Al-Qassam fighters, they also retreated. Four were lightly wounded.Al-Qassam fighters only used light weapons and RPGs to defend the enclave, whereas Israeli warships and warplanes backed up the well-equipped Israeli forces during the operation.
Extensive collection of photos from Middle East Monitor – one set from Gaza (warning: some are very upsetting, not surprisingly) and one set from the protests around the world.
In Pictures: Assault on Gaza continues
Al Jazeera 11 July by Wissam Nassar
Thousands flee northern Gaza in fear of Israeli attack
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an/AFP) 13 July — Thousands of Palestinians fled the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday and sought refuge in UNRWA facilities after Israeli forces instructed them to leave their homes. Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning residents to leave their homes before midday on Sunday “for their own safety.” Residents said they also received phone calls from Israel’s military instructing them to evacuate their homes and several tank shells were fired to scare residents, witnesses said. During the night, Samari al-Atar, who lives in the Atatra neighborhood — one of the areas Israel said it would hit hard — fled to an UNRWA school in Gaza City. “It was the middle of the night, and I gathered the children, they were so afraid,” said Samari al-Atar, breaking down in tears as she described how her family had left everything and fled barefoot with shooting all around. “Last night there was so much shelling that no one could sleep, it was terrifying,” said one man, who gave his name only as Farid. He was fleeing with six family members, riding alongside them on a motorbike piled high with blankets. “I’m going to try to go to a school, anywhere that is safe,” he told AFP. Mohammed Sultan packed his family’s belongings onto a horse-drawn cart, with five children sitting among the hastily assembled items. He walked alongside the cart, with other adult relatives, heading for a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees. Inside the school compound, the displaced children draw on a blackboard, sketching images of war in pink and yellow chalk — Israeli helicopters and tanks firing, and Palestinian rockets. One boy seemed almost catatonic as he spoke in a long, monotone about fleeing his home, his eyes downcast and fixed on the floor. Maani al-Ataar described the terror of fleeing by night, as Israeli planes circled overhead. “People were screaming and there were old men who couldn’t walk properly, the younger men had to support them,” she said. “There was no electricity, so the road was pitch black.
Palestinians fear ‘no place is safe’ in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 14 July by Mohammed Omer — Khader Khader had less than one minute to evacuate his home. At 7am on Friday, the 55-year-old was sleeping under the staircase with his five children, when he heard his neighbour scream, “Dr Khader, evacuate! They are going to bomb my house!” At that moment, Khader’s seven-year-old son, Mohammed, tucked his tiny fingers into his father’s trousers and froze, unable to move. Quickly getting everyone out of bed, the family ran out of the yellow villa – which Khader spent years saving money to build and only moved into two years ago – just as the first Israeli missile, a warning shot, screeched by. “We ran anywhere we could, away from the house so as not to get hurt or killed,” Khader recalled, his voice shaking. They crammed into the car and reached the top of the street before the second missile, fired from an Israeli F-16, hit the neighbourhood. Khader’s home was not the target, but his neighbour’s house was. “My children are traumatised from the bombing – what did they do to deserve this?” Khader, a respected university professor of linguistics, said. His children, aged between seven and 16, have yet to return to see the damage. “The trauma is so immense, that they fear coming back to their home, where we escaped by a miracle,” he told Al Jazeera. At the same time the Khader family’s home was bombed, another house in Rafah, in southern Gaza, was hit by Israeli missiles. The Ghannam family received no warning and five people were killed in their sleep, while another 16 were injured. At least 154 Palestinians have been killed and almost 1,000 others injured as Israel’s military operation continued into a sixth day on Sunday. At least 70 Palestinian homes have been completely destroyed, according to the United Nations, while another 2,500 housing units have sustained minor damage.
Israeli strike hits media vehicle, kills driver
A first-hand account of the Israeli airstrike that killed Hamid Shehab, the driver of a media vehicle. GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 10 July by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza on the morning of July 8, I have been working from the headquarters of Media24, a local news agency, in Burj al-Ghafari, in western Gaza City. It provides electricity, cars and logistical equipment to ensure that nothing delays my writing and sending of reports …The office driver, Hamid Shehab, prepares us coffee in the evening and distributes the cups in silence, but also with a friendliness. Rarely do we go home to rest, because news is rapidly streaming in as events unfold and pressure grows, with increasing numbers of martyrs and injured. We stay at the office until the early hours of the morning and eat suhoor, the predawn meal during Ramadan before daytime fasting begins. On the first day of the aggression, Hamid had stayed up late with us, and we ate suhoor together. On the second day, July 9, Hamid was driving photographers and journalists from the agency to hospitals and homes that had been hit by rockets and then bringing them back to the office. Quietly and without complaint, he handled the pressure and difficulty of the work under the circumstances. On that day, we had finished following up on stories and interviews, and everyone had returned to the office. We were all busy with something — a photo essay, report or interview — and Hamid was with us, helping and reassuring everyone. Sunset was approaching, and we began to prepare for iftar, the main meal during Ramadan. Hamid ate with us and then made Arabic coffee as usual and distributed it. He stood in front of the door facing everyone and said he was going to check on his family and then meet Hatim Salmi, a photographer, to follow up on developments on the ground. Barely an hour had passed when Hatim called, screaming, “Hamid has been martyred! Hamid has been martyred!” We could not understand. We thought, “Maybe Hatim was mistaken.” We hoped so. The director of the agency, Khaled al-Ashqar, hurried to the hospital and confirmed the news: Our friendly driver had been killed by a direct hit on the silver Skoda with “TV” written on the side in large, bright red letters.
Israeli strike kills family having coffee
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 13 July — In the early hours of July 9, Hafez Hamad, 37, was sitting in a small courtyard in front of his house, along with his wife, Suha, 31, his mother, Fawzia, 70, his brothers Ibrahim, 35, and Mahdi, 41, and Mahdi’s teenage daughter Dina. They were chatting and drinking coffee, escaping the power cut inside their home, when an unmanned Israeli aircraft fired a missile, killing them all. Al-Monitor spoke with Amir Hamad, the 11-year-old son of martyr Hafez. With a pale face after losing his father and mother, he said, “I was sitting beside my father and we were chatting when the plane bombed the location. I wasn’t injured, but I saw everyone on the ground. I screamed out for my father, yet he didn’t respond. I lifted up his hand, but it fell limp. At that time, I knew he had died. I picked up my little brother Nour and ran toward the house.” … Amir was suppressing his grief and tears, trying to appear strong. This 11-year-old will now have to carry the burden of looking after his younger siblings after Israel took his parents away. “We buried them a little while ago. We said goodbye to them. … I’ll take care of my brothers and sister,” he said … The funeral was held on the afternoon of July 9. The coffins of Hafez and Mahdi were wrapped in the flags of the Islamic Jihad movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, of which they were nonviolent members … Israel has committed a number of war crimes in the past by targeting entire families, most notably the bombing of the Samouni family in the 2008-2009 war, when dozens of civilians taking shelter in a house were killed. In the current aggression, families have again been targeted, including the Kawareh and Hamad families on July 8, the Hajj family at dawn on July 10 and the Ghannam family at dawn on July 11 … Raji al-Surani, the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, told the local news agency Media24 that the presence of a military member among a family does not allow Israel to commit war crimes, for the other family members remain civilians protected in times of war, according to international humanitarian law.
‘Wake up, my son!’ None of Gaza’s murdered children are just numbers
Electronic Intifada 12 July by Ali Abunimah — Sahir Salman Abu Namous was just four years old, soon to turn five. “Everyone who saw him loved him because he was always smiling,” his first cousin Diaa Mahmoud recalls in an email he sent me from Gaza. “One month before Sahir died, his father was sitting and talking to the boy’s aunt,” Mahmoud says. “He looks so clever,” Mahmoud remembers the boy’s proud father saying, “even more clever than his siblings.” Sahir was killed on Friday afternoon when an Israeli warplane bombed his family home in the Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood in northern Gaza. “He was playing and smiling next to his mother when missile shrapnel divided his head,” Mahmoud writes. “His father took him to the hospital screaming ‘Wake up, my son! I bought toys for you, please wake up!’” The photo that Mahmoud sent of Sahir with little left of his head, cradled in the arms of his anguished father Salman Abu Namous, is too graphic to show here. But Mahmoud sent me some other photos of his cousin Sahir in happier times. “He was just a kid who wanted to play and be happy,” Mahmoud says, “he wasn’t just a number.”
When bombs receive applause
Kristeligt Dagblad 11 July by Nikolaj Krak — On a hilltop a few kilometers from Gaza, Israelis sit with popcorn to follow the bombing of the area — While most of the 25,000 inhabitants of the southern town of Sderot in the evening try to stay safe indoors from the rain of rockets from Gaza, you will meet a different image on a small hill on the outskirts of the city. This place changes the ghostly atmosphere into something resembling a party. “We are here to see Israel destroy Hamas,” says Eli Chone, a 22-year-old American living in Israel. He is one of the more than 50 people gathered on the dark hill to see Israel bomb Gaza from close distance. The hill has been transformed into something that most closely resembles the front row of a reality war theatre. It offers a direct view of the densely populated Gaza Strip. People have dragged camping chairs and sofas to the top of the hill. Several sit with crackling bags of popcorn, while others smoke hookahs and talk cheerfully … Suddenly the night sky lights into a powerful flash, while a high column of fire rises in Gaza. A few seconds later the earth is shaken by a dull roar. Now cheers break out on the hill, followed by solid applause.
Israeli airstrike bombs major water line, sewage station and water wells in Gaza
GAZA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Ramallah Team) 13 July — Israeli airstrikes bombed a major water line and sewage plant west of Gaza City, last Wednesday afternoon, which provides water to tens of thousands of citizens and is regarded as the main water line for al-Shati refugee camp west of the city. The director of the Water Department in the Municipality of Gaza, Saad Eddin Al-Atbash stated, “Israeli aircraft targeted a sewage plant west of the city, which serves the areas of al-Shati Camp, Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, Sheikh Ajlin, and the western areas of Gaza City, which pumps 25,000 cubic meters of waste water daily to the public treatment plant.” He continued, “While the city is working on improving the water supply systems for the citizens in Gaza, Israeli forces are working on the destruction of water wells in order to increase the suffering of the citizens during the summer.” This waterline provides water to more than 70,000 people, and it takes several days to repair. Bassam Al-Raee, a citizen in Gaza City, stressed that the water crisis has been going on since the beginning of the summer, indicating that the targeting of the well will make things even harder than they already were, making life even more difficult for citizens in the area. The Gaza Strip needs about 180 million cubic meters of water per year, while renewable sources do not exceed 80 million cubic meters per year.
Israeli forces also targeted water wells yesterday (Saturday 12th July), creating a crisis and a severe shortage of water, where airstrikes directly targeted and hit the waterlines of ‘Haouz water’ in the Gaza Strip. “The warplanes targeted two water wells, one of the wells is owned by the Islamic Society near Maqousi towers, and the other is in Zaytoon town where both water wells feed nearly 7000 people,” said Al-Atbash. He stressed that the Israeli forces targeted more than five water-lines that are located in vital areas, pointing out that just one single water-line services more than 20,000 people.
Brief pause in constant bombing of Gaza during World Cup final; bombs average 1 every 3 minutes
IMEMC 14 July by Celine Hagbard — Palestinians in Gaza have noted a brief pause in the constant barrage of bombs, Sunday night, while the World Cup final game was in progress. F16 fighters continued to circle overhead, and drones continued to buzz along above the rooftops, but very few bombs were dropped during the hour and a half that the game was being played. The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, based in Geneva, has issued a statement based on the number of bombing raids by the Israeli military over the past six days, saying that the bombs have been hitting Gaza at, on average, one every three minutes for three days straight. Euro-Mid noted a significant increase in the targeting of civilian institutions by the Israeli army on the fourth day of the attack … During the same time period, Palestinian fighters responded to the Israeli bombardment by firing several hundred homemade shells toward Israel, causing no deaths, injuries or serious damage.
Medical delegation says denied entry into Gaza
World Bulletin update 13 July — Egyptian authorities deny entry to a delegation of European doctors who have arrived to offer help to the residents of Gaza into the Palestinian strip, a coordinator of Palestinian doctors in Europe said Saturday. “The delegation consists of anesthetists, surgeons and disaster specialists,” Abdeen Fayez added in a statement. He did not, however, mention the reasons for preventing the members of the medical delegation from entering the Gaza Strip from Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and the coastal Palestinian enclave, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006. Fayez called on Egyptian authorities to let the members of the delegation to enter Gaza to offer help to its residents, while the Israeli military continues to pound the strip since Monday.
Doctor in Gaza reports injuries indicating Israeli use of banned weapons
IMEMC 13 July by Saed Bannoura — A Norwegian doctor working at Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, told reporters that some of the injuries that wounded and killed Palestinians have experienced are consistent with the use of banned weapons by Israeli forces. In the 2008-9 war on Gaza, Israel was found by the UN to have used white phosphorus on numerous occasions in civilian areas. White phosphorus is considered a ‘banned weapon’ in civilian areas, due to the severe burns it can cause. The doctor, Mads Gilbert, has been working in Gaza for years, including during the 2008-9 Israeli invasion … Gaza’s undersecretary of health, Youssef Abu al-Resh, verified the concern that Israeli forces have begun to use banned DIME weapons against Palestinian civilians.
Abu al-Resh told a press conference, “Medical teams have found wounds on the bodies of those killed and injured that are caused by the banned DIME weapons.” … DIME weapons (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) cause extreme heat and severe injuries. Some of the indications that these weapons have been used include severed limbs that have extreme heat at the point of the severing, without shrapnel present at the site. The weapon produces micro-shrapnel, which is not visible to the human eye. The weapon contains small particles of a chemically inert material such as tungsten. Several studies by the U.S. government have found DIME weapon exposure to cause cancer in lab animals.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing in 1 direction for Gaza critical injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July – Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza Saturday morning to allow entry of injured Gaza citizens into Egypt for medical treatment and to allow holders of Egyptian and foreign passports to leave the coastal enclave.
Officials in the Palestinian border and crossing department highlighted that the crossing was open in one direction only. They said that thousands of special cases including students and patients were waiting in Egypt hoping the crossing would be open for them to return to Gaza. The crossing was opened Thursday and four buses carrying holders of Egyptian passports left for Egypt.
Rafah crossing opened for Gaza pilgrims
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 July — Egypt opened the Rafah crossing Monday to allow pilgrims to leave Gaza and travel to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage. Over 490 Gazans left early Monday and 152 pilgrims returned to Gaza from Saudi Arabia.
Four seriously injured Palestinians entered Egypt for treatment. Egypt has largely kept the Rafah crossing, the only border through which Palestinians can exit Gaza, closed during Israel’s assault on the territory.
Egypt army sends aid to Gaza Strip
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 12 July — Egypt’s army transferred six truckloads of aid to the Rafah crossing on Saturday to be taken into Gaza. Over 2,500 boxes of medical supplies and 9,000 packages of nutritional supplements were among the aid.
Turkey sends $2.5m of aid to Palestinians
World Bulletin 13 July — Turkish agencies have rushed aid to the Palestines worth a total of $2.5 million as Gaza continues to be hit by Israeli airstrikes. The Turkish Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) has sent a total of $1.5 million to the World Health Organization’s Palestine Office, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday. The office will use the money to support people in Gaza with aid and medicine. The Turkish Cooperation Agency (TIKA) has also begun providing support services worth $1 million, the statement added. The Turkish Red Crescent has already sent food packages to 500 families in Palestine and will send another delivery to 1,500 others. The Turkish government has declared another $1 million will be sent to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to be used for people in Palestine as well.
Gazans face psychological toll as fear of death looms
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July by Charlie Hoyle — Israel’s ongoing military assault in the Gaza Strip is exacerbating a mental health crisis in the besieged enclave as Gazans struggle to sustain coping mechanisms under the constant fear of death. Aside from the huge physical death toll — over 160 have been killed and at least 1,000 injured since the assault began — 1.8 million Gazans live in a state of permanent anxiety as families are unable to find refuge from airstrikes, drones, and naval bombings in the densely populated enclave. Rana Nashashibi, a psychologist with the Palestinian Counseling Center, told Ma‘an that not knowing when, or how, you could die amid widespread carnage has a deliberate dis-empowering effect on Gazans, part of the psychological warfare used by Israel to weaken the population. “It is always parallel to the conventional warfare of military power, using psychological warfare on people. The main aim is to make people feel helpless and debilitated, a way of saying: ‘We are powerful and we are doing this to you.'” The Israeli blockade on Gaza, imposed in 2007, has depleted the resources and energy of Gazans in facing the severe challenges of military attacks, she says. “Just surviving and being able to cope with every day challenges is fatiguing people.” Adults and children in the Gaza Strip suffer from high levels of psychological trauma which inevitably increase during periods of intense violent conflict, medical professionals say. Following Israel’s war on Gaza in Nov. 2012, the incidence of psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder rose by 100 percent, according to UNRWA. UNICEF released findings following the conflict which showed a 91 percent increase in sleep disturbances among children, with 85 percent of adults reporting a loss of appetite. There was also a notable increase in the incidence of miscarriage among pregnant women, UNRWA said. Sleep disorders, bed-wetting, anxiety, and psychosomatic symptoms such as heart problems, high blood pressure, and even cancer, are a result of living in continuous fear, Nashashibi says….
Panic in Tel Aviv indicates psychological warfare success for Hamas, say analysts
Middle East Monitor 13 July — Three million Israelis spent Saturday evening in panic in anticipation of a strike by Hamas, which threatened to fire rockets at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in response to Israel’s deadly airstrikes on Gaza. A military analyst at Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Roni Daniel, said that in all of Israel’s history, “no one has dared to threaten to attack Israel, let alone a major city and former capital [sic] like Tel Aviv.” The local media lamented Israel’s “helplessness” in the face of the threat of Hamas rockets, which the movement said would target Tel Aviv and Gush Dan at 9:00 pm on Saturday. Channel 2‘s political analyst Amnon Abromovitch described what happened as “unprecedented”, indicating a psychological warfare success for Hamas. “It appears to have achieved its objective,” he added … As rockets were fired by Hamas on Saturday night, Israelis tried to console themselves by broadcasting breaking news about the success of their warplanes in destroying the base from which they were launched. The Hamas response has rattled Israelis as it seemed to undermine the government’s claim to have a firm grip on security; residents stood helpless waiting for the unknown. Analysts interpret Saturday’s rockets as a message that dealt a serious blow to Israeli security and so-called “military respect”.
Hamas media campaign taunts Israel, fortifies battered Gaza public
Reuters 14 July by Noah Browning — Hamas has posted a Hebrew version of one of its battle songs in the latest act of psychological warfare accompanying the physical conflict with Israel — Hamas militants warned Israel for the first time, and in Hebrew, of an impending rocket attack, adopting psychological warfare with the Jewish state while trying to raise the morale of Gaza’s Palestinians harder hit by Israeli bombardment. Around 160 Palestinians in the tiny overcrowded enclave, most of them civilians, have been killed in six days of conflict while Israel has reported no dead. On Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV at eight in the evening Saturday, the voice of Abu Ubeida – the perpetually masked and camouflaged spokesman of the group’s armed wing – broadcast a warning. “(We) will direct a military strike with rockets at the Tel Aviv area and its surroundings with a J80 rocket after 9 P.M.” Audio of the threat in Hebrew followed, and Israeli television stations immediately picked up the news. At seven minutes past nine, a series of thunderous roars in the coastal territory signalled the outgoing rockets. Warning sirens promptly sounded in the greater Tel Aviv region, the heavily populated heart of the Jewish state. “Our rockets have struck Tel Aviv!” the loudspeaker of a Gaza mosque blared. The roars of men and boys arose from the windows of houses: “God is Great!” No rocket actually hit Tel Aviv. They were either shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile interceptor or fell harmlessly on open ground. But that did not matter in Gaza. [ Watch video of rockets going up to the tune of ‘Shake Israel’s Security’ ]
Alleged collaborator ‘executed’ in Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 July — An alleged collaborator with Israel was executed by Palestinian fighters in Gaza City on Sunday, local sources said. Witnesses in the southern city of Rafah reported seeing gunmen killing a man in the middle of the street in what appeared to be the execution of someone suspected of collaborating with Israel. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any of Gaza’s armed factions. Israel often relies on collaborators to carry out military attacks and assassinations.
Solidarity with Gaza
In Photos: Worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza (Update)
Mondoweiss 13 July by Annie Robbins — France, Greece, Sweden, Scotland, Lebanon, Japan, UK, Norway, Scotland, US, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Canada, Ireland
Jewish activists light children’s dolls on fire at Yad Vashem to protest Gaza attack
Mondoweiss 13 July by Neta Golan — Saturday, 12th July, a group called Jews Against Genocide (JAG) held a memorial service for Palestinian children killed by Israel in its current attack on Gaza. JAG set aflame to a pile of dolls covered in red paint at Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial museum. Jews Against Genocide (JAG) is a movement of Jews from all over the world, including Israelis, who are protesting against Israel’s intent to commit genocide against the non-Jewish indigenous people of Palestine. The Yad Vashem security guard attempted to disrupt the memorial, confiscated JAG’s fire extinguisher, and called the Israeli police to arrest the participants. We, Jews Against Genocide, came to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial of the genocide committed against Jews, to honor the Palestinian children who are dying in a genocide committed by Jews.We brought dolls to symbolise the children of Gaza, and tried to bring a glimpse of the horror that Gazan’s face, to Israel’s doorstep. We hope to show Israel, and the world, the absurd reality of using the memory of one genocide to justify another. We invite compassionate people from across the globe to join the outcry by staging similar protests in front of Israeli embassies and consulates around the world on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th July, 2014. Just as we honor the people who were murdered seven decades ago in Europe because they were Jews, we are here to honor the people who are being murdered at this very moment because they are the indigenous people of this land who are not Jews.
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 12 July – Fierce clashes broke out across the West Bank late Friday and early Saturday between Israeli troops and young Palestinian men protesting the ongoing military offensive against the Gaza Strip. In Ramallah in the central West Bank, Palestinian protesters on Saturday morning used rocks to block the road to an Israeli military base near the town of Sinjel in the north. The protesters then clashed with Israeli troops who showered them with tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades. The young protesters responded with stones, gas bombs and fireworks. Also Saturday, dozens of angry young Palestinian men attacked an Israeli military post in Tal al-Asour in the village of Kafr Malik north of Ramallah. The protesters threw several Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the post setting it ablaze. Israeli troops got out of their bunkers and started to extinguish the fire, while other soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters at the protesters. On Friday evening, hundreds of young Palestinian men demonstrated near Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. During the protest, young men hurled several Molotov cocktails at an Israeli watchtower near the checkpoint setting it aflame. A Ma‘an reporter said Israeli soldiers attacked the protestors with live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters in an attempt to disperse them and move them away, but the boys were adamant to confront Israeli troops. He confirmed that many were hit by rubber-coated bullets and live gunshots.
In the southern West Bank, namely in al-‘Arrub refugee camp, four young Palestinian men were injured by rubber-coated bullets after midnight during clashes with Israeli troops in the camp north of Hebron. A fleeing young woman accidentally hit a wall during confrontations, injuring her nose … Witnesses said an Israeli ambulance evacuated an Israeli soldier who, seemingly, sustained burns after Molotov cocktails were hurled at a watchtower near the camp. Similarly, hundreds of protestors rallied after the late evening prayer in al-Fawwar refugee camp and in Hebron city. Local sources in al-Fawwar camp told Ma‘an that worshipers from the camp’s three main mosques gathered and rallied protesting the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip. After the rally, dozens of angry young men attacked Israeli troops garrisoned at the main entrance with rocks and empty bottles. The soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at the protesters hurting many as a result of tear-gas inhalation. In Hebron, large numbers of worshipers demonstrated after they performed late evening prayers at the al-Hussein Mosque in the city center. They chanted slogans calling for revenge for Gaza and slamming Arab countries and the international community for remaining silent toward the Israeli offensive against Gaza. Senior leader of the Palestinian People’s Party in Hebron Fahmi Shahin told Ma‘an that the rally was organized by Palestinian political factions in Hebron district. Clashes with Israeli troops also broke out in Beit Ummar north of Hebron. A spokesman of the town’s local committee against Israeli settlements and the separation wall Muhammad Ayyad Awad said young Palestinian men pelted Israeli troops with stones in Asida neighborhood. The soldiers, he added, fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters. A young man was hit with a rubber-coated bullet, while several others inhaled tear gas.
In Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, a young Palestinian man was hit by live ammunition during clashes near Rachel’s Tomb at the northern entrance to the city between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops, according to the director of the ambulance service of the Palestinian Red Crescent. Muhammad Awad added that several demonstrators were treated in the field after they inhaled tear gas.
In the East Jerusalem villages of ‘Anata, Abu Dis and Shu‘fat, young Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers with stones, empty bottles and Molotov cocktails on Friday night. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers were unable to step out of their military vehicles because protesters showered them with rocks and empty bottles. A military transport vehicle was attacked with several Molotov cocktails in Abu Dis. A spokesman of the East Jerusalem popular resistance committees Hani Halabiya told Ma‘an that several young Palestinians suffered from tear-gas inhalation and some were hit by rubber-coated bullets. A spokesman of the Fatah movement in Shufat refugee camp Thaer al-Fasfous said clashes broke out near an Israeli military checkpoint at the main entrance to the camp.
In Qalqiliya, in the northern West Bank, dozens of worshipers rallied after late evening prayers. Witnesses said worshipers rallied from mosques toward an Israeli checkpoint north of Qalqiliya where they clashed with Israeli troops who showered them with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.
Video: While the world watches Gaza, protests rage across the West Bank
Mondoweiss 13 July by Kelly Lynn — Palestinian youth gathered again for the ninth consecutive night near Rachel’s Tomb on Bethlehem’s Jerusalem-Hebron Road on Friday, June 11th. Clashes began on July 3rd in response to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and have continued with the Israeli government’s current operation in Gaza. At least 8 young people have been treated for wounds sustained from Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition and dozens more for injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation. Approximately forty IDF soldiers and Border Police fired tear gas, skunk water, rubber bullets, sound grenades and live ammunition at demonstrators last night. During a relatively quiet moment toward the end of the evening, a military jeep sped down Jerusalem-Hebron Road and fired ten rounds of tear gas from its high-capacity, variable-payload system. Most demonstrators fled down the street while a few remained in nearby Al ‘Azza Refugee Camp to seek shelter from the plumes. Medics reported four families not involved in the demonstration were treated for tear gas inhalation and two youths were treated for gunshot wounds in the leg from live ammunition. The unconscious young man who was rushed to the hospital at the end of the clip was released in good condition after being treated. Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians have swept the West Bank since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2nd and only increased in frequency and intensity. Hundreds have been injured in the latest bout of clashes across the West Bank. According to IMEMC, in the last week, the use of live ammunition has been reported in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shu‘afat, Tulkarem, Kufr Qaddoum, Ramallah, Al Ram, Yatta, Al ‘Arroub Refugee Camp and multiple villages in the districts of Ramallah and Hebron.
Pro-Palestinian rallies in Asia as Gaza death toll climbs
Sydney (AFP) 12 July — Thousands of protesters from Australia to India rallied to voice their support for Palestinians on Sunday, as Israel mounted a ground assault in Gaza and the death toll from air strikes climbed. In Sydney an estimated 3,000 people demonstrated outside the city’s Town Hall to condemn the military offensive, shouting “Free, free Palestine; free, free Gaza” and holding signs declaring “Shame Israel Shame” … In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, about 500 people marched in the capital Jakarta shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and carrying Palestinian flags and posters of children killed in the offensive. “This is a show of solidarity for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Gaza who are being oppressed by Israeli occupiers. We Indonesian Muslims share their suffering and pain,” activist Adityo Nugroho told AFP. In Hong Kong organisers of a pro-Palestinian rally said about 300 people, mostly from the city’s Muslim community took part. Some held up banners depicting the Israeli flag with the star of David replaced by a swastika, as protesters marched through the streets in the sweltering heat. n the Indian capital New Delhi about 100 protesters, mainly students, gathered outside Israel’s embassy carrying placards stating “We are with you Gaza” and “Say no to Zionist genocide”. Protests were also held in Tokyo and Malaysia on Friday.
[with VIDEO] The night it became dangerous to demonstrate in Tel Aviv
972mag 13 July by Haggai Matar (Translated from Hebrew by Michael Sappir) — The fascists attacked. Police didn’t respond in time and ran away when the sirens wailed. We were lucky to get away with only three injured, one in the hospital and many traumatized. When the sirens wailed in Tel Aviv last night one thing was clear to us: the fascists in front of us were more dangerous than the rapidly approaching rockets. One by one, the police ran to bomb shelters and left us face to face. Only one brave and wise officer remained in the middle and attempted to separate us. Only when the Iron Dome rockets lit up the sky with their golden blazes and intercepted a rocket right over us did the two groups stop their shouts for a moment, mesmerized by the sight, from the boom, and then once again: “Death to Arabs!”, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!” But our fear was justified. By the end of the protest (and a little after it, when they chased us through the streets) one person who had a chair broken over his head was injured and evacuated to hospital, another got punched hard in the head, and one came our with a black eye, someone else had their expensive video camera stolen, and dozens of others hit, pushed, or eggs thrown at them. Some also said that the fascists attacked them with pepper spray … I have to say this clearly: it is not just these fascists, Eliassi and his people, or those carrying Liberman’s posters and the rest of the thugs. It comes from the top. It comes from a government which serially incites against Arabs and the Left. It comes from MK Yariv Levin sitting in the Channel 10 News studio, boldly lying about the Gaza siege policy, and refusing to allow Ran Cohen from Physicians for Human Rights to talk, calling him a liar, saying Channel 10 was derelict in its duty when it allows the government to be criticized on the air – criticism which was entirely hard, dry facts. It comes from policemen, who are quite adept at attacking Left-wing demonstrations, or ultra-Orthodox ones, and of course Arab ones – but somehow stand in silence in the face of fascists marching through the streets. And it comes from a prime minister who has been silent for weeks while masses flood the streets, attacking Arabs, swearing, humiliating, a whole population group feeling threatened and isolated, with nobody to turn to.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas asks UN for international protection in Gaza as hostilities with Israel continue
ABC News 13 July — …The president has presented a letter, addressed to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, to UN special envoy Robert Serry. He met with Mr Serry on Sunday (local time) in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “The Palestinian leadership is in a continuous meeting, in particular the joint command of the executive and central committees,” Mr Abbas said. “Today they took a decision to call for international protection for the Palestinian lands and nation.” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed receipt of the letter. “We … will need to study it before responding further,” Mr Haq said in a short statement in New York.
Middle East Eye: Hamas rules Egypt out as negotiator for a ceasefire
Middle East Monitor 13 July — Hamas has decided to rule Egypt out as a negotiator for a ceasefire, a senior source of the Islamic movement told the Middle East Eye. He said that from now on, Hamas would only consider Turkey and Qatar as potential go-betweens with Israel. The Hamas decision counters international attempts to get ceasefire talks going, as they are primarily routed through Egypt. The British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that he will discuss a ceasefire with US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as their French and German counterparts, at the Vienna nuclear talks on Sunday. When Hague raised the issue with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday, the British Foreign Secretary “stressed Britain’s strong support for an active Egyptian role”. Hamas’s decision to rule Egypt out of the equation is a major shift in its position, as Egypt has played an important role in all previous truce negotiations between Israel and the movement since 2006. In November 2012, the then Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi played a key role in stopping a week-long assault on Gaza and was praised by the US administration for his actions. This is the agreement that the the Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair is now attempting to restore during a visit to Cairo. This time, however, the source said that Hamas decided that Egypt was unable to negotiate a deal after being passed secret messages from Egyptian intermediaries on the eve of the bombardment that Israel would “wipe out” one third of the Gaza Strip. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had previously claimed that he would broker a ceasefire.
Arab world cartoonists prove a faster draw than their governments over Gaza
The Guardian 11 July by Ian Black — Paralysis of Arab League members over conflict as much a target of anger across region as Israel and US support for it — Gaza‘s suffering in the latest round of conflict with Israel has prompted anger and condemnation but little action across the Arab world – where cartoonists are savaging the failure of governments to help the Palestinians, and criticising ordinary people for being too preoccupied by the World Cup to care. Israel is the main target of Arab fury, along with US support for it. But there is criticism too of the paralysis of the Arab League, whose history has been bound up with the Palestinian issue but which has yet to meet to discuss the crisis. In a cartoon by Jabertoon, an Israeli tank is shown being refuelled at a petrol pump marked “Arab silence”. Other images circulating on social media highlight the imbalance in the attention paid to the human cost of the violence – 100 Palestinians reported killed and no Israeli fatalities … For decades Palestine was the touchstone of pan-Arab solidarity but since the 1973 war, that has meant little more than posturing … The Arab world was busy dealing with its own problems in November 2012 when Israel launched the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defence against Gaza, killing 130 Palestinians. Now, the regional situation is even worse as the stunning advances by Isis fighters in Iraq have morphed into the war in neighbouring Syria.
Mortar fired from Syria hits Golan Heights
Times of Israel 13 July by Stuart Winer — No indications if the projectile was a deliberate attack on Israel or a stray round from the civil war — A mortar shell landed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on Sunday evening, causing no injuries but starting a brush fire. Firefighters scrambled to the scene to deal with the blaze, the IDF said. Israeli forces responded by firing three missiles at Syrian military targets, Channel 10 news reported. There were no reports of injuries from the missile strikes. Security forces did not indicate if the bomb was deliberately fired at Israeli territory or if it was stray shot between the warring sides in Syria. A number of projectiles fired from Syria have hit Israel over the last several years, as well as small arms fire. Israel has responded in the past with artillery fire.
Israel is currently in the midst of a major operation to stop Gazan rocket fire, but on Saturday night, a second front opened with Lebanon after two rockets landed near the town of Nahariya on the northern border. The IDF responded with artillery fire towards the source of the launch. It was the second time rockets were launched out of Lebanon at Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge six day ago. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the attacks.
Hamas denies claim it fired rockets on Israel from Lebanon
World Bulletin 13 July — The Palestinian group Hamas had no role in a rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon and had nothing to do with a statement in the name of its armed wing that claimed responsibility for the attack late on Saturday, Hamas officials in Lebanon said. Three rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas near Nahariya in northern Israel on Saturday evening. Israel responded with artillery fire. There were no casualties. The attack followed a similar rocket salvo from Lebanon on Friday … Asked about a claim of responsibility issued in the name of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades – the Hamas armed wing – Hamas official Osama Hamdan said: “We denied it and said Hamas had nothing to do with this statement.” The claim of responsibility had been circulated in a text message received by journalists in Gaza, the way the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades often makes such announcements. A Lebanese security official said investigators had yet to determine who fired the rockets. The main Palestinian factions in Lebanon had told the investigators they were not involved in the attack, the official said. In its first statement since the eruption of the latest hostilities, the powerful Lebanese group Hezbollah praised Hamas and Islamic Jihad and said it backed the Palestinian “resistance in its goals and steps”. The movement that fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006 said the Palestinians had realised “a balance of fear” that would pave the way to a “new era” in the struggle with Israel. While Hezbollah routinely states its readiness for a new confrontation with Israel, analysts believe it is keen to avoid one for now as its fighters aid President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Opinion / Analysis
Israel’s real purpose in Gaza operation? To kill Arabs / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 July — The goal of Operation Protective Edge is to restore the calm; the means: killing civilians. The slogan of the Mafia has become official Israeli policy. Israel sincerely believes that if it kills hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, quiet will reign. It is pointless to destroy the weapons stores of Hamas, which has already proved capable of rearmament. Bringing down the Hamas government is an unrealistic (and illegitimate) goal, one that Israel does not want: It is aware that the alternative could be much worse. That leaves only one possible purpose for the military operation: death to Arabs, accompanied by the cheering of the masses. The Israel Defense Forces already has a “map of pain,” a diabolical invention that has replaced the no less diabolical “bank of targets,” and that map is spreading at a sickening pace. Watch Al Jazeera English, a balanced and professional television channel (unlike its Arabic sister station), and see the extent of its success … Retired generals and commentators on active duty compete to make the most monstrous proposal: “If we kill their families, that will frighten them,” explained Maj.Gen. (res.) Oren Shachor, without batting an eyelid. “We must create a situation such that when they come out of their burrows, they won’t recognize Gaza,” others said. Shamelessly, without question — until the next Goldstone investigation. A war with no goal is among the most despicable of wars; the deliberate targeting of civilians is among the most atrocious of means. Terror now reigns in Israel as well, but it’s unlikely there is a single Israeli who can imagine what it’s like for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants, whose already miserable lives are now totally horrific.
Israel showed restraint in Gaza before attacking? You must be kidding / Amira Hass
Haaretz 14 July — Our media ingrains warped terminology that bolsters the effort to portray Israel as a victim. Here are a few examples — “Gaza is an independent state.” It is not. It and the West Bank are a single territorial unit composed of two parts. According to the international community’s decisions, a state shall be established in these two parts, which are still under Israeli occupation, as are the Palestinians who live there … Meanwhile, Israel still controls the population registry for Gaza and the West Bank. Every Palestinian newborn in Gaza or the West Bank must be registered with the Israeli Interior Ministry (via the Coordination and Liaison Administration) to be able to obtain an ID card at age 16. The information typed into the cards is also in Hebrew. Have you ever heard of an independent state whose people must register in the “neighboring” (occupying and attacking) state — otherwise they won’t have documents and won’t officially exist? … “Israel has shown restraint.” Where does one begin to calculate restraint? Why not start with the fishermen who have been shot at, wounded and sometimes killed by the Israeli navy, even though the 2012 understandings talked about expanding the fishing zone? Why not with the farmers and metal scavengers near the separation barrier who have no other income and are shot at and sometimes wounded and killed by soldiers? Or the demolition of Palestinian houses supposedly for administrative reasons in the West Bank and Jerusalem? Don’t we call this restraint because this is violence that the Israeli media arrogantly overlooks? And why don’t we hear about the Palestinian restraint after Nadim Nawara and Mohammed Abu Dhaher were killed by Israeli soldiers at the Ofer checkpoint? “Restraint” is another term that expunges contexts and bolsters the sense of victimhood of the world’s fourth-mightiest military power “Israel supplies water, electricity, food and medicine to Gaza.” It does not. It sells 120 megawatts of electricity at full price, at most a third of demand. The bill is deducted from the customs fees that Israel collects for goods passing through its ports destined for the occupied territories. Food and medicine that Palestinian traders buy at full price enter Gaza through the crossings under Israel’s control … “Israel only pinpoints legitimate targets.” The houses of junior and senior Hamas members are being bombed — with and without children there — and the army says these are legitimate targets? Is there a Jewish home in Israel that does not shelter a commander who has helped plan or wage an offensive? Or a soldier who hasn’t shot at or will shoot at a Palestinian? “Hamas uses the population as human shields.” If I’m not mistaken, the Defense Ministry is in the heart of Tel Aviv, as is the army’s main “war room.” And what about the military training base at Glilot, near the big mall? And the Shin Bet headquarters in Jerusalem, on the edge of a residential neighborhood? And how far is our “sewing factory” in Dimona [nuclear weapons installation] from residential areas? Why is it all right for us and not for them? Just because they don’t have the phallic ability to bomb these places?
Tormenting Gaza / Richard Falk
Al Jazeera 13 July — Disappointing global response to Israeli aggression calls for more grassroots efforts to help Palestinian struggle — For the third time in the last six years, Israel has cruelly unleashed the full fury of its military machine against the defenceless 1.7 million people of Gaza, inflicting heavy civilian casualties and further devastation on the long besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip. With cynical disregard of the realities of this latest confrontation between Israel and Palestine, instead of condemning such recourse to massive violence as “aggression” that violates the UN Charter and fundamental international law principles, the reaction of western diplomats and mainstream media has perversely sided with Israel. From the UN Secretary-General to the president of the United States, the main insistence has been that Hamas must stop all rocket attacks while Israel is requested ever so politely to show “maximum restraint”. Up to now, the Israeli attacks have caused over a hundred deaths (more than half of whom are women and children) and several hundred injuries, while the reported firing of over hundreds of rockets from Gaza have yet to cause a single death or injury, although there are reports that nine Israelis sustained injuries while fleeing to shelters … An aspect of the distorted approach to responsibility for the violence in Gaza is the refusal of the West to take note of the connection between Protective Edge and the June 12 kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli settler teenage children and the surge of revenge violence, which culminated in the grisly murder of 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir Without ever disclosing evidence linking Hamas to such an atrocious crime, the Netanyahu government and Israeli media reacted hysterically, immediately inciting a vicious campaign against Hamas throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including air strikes in Gaza and provocatively calling upon the Israeli citizenry to strike back at the Palestinians … So far, Israel has met calls for restraint and a ceasefire with contempt. Rumours of Hamas’ receptivity to a ceasefire have been ignored. Israel’s leaders have responded defiantly, suggesting that Protective Edge will not cease until the Hamas infrastructure is destroyed, supposedly to ensure that no rockets will ever again be fired from Gaza. When Palestinian civilians are killed in the process of pursuing such an elusive goal, this is rationalised by Israeli officials as a regrettable side effect of what Israeli leaders are claiming to be a legitimate military undertaking. In a characteristic warped statement, Netanyahu declared: “We are not eager for battle, but the security of our citizens and children takes precedence over all else.” … While Gaza burns, the fiddlers at the UN content themselves by worrying about the text of a proposed Security Council resolution. Israel and the US were reported to be using all the leverage at their disposal to avoid condemnations of the Israeli air strikes on civilian targets in Gaza and even hoping that the final text of any resolution will include language about every sovereign state having the right to protect itself. It now seems that there will be no resolution, as the US is refusing to accept the language of the drafters.”