West Bank / Jerusalem / Historic Palestine
Following wave of protests, Israel arrests scores of Arab activists, minors
972blog 23 July by Hagar Sheizaf (Translated by Ofer Neiman) — Hundreds of Arab citizens of Israel have been detained in recent weeks, including dozens of minors. Abusive interrogations and preemptive arrests suggest that many of the tactics of occupation have crossed the Green Line — The murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir and the military onslaught in Gaza have brought about a wave of protest among Arab citizens of Israel. Reports on that wave should be supplemented by unprecedented data: more than 410 Arab citizens of Israel have been arrested on various grounds related to their participation in demonstrations since July 5, according to data provided by human rights NGO Adalah. Moreover, police statistics reveal that a significant portion of the detainees in the past week are minors. Fifty-four minors are reported to have been arrested in the past two weeks in Israel’s northern district alone, comprising one-third of all detainees in that district. Policemen outside the door “I have been active for 14 years and I have never seen such a wave of arrests of minors,” says Ward Yassin, 34, from Jdeideh el-Makr. “The feeling is that the police have no red lines.” Yassin himself was arrested on Monday, July 7, the day after a demo that took place in his town, attended by around 200 people who were protesting the murder of Abu Khdeir, as well as the assault on Gaza. The arrest of political activists like Yassin represents the second prominent group in the recent wave of arrests, of protest organizers and well-known activists in Arab towns. Dozens of demonstrations have taken place, receiving little media coverage, if any.
Arab Israelis clash with police over Gaza assault
NAZARETH, Israel (AFP) 21 July — Arab Israelis clashed with police in the northern city of Nazareth on Monday, police said, at the end of a protest against Israel’s deadly military strikes in the Gaza Strip. The clashes came as Nazareth and cities in the West Bank observed a general strike to mourn the victims of the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas — the bloodiest since 2009 — that has cost more than 500 Palestinian lives in two weeks. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said about 200 Arab Israelis in Nazareth clashed with security forces, who responded with water cannon and stun grenades, arresting 16 people after the 3,000-strong demonstration in Israel’s largest Arab city. Demonstrators held up placards reading “Israeli army commits genocide in Gaza”. The outburst of anger came after the bloodiest day of Israel’s two-week Gaza operation, when at least 140 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed on Sunday. Shops were shuttered across the West Bank and in Arab towns in Israel, as unions, nationalist and Islamist groups called for a general strike, a call supported by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Sunday declared three days of mourning. The PLO, which is dominated by Abbas’s Fatah party, also called for protests in the occupied West Bank. On Sunday night, around 4,000 demonstrators gathered in Ramallah and a large number in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Workplaces discipline Israeli Arabs for Facebook posts against Gaza incursion
Haaretz 23 July by Or Kashti, Eli Ashkenazi and Nir Hasson — Doctor, nurse and two municipal employees fired or suspended –– Lod Mayor Yair Revivo fired an Arab municipal worker Tuesday for expressing joy over the death of 13 Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, making her the fourth Israeli Arab in recent days to be disciplined at the workplace for posting comments on Facebook against Israel and its operation in Gaza. Some of the online commenters were accused of being traitors to their country … Three other Israeli Arabs – a doctor and nurse at two different hospitals and an employee of the Safed municipality — have been suspended for comments on social media over the past two days. An Arab nurse was suspended from the state-owned Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Tuesday for writing on his Facebook page that IDF soldiers are war criminals. “Even in times of peace, and not only during a justified war to defend the home front, the false accusation that IDF soldiers are war criminals is totally unacceptable, especially from an employee of the State of Israel,” said the hospital’s director general, Dr. Zeev Rotstein. Describing his hospital as “an island of tolerance,” Rotstein said couldn’t accept “such a crude attack on this value, especially at this time, when the entire hospital has mobilized to treat soldiers and civilians, as well as ill and injured Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.” … In Jerusalem, Dr. Haitham Rajabi, a specialist in emergency medicine, was suspended from Shaare Zedek Medical Center after calling Israel Defense Forces soldiers “murderers” on his Facebook page. Rajabi also posted a picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dressed as a vampire alongside a dead Palestinian child .. .Meanwhile, the Safed municipality suspended an Arab sanitation worker from the Galilee town of Deir al-Assad on Monday for writing on his Facebook page: “Zionism is the enemy of humanity. We are all Palestine — liberated Palestine.” He is awaiting a pre-dismissal hearing.
Arab elite, you’re Israel’s fig leaf: Don’t run away / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 23 July –We on the superficial left need you. Just stop protesting against the Gaza war and forget about the Nakba, O.K.? — Behold, our Arab dropouts are raising their hands in surrender. My colleague Sayed Kashua is fleeing to the United States; he’s sick of being “the eternal Arab.” The singer Mira Awad has told him to wait for her; she, too, has suddenly remembered that she has an Arab identity. The sparkling Hebrew in which Zohir Bahalul narrated soccer games hasn’t helped the sportscaster; he, too, has despaired. What’s happened to you, guys? An identity crisis? You’ve suddenly discovered that you’ll always be Arabs? That Jewish society will never accept you, no matter what academic degree, profession or status you have? That your Hebrew has ruined your Arabic? It’s taken you a long time, too long, to understand that you, with your success – the ones who “integrated,” who climbed with enormous effort into the top ranks, who supposedly met all the criteria society poses for success – were ultimately climbing toward a castle in the air … Your great crime was that in your success, you gave a certificate of good conduct to all those Jewish self-described liberals. Because of you, they can brandish the lie that they are warriors for freedom and equality, liberal representatives of a state in which even an Arab, it is said, can reach the top. You are our hollow identity card. And now, with no advance notice, you want to get up and leave? To abandon us in our just struggle for our liberal identity? After all, it’s thanks to you that we, the superficial left, can distinguish ourselves from the Liebermans. You’re our agenda; you’re our ammunition against the right. Please remain Jewish Arabs. You’re going anyway? We always knew you’d stick a knife in our backs. You are Arabs, after all.
Arab reporters come under attack from Israelis
Mondoweiss 22 July by Philip Weiss — Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Israeli government is seeking to ban Al Jazeera from reporting in Israel because it’s a branch of a “terrorist organization.” Today Al Jazeera’s offices were attacked in Gaza. Israel denies they were targeted. From the Guardian: “Israel‘s army has denied targeting the Gaza offices of al-Jazeera TV after the network’s correspondents reported that the building had come under fire on Tuesday. Staff in Gaza said their 11th floor bureau was hit by two Israeli bullets as a crew was preparing to broadcast live from the balcony. “Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building,” said Stefanie Dekker …
And that’s not all. The video above is of Feras Khatib, a BBC Arabic reporter. “Must see. BBC Arabic reporter attacked live on air by an Israeli near #Gaza border,” writes Jenan Moussa of Al Aan TV….
Journalists Syndicate condemns Israeli targeting of journalists, targeting of Al Jazeera bureau in central Gaza
RAMALLAH (WAFA)22 July — Palestinian Journalists Syndicate vehemently condemned Tuesday the ongoing targeting of journalists and media channel offices, and most recently the targeting of Al Jazeera Bureau in central Gaza. A group of journalists survived what would have been a certain death as Israeli airstrikes targeted the headquarters of journalists and reporters working for Al-Jazeera, Associated Press and Doha Center for Freedom of Press, located on the upper floor of al-Jala Building in Gaza City.
Al Jazeera reported Al-Jazeera reporter Stefanie Dekker as saying that: “Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building,” causing panic among the civilians living in the same building but no casualties were reported in the incident on Tuesday morning. The Gaza city building, known as Al-Jalaa, houses many apartments in addition to the Associated Press bureau and Doha Center for Media Freedom.
“We vehemently condemn such Israeli attacks against journalists in Gaza Strip and West Bank. These include injuring Palestine Today reporter Sami Thabet in a bombardment on Gaza-based Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital as well as shooting and injuring Palestine Today reporter Ahmad Al-Budeiri and Palestine TV reporter Sara Al- ‘Adra in Ramallah and Jerusalem,” said the syndicate in the press release.
Israeli shoots Palestinian dead in W. Bank: security source
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 21 July — An Israeli shot dead a Palestinian who had been throwing stones at his car north of Jerusalem in the West Bank, a Palestinian security source told AFP late Monday. The security source named the fatality as Mahmud Shawamreh, 21. He said the incident took place between Ar-Ram and the Hizma checkpoint, and the body was taken to Israel. Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Israeli army said: “The incident in which the Palestinian was killed during a violent riot near Ramallah is being investigated by the military police.” In a number of east Jerusalem neighbourhoods, Palestinians were throwing stones and firebombs at police, who attempted to disperse them, a spokeswoman said. Elsewhere in the West Bank, an Israeli was seriously wounded after a Palestinian opened fire at him from a traveling car, the army said. The army was searching the area of Rehelim junction, south of Nablus, for the perpetrator, it said in a statement.
Israeli seriously wounded in suspected shooting attack in Shomron
Ynet 22 July by Itay Blumenthal — A 25-year-old man was injured on Tuesday night at the Rechelim junction in Shomron in an apparent drive-by shooting. Yarkon Area Magen David Adom teams treated him at the scene and then evacuated him to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. A preliminary investigation by the IDF revealed that a terrorist had fired from a passing vehicle at the victim who was standing at the junction between Ariel and Tapuah Junction. The terrorist fled the scene and security forces launched a search after him.
Israel arrests 8 in West Bank and Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 July – Israeli forces Monday arrested five Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Jenin, whereas Israeli police arrested three in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). It said Israeli army arrested four Palestinians in Bethlehem, in addition to a local resident in Jenin City. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Israeli police arrested three Palestinians. Court sessions will be held today for all three.
To be noted, Israeli police arrested around 36 Israeli Palestinians (1948 Palestinians) during confrontations inside Israel, PPC quoted a local activist, adding that some of them were released while others’ detention was extended.
This brings the total number of Palestinians arrested since the beginning of the large-scale military and arrest campaign on June 12th to 1220 detainees.
6 Palestinian lawmakers sent to administrative detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 July — Six Palestinian lawmakers were transferred Monday to administrative detention by an Israeli court. The director of the Ahrar human rights center condemned the sentencing of the parliamentarians. Omar Abdulraziq, ex-minister of finance of Salfit, Riyad Ali al-Amla from Nablus, Ibrahim al-Dahbur, Khalid Iseed from Jenin, Fadel Hamdan from Ramallah and Muhammad al-Tall from Hebron were imprisoned. Another two prisoners from Ramallah were sentenced to administrative detention. They were Yahiya Hassan Ladawdah and Fawwaz Muhammad Ladawdah.
Rubber-coated and live bullet injuries, dozens of suffocation cases during clashed in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 22 July – Israeli forces crushed early Tuesday protests in solidarity with Gaza Strip in Hebron, shooting and injuring 25 Palestinians with live ammunition, while many others were shot and injured with rubber–coated steel bullets as well as causing dozens others to suffocate. Palestinians rallied in solidarity with Gaza Strip, condemning the ongoing Israeli military aggression and atrocities and massacres committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians in the besieged enclave. Israeli forces stormed Bab Az-Zawiya and Hebron Commercial Center via Al-Container checkpoint, where they took up positions on rooftops of Palestinians homes and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters …
Many Palestinians were treated at the scene while the rest were taken to Hebron hospitals for treatment, according to Palestinian medics. Medics described the injuries as moderate and noted that most of them were sustained in the lower extremities.
Palestinians shot and injured in clashes with Israel forces north of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 22 July – A Palestinian was shot and injured at dawn on Tuesday with live bullets in confrontations with the Israeli forces north of Hebron, according to WAFA correspondent. Clashes erupted in the Ras Al-Jura area, and Halhoul Bridge north of Hebron, causing wounds to a citizen by live ammunition. He was transferred by a Red Crescent ambulance to Al-Mizan hospital in Hebron. Meanwhile, two other citizens were shot and injured by rubber bullets, and dozen others suffocated due to inhaling tear gas
Israeli forces shoot, injure 3,many suffocate during Bethlehem clashes
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 22 July – Three Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, while several others suffocated during clashes that erupted Tuesday early night with Israeli forces at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, said witnesses. Clashes erupted in the vicinity of Bilal Bin Rabah mosque, where Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinians who rallied in solidarity with Gaza Strip
Medics: 5 Palestinians injured by live fire in Nablus clashes
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 July — Five Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli forces in Nablus early Tuesday, medical sources said. Medics told Ma’an that five young Palestinians were injured by live bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in ‘Askar refugee camp in eastern Nablus. The injured were taken by Red Crescent ambulances and private cars to hospital. One of the injured Palestinians was identified as Riyad Diebes, 22.
Nine Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces north of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 22 July — Nine Palestinians were shot and injured on Tuesday at dawn, during clashes with Israeli forces in northern Jerusalem town of al-Ram following Israeli forces shooting and killing of Mahmoud Hatem Al Shawamrah during clashes late on Monday. Our correspondent said that clashes broke out in Al-Ram junction; Israeli soldiers shot a barrage of live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets towards the citizens, which led to the shooting and injury of nine citizens, four of them were wounded by live ammunition and sustained moderate injuries, while the rest were wounded by rubber coated bullets and sustained minor injuries.They were taken to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment
Young Palestinian injured with live bullet in clashes at north entrance to Al-Bireh
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 22 July – A young man was injured with live bullets, late Monday night, during clashes with Israeli forces at Nablus-Ramallah Old St, according to WAFA correspondent. Clashes erupted near the settlement of ‘Beit El’, illegally built on al-Bireh land, shooting an injuring a young man with live ammunition in his foot. He was transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment.
Israeli forces arrest 12 Palestinians from Hebron and Bethlehem
HEBRON (WAFA) 22 July – Israeli forces Tuesday arrested twelve Palestinians, including an elderly [woman], from Hebron and Bethlehem, said security sources. Israeli forces raided Hebron city, where they ransacked the family home of Husam Al-Qawasmi, a prisoner detained in an Israeli jail, and arrested his 62-year old mother. They also arrested five Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their homes. They also broke into and blow up the front door of a local pharmacy and arrested its owner. Israeli troops also raided Bani Na‘im and Al-Fawwar refugee camp, located respectively to the east and southwest of the city, where they arrested four Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their homes. Meanwhile in Bethlehem, troops raided Taqouʻ, where they arrested a 17-year-old after breaking into and ransacking his family house
Israeli undercover forces nab Palestinian near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 22 July – Israeli undercover forces Tuesday nabbed a Palestinian from Tulkarem while he was at ‘Arraba junction to the southwest of Jenin, said security sources. Israeli undercover forces, backed by soldiers, abducted Sa‘id Abu Tahun, 21, at ‘Arraba junction at Jenin Nablus Street. Israel troops also broke into a Al-Bara’ gas station, where they seized surveillance cameras.
Video (Part 1): Tariq Abu Khdeir joins for an exclusive interview
MSNBC 21 July — Palestinian-American teen Tariq Abu Khdeir tells Chris Hayes about the moment his cousin disappeared in East Jerusalem before being burned alive in a revenge killing. His mother Suha is also included in the interview.
Video (Part 2) Teen: ‘They kept beating me and I was screaming’
MSNBC 21 July — Palestinian-American teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir tells Chris Hayes about the beating he suffered at the hands of Israeli police, which bystanders caught on tape. His mother Suha is also included in the interview.
20 Palestinians killed in Israeli assault on Gaza Wednesday morning
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 July — Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling killed 20 Palestinians across the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning as the military offensive entered its sixteenth day. More than 646 Palestinians — the vast majority of whom have been civilians, including more than 160 children — have been killed in the assault so far, while Israel has suffered 29 deaths, 27 of whom have been soldiers … During the offensive, more than 135,000 Gazans have fled their homes, seeking shelter in 69 schools run by UNRWA. Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra on Wednesday said that the evacuation of dead bodies and injured people had been very slow in a number of areas because Israeli forces had impeded the movement of ambulances and rescue teams … More than 4,000 Palestinians had also sustained injuries in the assault, he said … Israeli leaders on Tuesday hinted that the assault would not end until Hamas’ entire tunnel network had been destroyed, suggesting that the goals of the offensive had shifted from halting rocket fire to undermining the group’s military infrastructure more broadly. Hamas, meanwhile, has demanded that any ceasefire include the lifting of the Israeli blockade, which has been in place for the last seven years and includes Israeli control over all imports, exports, and movement of people in the tiny coastal enclave…
20 dead Wednesday morning … Palestinian medical sources said that 12-year-old Rabee Qasim was killed and four other people injured when an Israeli shell hit a cart pulled by a donkey in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Naser in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. Ashraf al-Qidra said that at least five people were killed in the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday as well….
PHOTOS: Another day of destruction, death, and displacement in Gaza
Activestills 23 July Photos by Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri Text by Keren Manor — The number of dead has reached at least 620 mostly civilian Palestinians and 31 Israelis, 29 of them soldiers. Another day in Gaza between bombed houses, destruction and displaced people … Members from the extended Bakr family stand outside their destroyed houses in As-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, July 22, 2014. Their cousins, who live in the same area, lost four children, Ahed (10), Zacharia (10) and Mohamed (9) when they were targeted by Israeli attacks while playing on the beach on July 16, 2014 … Palestinians sit inside central Gaza City’s Church of St. Porphyrius, where they find refuge, July 22, 2014. UNRWA states that they are sheltering more than 110,000 displaced Palestinians in UNRWA schools, but the total number is much higher.
Over 50 Palestinians killed as Israeli assault continues
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 July — At least 50 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Tuesday as Israel’s military assault entered its 15th day, bringing the total death toll to over 600 people since July 8. In Khan Younis, an Israeli airstrike targeting a motorcycle killed two Palestinians Tuesday evening. Mustafa Mohammed Fayyad, 24, Nour al-Islam Raed Abu Huwashel, 12, and an unidentified man were also killed in northern Gaza late Tuesday. Before that, Ahmad Issam Wishah, 29, Ahmad Kamil Abu Mgheiseb, 35, Raed Abdul Rahman Abu Mgheiseb, 35, and Ahmad Mohammad Ramadan, 30, were killed in central Gaza. Khalaf Atiyeh Abu Sneima, 18, and Khalil Atiyeh Abu Sneima, 20, were killed in eastern Rafah while Mohammad Jalal al-Jarf, 24, was killed in Khan Younis. Earlier, four members of the same family were killed in Gaza City. They were identified as Muhammad Shehadeh Hajjaj, 31, Fayzeh Saleh Hajjaj, 66, Rawan Ziad Hajjaj, 15, and Yousef Muhammed Hajjaj, 28. Two elderly women were killed in Rafah, southern Gaza. Medics identified them as Hakema Nafe Abu Odwan, 75, and Najah Nafe Abu Odwan, 85….
Children scarred by Gaza violence as entire families lost
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July by Charlie Hoyle — Children are suffering from the devastating consequences of escalating Israeli violence in the Gaza Strip, with entire families lost in single airstrikes and severe physical injuries likely to require long-term medical treatment. UNICEF estimates that 121 children have been killed since Israel’s assault began on July 8, with the death toll in Gaza now standing at over 500 Palestinians. In the past 24 hours, 28 children were killed – among them 20 in Gaza City’s besieged Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood alone. Over 80 of those killed are 12 or younger. An estimated one-third of all civilian casualties are children, UNICEF says .”This is the highest number (of child deaths) since Operation Cast Lead. It is a huge toll, and rising, and more worryingly, 76 children were killed in the past three days,” Ivan Karakashian, from Defense for Children International – Palestine Section, told Ma‘an …
On Monday, five members of the al-Yaziji family, nine members of the al-Qassas family, 11 members of the Siyam family at least 26 members of the Abu Jami family were killed in Israeli airstrikes. “There is no safe place for children at this moment, no safe havens to escape to. Israel says it is carrying out targeted operations, precision strikes, but it is very difficult to see that when you look at the mounting casualties of women and children,” Karakashian says. With over half of Gaza’s population under 18, children have the highest likelihood of being killed by Israeli military attacks.
Karakashian says nearly all children in Gaza are in a state of “shock and horror,” barely able to process the psychological trauma they have witnessed. “One day children have a large family and the next day they are orphans. The practical implications of this will affect them forever. Children grow up in a environment where they realize they have no security in their own homes. Even their bedrooms are not safe anymore.”
Monica Awad, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, told Ma‘an that 72,000 children are in need of immediate psycho-social support, but the five teams available in Gaza are facing severe restrictions on movement amid the threat of being targeted by Israel’s military.
Over 904 children have been injured since Israel’s military operation began. Shrapnel wounds, severe burns, and the loss of limbs account for a high rate of critical injuries which will require long-term attention and severely impact the victims’ future quality of life.
Awad says that children are also suffering severe psycho-social distress and are afraid, angry, crying and constantly clinging to their parents. Maintaining a secure family life has become an impossible task, with 2,200 family homes destroyed or damaged and 100,000 people displaced and seeking refuge in UNRWA facilities. Adults are also overwhelmed by trying in vain to protect their loved ones … “It’s clear from the insane amount of children killed over the past three days that children are bearing the brunt of Israel’s offensive,” Karakashian, the DCI official, says. “To be honest, we have never seen it this bad for children.”
PHOTOS: A Gaza funeral for 26 members of one family
Activestills 22 July Photos by Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri Text b: Ryan Rodrick Beiler —In just one example of the ongoing Israeli tactic of targeting civilian homes, 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family were killed in a single strike that also killed four others. Fifteen of those killed were children. UPDATE: The Al-Mezan Center for Human Right organization reports: “At approximately 7:50 pm on Sunday, 20 July 2014, Israeli warplanes bombarded the house of Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’. The three-story-house is inhabited by five families and is located in the Bani Suhaila town, east of Khan Younis district in the south of the Gaz Strip. The house, which was attacked without prior warning, was completely destroyed in the attack. Civil defense and ambulances crews rushed to the destroyed house to uncover the bodies buried under the rubble. It took them until the next day, Monday 21 July 2014, to uncover the victims. Medics found 26 bodies, 18 children and five women. Only three residents survived, and they sustained with varying injuries.”
Israel targets 50 mosques since start of Gaza offensive
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israel has destroyed or severely damaged over 50 mosques since its assault on Gaza began, a Hamas official said Tuesday. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments in Gaza, Hassan al-Saifi, said over 50 mosques have been targeted. Israel does not distinguish between targeting militants, civilians, hospitals, mosques, and cemeteries, al-Saifi told Ma‘an, adding that he is afraid that schools may be targeted in the coming days. “People are buried in mass graves or in used family graves,” he said, adding that hospital morgues can no longer accommodate the growing number of casualties. Cemeteries are nearly impossible to reach due to heightened insecurity, he said.
Several injured as Israel shells area of historic al-Shamaa mosque
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 July — Several Palestinians were injured on Wednesday after Israeli forces shelled the area around a 700-year-old mosque in central Gaza, medical sources said. The mosque, known as al-Shamaa (“The Candle”), is located in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City and was reportedly shelled just before noon. Also known as Bab ad-Darum, the mosque is located in a dense area near Gaza’s historic Old City that has been bombed numerous times by Israeli forces.
Gaza girls flee shells in Shuja‘iyeh, killed in place deemed safer
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — A Palestinian couple from Shuja‘iyeh decided to leave their home several days ago and bring their family to central Gaza City, thinking it would be a safer place. However, four sisters from the family were killed when their grandparents’ home where they were taking refuge was hit by Israeli artillery shells. “They fled the shelling in Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood, to their grandfather’s house in Thalathini, but shells followed them there,” the bereaved father said. “My daughters were playing on the roof of their grandfather’s house when I was telling my wife on the phone that we should go back home,” father Yasser al-Qassas said. The call ended all of a sudden, he said. “When I redialed there was no answer.” “I telephoned one of my wife’s brothers and he didn’t answer either. A cousin of mine then answered my call to say that my daughters had been killed.” “The blood of my four daughters and all members of al-Qassas family were sacrifices for Palestine,” he added. Nine members of the al-Qassas family were killed on Monday in Israeli shelling.
UN school sheltering Gaza displaced hit by Israel shells: UNRWA
GAZA CITY (AFP) 22 July — A United Nations school sheltering displaced Palestinians in central Gaza came under Israeli fire on Tuesday as a team was inspecting damage from a day earlier, a UN official said. The official said a team, with Israeli clearance, was at the school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA in Al-Maghazi when Israeli tank shelling resumed, hitting the building on Tuesday afternoon … He said that there were holes blown through the walls of the school compound and that the gates had been blown off but no one was injured in the shelling. The school has been evacuated and UNRWA has submitted a formal letter about the shelling to Israel, he added. UNRWA is sheltering more than 100,000 people at more than 60 of its schools throughout the Gaza Strip.
Israel soldier ‘kidnapped’ by Hamas is dead
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 July — The Israeli army on Tuesday confirmed that a soldier who Hamas militants claimed they had kidnapped is dead and his body remains unaccounted for. The army named the soldier, whose body is still missing, as Oron Shaul, two days after Hamas said they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier of the same name. A spokeswoman said Israeli pathologists had identified 12 out of 13 soldiers killed in Gaza over the weekend but that 21-year-old Shaul’s body was still unaccounted for. Publication of the name suggested Hamas was likely to be holding the soldier’s remains, although it was not clear if the entire body or only part of it was missing … A spokeswoman flatly denied any possibility that the soldier was alive … The army refused to confirm or deny Hamas’ claim on Sunday night, saying it was investigating, although Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said the rumours of an abduction were “untrue”.
Israel using flechette shells in Gaza
JERUSALEM (The Guardian) 20 July by Harriet Sherwood — The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza. Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuza‘a, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Nahla Khalil Najjar, 37, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture [photo above] of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. “As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes… The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.” The legality of flechette munitions was upheld by the Israeli supreme court in 2002 … The IDF has deployed flechette shells in Gaza and Lebanon before. B’Tselem has documented the deaths of nine Palestinians in Gaza from flechettes in 2001 and 2002. Flechettes have also killed and wounded dozens of civilians, including women and children, in conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
More than 20 members of one family killed in Gaza strike
The Guardian 21 July by Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem; Peter Beaumont in Gaza City; Ian Black — A hospital was shelled, killing and injuring staff and patients, and up to 28 members of one family died in an air strike as Gaza endured another day of relentless bloodshed on Monday. As heavy shelling and fighting on the ground continued, the US president, Barack Obama, restated his call for an immediate ceasefire, saying: “We don’t want to see any more civilians killed.” He said he had authorised his secretary of state, John Kerry, to do “everything he can to help facilitate a cessation of hostilities” in a sign that international diplomacy had been galvanised by the weekend carnage in Shujai‘iya. Kerry pledged yesterday that the US would provide $47m (£28m) in humanitarian aid to help Palestinians. He said: “We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel‘s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself.”
In Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, al-Aqsa hospital became the third to be struck in the 14-day conflict when three shells slammed into the intensive care unit, surgical and administrative areas. Five people were killed and 70 wounded, including about 30 medics, according to Gaza health officials. Ambulances tried to evacuate patients but were forced to turn back by continued shelling. Israel has claimed that Hamas hides weapons in hospitals. Further south, in Khan Younis, an extended family was wiped out in an air strike on a house. The number of dead was put at between 24 and 28. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said another 10 people were killed in a single air strike in Rafah, including four young children and a baby. Save the Children said that, on average, seven had been killed every day during the conflict. “For many children, this is the third war in six years that they are going through,” said the charity’s David Hassell.
Darkness falls on Gaza
GAZA CITY (New York Times) 22 July by Mohammed Omer — RAMADAN, when night descends, is usually a joyous time. Friends and family gather to break their fast at the iftar meal. Not this year. Nights are the worst. That is when the bombing escalates. Nowhere is safe. Not a mosque. Not a church. Not a school, or even a hospital. All are potential targets. On Monday, the Israeli military fired artillery rounds at Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, claiming to target a cache of anti-tank missiles. Dr. Khalil Khattab, a surgeon, was operating on a patient when the first shell struck. He ran to the floors below to discover at least four dead and dozens of colleagues — doctors, nurses, orderlies and administrators — injured. The medical staff had become patients … Here in Gaza City, the electricity was gone; it was dark everywhere. The water supply was foul, food was rancid, and fear permeated the summer night. On Eighth Street, I visited the al-Baba family. For this family of 15, a corrugated tin roof was all that stood between them and the bombs. Hani al-Baba, 23, heard the hum of a drone. Some are for surveillance, some are weaponized. Which is which, one never knows. The sound was enough to send the children scurrying into corners, trembling and praying. Nervously, Hani scanned the night sky. Israeli strikes have taken out entire families. In a town near Khan Younis on Sunday, more than 20 members of the Abu Jameh family died when their home was hit. For safety, Hani’s father split the family into different rooms — a scene played out in nearly every home in Gaza, a grim shell game of family members. Suddenly, a bomb exploded in the field behind the al-Babas’ house: a boom followed by a flash of light. Everyone screamed. The ground shook, the air seemed to implode, sucking the breath from lungs. Then it was dark again. Why this area was being bombed was unclear. There were no “terrorists,” no rockets. It was a neighborhood of families, scared and cowering in the dark … In January 2008, barriers along the Gaza-Egypt border were knocked down. Thousands of Gazans poured into Egypt to acquire much needed supplies. I remember the relief within the Palestinian community. This transient glimpse of freedom was a treat. A neighbor of mine was simply delighted to drink a Coca-Cola. The freedom to move, fresh food and clean water, and the simple pleasure of sipping a soda, this is what Gazans need: the normal life everyone else takes for granted. During the first days the border was open, Hamas suspended rocket attacks from Gaza. Israeli politicians should take note.
Gaza: Nowhere to go
GAZA CITY (IRIN) 21 July — Umm Mustafa, 50, is no stranger to the pain of leaving her home behind. Like many Gazans, the mother of eight finds herself sleeping restlessly in a UN shelter for the third time in eight years. But this time the displacement is worse than ever. Her husband finds it hard to walk properly having suffered a heart attack shortly after the last Israeli attacks in 2012, and she herself has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Yet as destruction returned to her hometown of Beit Lahia nine days ago, the family packed up once again. “With every war on Gaza, we are forced to leave [our homes],” she said wearily as she recalled her trip to Gaza City. “There was continuous bombing around our house and the Israelis threatened the residents in our area. We wanted at least to save our lives.” The Israeli armed forces stress that they have warned, rather than threatened, Gazans to vacate areas they intend to target. They are now sleeping in a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The conditions are hardly suitable for the ill. Her spacious family home has been replaced by a 30 square-metre classroom she shares with 40 members of her extended family. They have brought with them a few blankets and pillows, but there is hardly space for them all to lie down. And every hour, more arrive.
Two IDF soldiers killed overnight
Ynet 23 July by Yoav Zitun — Capt. Levitas and First Lieutenant Cohen killed in Gaza, raising death toll of soldiers to 29; over 5,000 attend funeral of lone French soldier who also killed in fighting — Capt. Levitas, an Armored Corps company commander from Jerusalem, was killed by sniper fire in Gaza. He moved to Israel from Tashkent, Uzbekistan when he was one, and according to his family he was planning a military career. In the last 24-hours some twenty soldiers were wounded, three in serious condition and nine moderately. First Lieutenant Cohen also served in the Armored Corps, but as platoon commander.
Two Israeli civilians have also been killed by Palestinian rocket fire that has reached deep into Israel, disrupting daily life and spreading panic despite the success of Iron Dome.
Hamas to the world: Gaza has decided to break its siege
Middle East Monitor 22 July — Deputy Head of Hamas’s Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh addressed the world on Monday, saying: “Gaza has decided to break its siege with blood, steadfastness and resistance.” Israel has been imposing a strict siege of Gaza for about eight years, and yet the international community and most Arab countries have done nothing to challenge this illegal blockade. Speaking on Al-Aqsa television, Haniyeh stressed that the Palestinians in Gaza had decided not to retreat from their position and reaffirmed the demands of the Palestinian fighters: “Stopping the Israeli aggression, lifting the siege with all of its consequences, releasing all prisoners freed in the 2011 exchange and guaranteeing that there will be no repetition of Israeli aggression.” Haniyeh pointed out that: “These are consistent and just humanitarian demands, in keeping with international law and the previous agreements.” He called for all free nations to support the demands of the people in the Gaza Strip until the end of the bloodbath in Gaza.
No ceasefire without justice for Gaza
GAZA STRIP (Electronic Intifada) 22 July — As academics, public figures and activists witnessing the intended genocide of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, we call for a ceasefire with Israel only if conditioned on an end to the blockade and the restoration of basic freedoms that have been denied to the people for more than seven years. Our foremost concerns are not only the health and safety of the people in our communities, but also the quality of their lives – their ability to live free of fear of imprisonment without due process, to support their families through gainful employment, and to travel to visit their relatives and further their education … Charges in the media and by politicians of various stripes that accuse Hamas of ordering Gaza residents to resist evacuation orders, and thus use them as human shields, are untrue. With temporary shelters full and the indiscriminate Israeli shelling, there is literally no place that is safe in Gaza. Likewise, Hamas represented the sentiment of the vast majority of residents when it rejected the unilateral ceasefire proposed by Egypt and Israel without consulting anyone in Gaza. We share the broadly held public sentiment that it is unacceptable to merely return to the status quo – in which Israel strictly limits travel in and out of the Gaza Strip, controls the supplies that come in (including a ban on most construction materials), and prohibits virtually all exports, thus crippling the economy and triggering one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the Arab world. To do so would mean a return to a living death.
all the dead in Gaza will be missed by someone, but the grief for these two happens to be expressed in English so the articles are included
Untimely death of young member of Palestinian Youth: Together for Change project
American Friends Service Committee 21 July — With heavy hearts AFSC staff around the world mourns the untimely death of Abdullah Mansor Abu Amara, killed on Sunday July 20th by Israeli military forces in Gaza. Abdullah, 22 years old was an active member of AFSC’s Palestinian Youth: Together for Change project in Gaza and had plans of becoming a lawyer. Abdullah is one of hundreds killed in recent weeks. Please take action today and help AFSC to call for real peace. http://bit.ly/ceasefirenow
A devastating loss
Palestinian History Tapestry Project 21 July by Jan Chalmers — We learned last night that Samar AlHallaq, our assistant coordinator in Gaza was killed, along with her two young sons aged four and five, by Israeli bombing in Shija‘iyah. She was carrying her third child. Her husband Hassan is critically ill in hospital. Several other members of their family were killed in the same attack. We are heartbroken beyond belief.
Al-Qassam Brigades: From one pistol to an organised army
Middle East Monitor 20 July — Before 1990, the name of Hamas’s military wing was unknown. That year, however, witnessed a quantum leap in the military performance of the movement, which founded its own military force, the “Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades”, named after the martyred Syrian resistance fighter who was shot dead by British soldiers in the Palestinian town of Ya’bad near Jenin in 1935 … After its modest foundation with only a handful of fighters, the brigades now fill the Gaza Strip; the extent of their presence in the West Bank is not known. According to a bulletin issued by Al-Qassam on its 20th anniversary, the number of members in Gaza alone exceeds 10,000. It is thus a real army with military formations of individuals, companies, battalions and brigades … The Sderot settlement was the first target of the locally-produced Palestinian rocket launched by Al-Qassam on Friday 26 October, 2001. The rocket was named “Qassam 1” and was described by Time Magazine as “the primitive rocket that may transform the Middle East.” It was developed rapidly into “Qassam 2”, which debuted in February 2002. The resistance group has expanded the range of its rockets to over 80 kilometres. The M75 was used in Israel’s war against Gaza in 2012; Israel’s latest assault and invasion of Gaza this month has seen the R160 rocket used in retaliation, aimed at Haifa. In a remarkable development, Al-Qassam announced on 14 July its ability to manufacture 3 drones for use in special operations against Israel … The current leader of Al-Qassam Brigades is Mohamed Al-Deif. Israel has placed him on its “bank of targets to be liquidated” and has tried to assassinate him on more than one occasion. He stands accused of being the mastermind behind all key Al-Qassam operations.
Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations
Amnesty International 21 July — The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling of a hospital, add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation, said Amnesty International. The third floor of the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah was struck by Israeli shelling, killing four people and wounding dozens, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson. “Today’s attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital is the latest in a series of attacks on and near medical facilities in Gaza, which have been struggling to cope with thousands of injured people since the Israeli offensive began on 8 July,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. “There can be no justification for targeting medical facilities at any time. Attacks on medical facilities underline the need for a prompt, impartial international investigation mandated by the UN.” Last week, the al-Wafa rehabilitative hospital in Shuja‘iyyeh was severely damaged after being attacked twice by Israeli forces.
Emergency operation room’s site report on Gaza July 21
GAZA (WAFA) 22 July – Up to July 21 (16:00 local time), the death toll has reached 558 (Male: 438, Female: 120) (of which 149 are children, and 28 are elderly) and over 3,504 persons injured (Male: 2,351, Female: 1,153) (of which 1,100 are children, 144 are elderly), according to an emergency report published Monday by The Ministry of Health information center in Gaza … The report shows that over 31% of Palestinians killed over the period are children and elderly and that over 35% of the injured are children and elderly … The report also shows that 5 hospitals and 6 PHC clinics (4 MoH, 2 UNRWA) were damaged, 13 facilities were closed, 4 ambulances were damaged and 23 health personnel were injured. In addition, 3 health personnel; 1 pharmacist, 1 paramedic and 1 medical manager, died after Israeli airstrikes hit sites in their immediate vicinity. In particular to Al-Aqsa Hospital, the report room showed that the third and fourth floors, housing and emergency department, orthopedics department, surgical department and the intensive care unit (ICU) were all destroyed. Operating theaters had to cease work because of the lack of oxygen … The report showed that 41 patients were referred, including 29 patients to Egypt and 12 patients to Jordan.
Regarding immediate needs, the report also showed that there is an urgent need for 71 items of drugs and 20 items of disposals as well as for psycho-tropic drugs, especially emergency drug kits to be used for patients with mental illness who have relapses and families in especially severe circumstances of forced displacement, trauma and anxiety. It also showed in this regard that there is an urgent need for 8 anesthesia machines, 10 ventilators, 5 electrosurgical units, 20 vital sign monitors, ECG machines, 5 defibrillator machines with a total estimated coast of $742,500 … As for urgently needed medical missions, the report listed neurosurgery (cranial and spinal cord) specialists, anesthesiologists, plastic surgery specialists, war general surgery specialists, advanced orthopedic specialists and burn management specialists.
New UK emergency support for civilians caught up in Gaza violence
LONDON (WAFA) 22 July – The UK will provide more than £5 million in emergency support including health care, clean water, blankets and cooking equipment to help tens of thousands of people affected by the violence in Gaza, Monday said the UK’s Department of International Development. The statement said the grant “includes £2 million in new funding announced by Prime Minister David Cameron today for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) Flash Appeal. This will provide emergency assistance to more than 84,000 people who have been driven out of their homes.” “A further £3 million in funding will be brought forward to help the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) respond to the worsening situation and funding will also be reallocated to help rebuild UNRWA schools that are being used as shelters,” it added.
US grants $47m in humanitarian assistance to Gaza
WASHINGTON, DC (WAFA) 22 July – The United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Tuesday that the United States will provide US$47 million to help address the humanitarian situation in Gaza, according to a fact sheet published by the US Department of State.
UNRWA reiterates its appeal to provide urgent cash assistance to Gaza
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 22 July — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in a statement Tuesday, reiterated its appeal to provide urgent cash assistance to the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza in light of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the strip sine July 8 …UNRWA has appealed for US$ 115 million in funds to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza. Palestinians in the West Bank, both individuals and institutions, have been eager to send support to their compatriots in the Gaza Strip, and their generosity is a welcome expression of solidarity and support, it said.
The most urgent need for both the civilians of Gaza and UNRWA is for cash, being the most flexible and adaptable means to provide assistance to those in need. Donations make it possible for UNRWA to procure food and non-food items, provide refugees with urgent cash assistance and undertake repair and maintenance works on their homes and on the schools and installations now providing shelter. Cash donations can be made online at www.unrwa.org/donate.
PLO backs Hamas’ Gaza truce demands
Reuters 23 July — Palestinian decision-making body decides to back Hamas’ demands, says ‘stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade on Gaza are the demands of the entire Palestinian people’; possibly clearing way for ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — … In a move that could effectively turn Abbas into the main interlocutor for a Gaza truce, his umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Wednesday formally supported core conditions set by the Hamas-led fighters. “The Gaza demands of stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade in all its forms are the demands of the entire Palestinian people and they represent the goal that the Palestinian leadership has dedicated all its power to achieve,” senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said in Ramallah, the hub city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where Abbas is based. “We are confident Gaza will not be broken as long as our people are standing beside it to support it through all possible means until the invaders understand that our great people inside the homeland and outside will not leave Gaza alone.”
Rula Jebreal discusses the Gaza ‘media war’
MSNBC 22 July — One day after Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal called MSNBC’s coverage of the conflict in Gaza “disgustingly biased,” she sits down with Chris Hayes to debate the media’s role in the conflict.
US, European airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket hits near airport
AP 22 July — Transportation Ministry urges airlines to reverse decision, saying flights in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport are safe and guarded — Several North American and European airlines have cancelled their flights in and out of Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near the airport Tuesday. Shortly after Delta Air Lines , American Airlines Group and United Airlines canceled their flights, the American FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) issued a notice prohibiting all US airlines of flying in or out of Ben-Gurion Airport for a period of up to 24 hours.
SodaStream sacks 60 West Bank workers
Tablet 21 July by Batya Ungar-Sargon — After employees said they didn’t get enough food after Ramadan fast ended — As fighting rages in Gaza, a controversy of a different sort is brewing in the West Bank. SodaStream, the at-home carbonation system manufacturer that has been both condemned for operating a factory in the West Bank and lauded for its treatment of Palestinian employees, has reportedly fired 60 of them over a dispute concerning the food that workers received to break their Ramadan fast. Haaretz reports that after night-shift workers informed management that they weren’t being provided with enough food to eat after their 16-hour fast ended — the factory observes Jewish dietary laws and workers are prohibited from bringing their own food — they were, according to their union’s representative, summarily fired.
WATCH: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
Mondoweiss 22 July by Alex Kane — Nine Jewish activists protesting the Israeli assault on Gaza were arrested today after occupying the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) office in midtown Manhattan. The protesters, members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Jews Say No! (JSN), stood in the office for an hour, holding a banner, singing songs in Hebrew and English and reading the names of the more than 600 dead who have been killed as a result of the Israeli attack. The activists demanded that the FIDF stop funding the Israeli army. FIDF is a multi-millionaire dollar non-profit organization that collects funds to send to the Israeli military. Signs taped to the JVP and JSN members read: “Jews say no to the ground invasion of Gaza.” The demonstrators were arrested by dozens of New York Police Department members—including members of the Counter-Terror Unit–when they refused to leave the premises. They are expected to be charged with criminal trespassing. The demonstrators were taken to a precinct in Manhattan. “We are here to demand as American Jews that the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces stop funding Israel’s massacres in Gaza,” Alana Krivo-Kaufman, JVP’s Northeast regional organizer, said while at the office. She was one of the nine arrested. Joining her was Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s executive director, Brandon Davis, an activist and contributor to Mondoweiss, and others. The act of civil disobedience came amidst a wave of global protests against the Israeli attack.
Opinion / Analysis
Israel’s attack on Gaza is revenge for the Palestinians’ refusal to accept occupation / Amira Hass
Haaretz 23 July –Say what you will about Hamas’ rocket fire, at least they managed to scratch the surface of Israel’s faith in the normalcy of its domination of another people –There is method in madness, and the Israeli insanity, which refuses to grasp the extent of its revenge in Gaza, has very good reasons for being the way it is. The entire nation is the army, the army is the nation, and both are represented by a Jewish-democratic government and a loyal press, and the four of them work together to stave off the great betrayal: the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the normalcy of the situation. The Palestinians are disobedient. They refuse to adapt. This is after we thought it was working for us, with VIP treatment for a few of them and an opportunity for swollen bank accounts for some, and with enormous donations from the United States and Europe that nurture the pockets of imaginary Palestinian rule … And boy, are you competent when you want to be. The armed Hamas operatives who emerged from the tunnel shaft on Kibbutz Nir Am on Monday were dressed as Israeli soldiers. Haaretz’s Amos Harel writes that in the first moments, the field commanders were not sure whether they were soldiers or terrorists. “Finally, thanks to an aerial photograph taken by a drone, they were found to be Hamas operatives,” writes Harel. “They were carrying Kalashnikov rifles, which the Israeli army does not use.” So the photographs taken by the drone can be very precise when its operators wish. It can discern whether there are children on the seashore or on the roof — children who, even for the legal acrobats in the Justice Ministry and the army, are not a justifiable target for our bombs. The drone can also discern that a rescue team has arrived to pull out wounded people, that families are fleeing their homes. All this can be shown in a close-up photograph taken by a drone, at high enough resolution that the operators of the bombs and the shells have no reason to press the “kill” button on their keyboards. But for some reason, the eye of the drone that can tell the difference between various makes of rifles cannot tell that this figure over here is a child, and that is a mother or a grandmother. Instead, all are given a death sentence. The Israeliness of the moment is like that drone. It chooses to see blearily. It clings closely to the good, comfortable life of a master nation, unwilling to allow its subjects to interfere with it.
How will I ever look at a Gaza beach the same again? / Omar Ghraieb
GAZA STRIP (The Electronic Intifada) 20 July — I used to look out of my bedroom window and stare at the sky at different times of the day, and lose myself in my dreams and the vastness of the skies above. I would think about my life, where I would be years from now, what I would want to accomplish, and so many other important but trivial thoughts. However, most importantly, I would imagine traveling to different countries and cities around the world. My bedroom window was like the window to the universe. Through it, I imagined the next adventure on which I would embark. Right now, the sight of my bedroom window makes me cringe.
I have been housebound for more than ten days, a little prison located inside the biggest open-air prison on earth — besieged Gaza. Due to regular nearby explosions, I have been told by my family not to go near the window. It has started to look like it has prison bars. And when I get close to it for some fresh air, I start wondering about completely different questions, such as: When will I ever see my friends again? When will I see Gaza’s beach? When will I visit my favorite places in Gaza? Will I survive to dream through this window again? … As much as I was dying to go out, to breathe, to see the sky and the beach, to see any of my friends, to see the streets, I realized that I was being treated like a prisoner and a lab rat — both at the same time. I am being confined and controlled. I am being told when I am allowed to leave and when I should return to lock myself back home and wait till we get bombed and killed again. It felt like a scam, a humanitarian scam in that we need to stock on up medicine and food, which I understand. How can I ever look at the beach the same when those little Baker angels played football on the beach in the early morning, and then ran for their lives only to be shelled and killed by Israel? For playing football. Isn’t it enough that it took us years to forget the Ghalia family massacre on a Gaza beach years ago? Now we have a new massacre that reminds us of the old ones.