West Bank / Jerusalem / ‘1948 area’
110 injured, 12 detained in clashes at Aqsa compound
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — Dozens of Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem after clashes broke out with Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City on Friday amid heightened tensions after the Israeli invasion of Gaza the day before. Dozens suffered bruises, fractures, and cuts in clashes that broke out in the holy compound as Israeli forces raided the area firing stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, and assaulted paramedics and journalists who were forced out of the compound during the clashes. Medics told Ma‘an that more than 110 injured arrived at the Al-Aqsa clinic, a number of whom were transferred to hospitals. Al-Aqsa director Omar al-Kiswani, and the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem minister Adnan al-Husseini were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets in the foot and thigh respectively. The Islamic endowments board director Abdulatheem Salhab and Fayez an-Obaidi were shot with rubber bullets in the chest. A total of nine people were taken to Makassed hospital, director of the Red Crescent ambulance service Ayman Abu Ghazala said. Abu Ghazala said that Israeli forces used a new type of rubber-coated steel bullets, replacing the old “blue type” with a new “black type” that causes cuts. One of the injured was shot with a rubber bullet near the lungs which caused him to bleed and vomit blood, and he was also suffering from bruising in the ribs when he was brought to the clinic. He was subsequently taken to a hospital in serious condition. An elderly man was injured with a stun grenade that hit him near the eye, and another was hit with a grenade splinter in the chest. Three women, meanwhile, suffered fractured toes and were taken to a hospital. Five others suffered from various head injuries.
Israeli police ransack Tariq Abu Khdeir family home and arrest relatives in apparent revenge raid
Mondoweiss 18 July by Max Blumenthal — Just hours after 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir left for Ben Gurion International Airport to return home to Tampa, Florida, Israeli police raided and ransacked the home of his family in the Shufat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The police arrested Abu Khdeir’s uncle and cousins without charges. The Israeli motive appears to have been revenge for the family’s role in publicizing CCTV footage of Abu Khdeir’s brutal beating at the hands of Israeli police, and their public campaign to secure his return to the US. Abu Khdeir had been jailed without charges after being beaten inches from his life during rioting in Shufat in protest of the murder of his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, by Israeli nationalists seeking vengeance. Footage of the beating was aired on news outlets around the world: By beseeching a shockingly obstinate Florida congressional delegation to agitate for Abu Khdeir’s release and return home, his family generated further media attention, throwing the Israeli government on the defensive. Under pressure from the US State Department, Israeli police finally released the brutalized teen on July 16. According to Hassan Shibly, the director of CAIR-Florida and legal counsel to the Abu Khdeir family, Tariq Abu Khdeir headed for the airport with his parents at 6 AM on July 17. Back in Shufat, the day passed without any disturbances. At 1 AM, however, a squadron of Israeli police burst into the Abu Khdeir family home in Shufat and ransacked the place, smashing furniture and emptying cabinets with reckless abandon. The police left with Tariq Abu Khdeir’s 59-year-old uncle, Iesa, in handcuffs, along with his cousins Musaa and Anen.
Israel recognizes slain Jerusalem youth as ‘victim of terrorism’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — The Israeli Ministry of Defense on Thursday recognized a slain Palestinian youth from Jerusalem as a “victim of terrorism” after his brutal murder by right-wing Jewish extremists. Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was forced into a car near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shu‘fat, covered into gasoline, and burned to death by three Jewish youths on July 2, in what was suspected to be a revenge attack for the kidnapping and death of three Jewish youths the month before. The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it recognized the “murder … as a terrorist attack.” “The decision was made as a result of the indictment brought today against the defendants in the murder of the youth, and the findings from the investigation which point to the nationalistic motive of his murder,” the statement said … As a resident of East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967 but which the country considers part of its territory since a 1980 annexation not recognized by the international community, Abu Khdeir holds Israeli residency but not citizenship. He is one of the few Palestinians recognized as a “victim of terrorism” by Israel, as the majority of anti-Palestinian violence in the West Bank or Gaza goes unreported or prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Suspect in Abu Khdeir case allegedly tried to kill daughter before murder
Jerusalem Post 14 July by Daniel K. Eisenbud — The oldest of the three suspects who confessed to the brutal revenge slaying of a Palestinian teenager, which helped trigger a week of rioting and Israeli- Gazan rocket exchanges, may attempt to plead temporary insanity … The identities of the suspects, remanded by Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court pending a formal indictment, have still not been released. Meanwhile, it has also been reported that the 29-year-old suspect, facing the gravest allegations, may plead temporary insanity, stemming from ongoing mental illness … In a further development, according to numerous unconfirmed reports, the main suspect in the investigation attempted to kill his own daughter weeks before murdering the Arab teen, but was stopped by his wife.
36 Palestinians detained in Jerusalem, as 2-week total tops 200
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces detained 36 Palestinians across East Jerusalem early Thursday morning, as the total number arrested in the city over the last two weeks hit 201. Israeli raids on Thursday occurred in the neighborhoods of Umm Tuba, Silwan, and ‘Issawiya, while Israeli forces said they detained three men in the Old City as well because they had allegedly assaulted a Jewish man … The statement said that 201 East Jerusalemites have been detained in the last two weeks, 45 of whom have been indicted. The rest are being held without trial in a policy known as administrative detention.
16 arrested at Gaza solidarity rally in Haifa
[with photos] HAIFA (Ma’an) 19 July — Israeli police arrested 16 Palestinian citizens of Israeli after they took part in a rally in solidarity with Gaza in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. The rally began at Abbas street halfway up Mount Carmel and continued towards the German Colony in central Haifa, before protesters were stopped by Israeli police on horseback and riot police.
Israel to demolish 3 homes of Hebron men suspected of killing teens
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli forces on Tuesday delivered demolition orders to the families of two Palestinians in Hebron Israel accuses of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers. More than a week ago, Israeli forces partly demolished two of the houses, which belonged to Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan al-Qawasmi. The commander of Israeli forces in the West Bank, who signed the decision, gave the families two days for demur. Separately, Israeli forces handed a demolition order to family of Husam Ali al-Qawasmi in the Wadi Abu Kteila neighborhood of Hebron. Israel has also accused al-Qawasmi of involvement in the abduction and killing of the three teens. He has been detained for over a week. Al-Qawasmi has served some 10 years in Israeli jails. One of his brothers was freed in the Shalit deal and was deported to the Gaza Strip, while two other brothers are still in Israeli custody.
Palestinians clash with Israeli settlers near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 July — Clashes broke out on Friday between Palestinians and Israeli settlers at the entrance to the village of Abud west of Ramallah. The clashes broke out after Palestinians wounded a settler after throwing stones at his car during a protest in against Israeli assault in Gaza. The Israeli army arrived at the scene and Palestinians threw stones and empty bottles at them. The soldiers in turn fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinians, who stationed themselves in agricultural land above the road. More than 150 Palestinians were wounded on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed protests across the central West Bank in solidarity with the people of Gaza, who have been under sustained Israeli assault for the last 11 days.
Heavy clashes with Israeli forces near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — Heavy clashes took place late Friday between local youths and Israeli forces in northern Bethlehem near Rachel’s Tomb. Israeli forces used stun grenades and tear gas grenades against protesters. Clashes have taken place almost every night in the area for the last two weeks amid heightened tensions due to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza.
14 injured in clashes at Qalandiya checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — Fourteen Palestinians were injured late Wednesday during clashes with Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint. Witnesses said dozens of youths gathered near the military checkpoint and hurled rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers. Some youths also threw Molotov cocktails and set off fireworks, which hit three Israeli soldiers. The demonstration was organized by youth groups who called for a rally in support of Gaza. Israeli troops used live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse a crowd which had marched on the checkpoint, with the group reforming and hurling rocks at soldiers.
A gunfight was also reported between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen late Wednesday in the Ramallah district, with no injuries reported.
Rubber-coated and live bullet injuries, suffocation cases during clashes across Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 17 July – Many Palestinians were shot and injured with live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, while many others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces across Hebron district, according to WAFA correspondent. Confrontations erupted in Bab al-Zawiya area, in central Hebron, Ras Al-Jura, and in Halhoul Bridge, near Hebron’s northern entrance; forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas and acoustic canisters towards residents, injuring many and causing many suffocation cases. Coordinator of the popular committee against settlements and the Apartheid Wall, Mohammad Awad told WAFA that clashes also erupted in ‘Asida area, to the east of Beit Ummar, where a 20-year-old Palestinian was shot in the foot, while another youth sustained fractures while being chased by soldiers. Meanwhile, forces stormed Al-‘Arroub refugee camp to the north of Hebron amid firing of live ammunition, rubber coated-steel bullets and tear gas and acoustic canisters towards residents and their homes, shooting and injuring three with live ammunition, while many others sustained injuries from rubber coated bullets. Several other Palestinians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
Israel arrests 12, including lawmakers, in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 16 July – Israeli army Wednesday arrested 12 Palestinians, including two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), during predawn raids across the southern West Bank district of Hebron, according to security sources and witnesses. During the late night hours, Israeli soldiers broke through the town Yatta, south of Hebron, and arrested MP Khalil ar-Rabe’i, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Forces also arrested MP Sameer al-Qadi, also a PLC member, after storming the town of Surif. Meanwhile, Israeli forces stormed the town of Bani Na‘im, east of Hebron, where they arrested 10 Palestinians, including four teenagers.
Israeli forces arrest 38 Palestinians from West Bank areas and 1948 areas
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 17 July – Israeli forces early Thursday arrested 38 Palestinians from 1948 areas (Israel), Jerusalem, and West Bank areas, according to witnesses and security sources. In Jerusalem, Israeli police reportedly arrested 21 Palestinians, including minors, for taking part in protests in the aftermath of killing and burning of Mohammad Abu Khdeir two weeks ago in Jerusalem. Police said that a total of 201 Palestinians were arrested in the aftermath of Abu Khdeir’s killing, including 45 Palestinians who were indicted. Meanwhile, Israeli police arrested two Palestinians from Arab towns inside Israel; one from Um Al-Fahim and another 14-year-old minor from Tur‘an.
Police also arrested two Palestinians who are residents of Kufr Ra‘i, a village located to the southwest of Jenin in the West Bank, while they were in 1948 areas. Police also arrested five others Palestinians; two from Al-‘Issawiya and three from the Old City. Meanwhile in Hebron district, Israeli forces raided Bani Na‘im to the east of the city, where they arrested three Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their houses. They also raided Hebron city, where they arrested four Palestinians, including two aged 19 and 26 years, after breaking and wrecking havoc into their houses.
In Bethlehem, Israeli troops raided the city, where they arrested an 18-year-old Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house.
Gazans in West Bank fear for their loved ones
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 17 July by Ahmad Melhem — Roughly 15,000 Gazans live in Ramallah and are gripped with fear each time Israel strikes civilian targets in the Gaza Strip — With each raid that Israeli planes launch on the Gaza Strip, Sameh, 38, grabs his mobile phone and calls his family there to make sure they’re fine. Sameh, who preferred to give his first name only, hailed from the Gaza Strip, which he left 20 years ago. He works in Ramallah. “I’m constantly and persistently following what is happening. I sit at the breakfast table, with my phone by my side. I contact my parents and friends as soon as I hear about a raid in any region close to my family. I even take my phone with me into the shower,” he told Al-Monitor. Sameh who spends most of his time in front of the computer and TV to watch the news, said, “The Israeli offensive on Gaza has shortened distances and brought us closer. But, it upsets me to see the images of neighbors under the rubble. I’m sad for the innocent and the houses that used to shelter and accommodate us.” “It is very painful to see what was once yours damaged, but that is the fate of those who want freedom,” he added bitterly … Al-Monitor met with Wafaa Abdel Rahman, the manager of Filastiniyat Association, which trains young journalists. Abdel Rahman has been living in the West Bank since 1990, and she has been participating in popular protests to support Gaza and condemn the Israeli aggression toward the Gaza Strip. “I have a big family and many friends in Gaza, not to mention an office and employees following up on the events of the aggression and writing press reports from the field. This exposes them to a potential risk and increases my concerns for all of them. It also prompts me to follow the development of events, minute by minute.” During her participation with some 10 other women in the sit-in staged in front of the PLO headquarters on July 10 in Ramallah, she said, “The people of Gaza are more courageous, they are stronger and prouder than us. We collapse when we see pictures and hear sounds of shelling and destruction. They are strong despite the aggression that they are exposed to. They ask us how we are doing — ‘We want to check on you.’ Their steadfastness and strength make us feel ashamed.”
Israel denies American teaching volunteers entry to West Bank
Al-Monitor 16 July by Daoud Kuttab — A group of American volunteers sponsored by the American Federation of Ramallah were denied entry into Palestine by Israeli border officers at the King Hussein Bridge on July 8. Tour leader Terry Ahwal detailed to Al-Monitor the humiliating six-hour experience that 15 Arab-Americans, ages 17 to 28, faced by Israeli officials. The visit, part of Project Hope, a project bringing volunteers to Palestine, was coordinated with the US State Department and the White House, according to Ahwal. She said that the US missions in Amman, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were aware of the visit.
Officials say Israel’s returning of ‘Shalit’ swap prisoners to jail a crime
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 July – Undersecretary of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, Zayad Abu-Ein, director of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, Qaddura Fares, and Ex-Minister of Prisoners’ affairs, Essa Qaraqe‘, said Wednesday the re-sentencing of six prisoners who were released in Sahlit swap of 2011 to life imprisonment constitutes a new crime and a grave escalation by the Israeli politicians. On Tuesday, Israel’s Special Pardons Committee ordered the re-sentencing of six Palestinian ex-detainees to life imprisonment. The six Palestinians, who were released in Sahlit swap, were re-arrested during the Israeli military operation in search of three missing settlers. The committee ordered that the six Jerusalemite detainees serve the remainder of their prison sentences, said Qaraqe‘, adding that Israel is intending to bring other ex-detainees before the court and will probably put them back in jail. “What is happening to the ex-detainees and the continuing arrests of Members of Parliament is another face of the war, aggression and violation of the Palestinian people’s rights,” said Qaraqe‘. “This represents a disregard to the world and to the international and humanitarian values,” he added, accusing Israel of not honoring any agreements or understandings concluded with any party, whether regionally or internationally.
Israeli courts extend detention of 74 Palestinians
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli courts extended the detention of 74 detainees in Israeli prisons for investigations and legal procedures, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said Thursday. [list of the detainees follows]
People before Profit remove Israeli flag from Dun Laoghaire harbour
Today.ie 18 July — Members of People Before Profit removed the Israeli flag from a pole in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, today that had been flying in the harbour for a European sailing competition. In the wake of escalated tensions in Gaza and a ground invasion that took place last night, complaints had been made to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company asking for its removal. Councillor Hugh Lewis, who took the flag down, said, “It is completely unacceptable and inappropriate that after hundreds of people have been in contact, demanding that the flag be taken down out of solidarity and respect, it flies high in our town.” Three thousand people attended a pro-Palestinian march in Dublin last weekend and support for the cause has been growing since the death of over 270 Palestinians in the recent violence.
‘Jews against Genocide’ hold memorials for killed Palestinian children in front of Israeli govt buildings around the world
Mondoweiss 18 July by Miko Peled — Jews Against Genocide (JAG) held a memorial service in front of the Knesset for Palestinian children killed by Israel in its current attack on Gaza. A pile of bloody dolls was placed at the Israeli Parliament and at other locations around the world. In addition to Jerusalem, memorials were held at the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, in front of the Israeli Consulates and embassies in Madrid, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. Other memorials will be held in different locations around the world in the coming days. JAG set aflame to the pile of dolls covered in red paint at Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial museum, on July 12th.
LIVE UPDATES: Three Israeli soldiers wounded in gun battle with Gazan militants
Haaretz 19 July — Officer sustains serious injuries; Hamas says won’t agree to cease-fire until Israel lifts ‘economic siege’ imposed on Gaza; Palestinians report 26 killed overnight, including eight members of one family – Latest updates: 10:11 A.M. Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal says the group will not agree to a cease-fire until Israel lifts the economic siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and frees detainees who were rearrested after being released in the Shalit prisoner swap. Hamas also wants Egypt to show flexibility in opening the Rafah Crossing. Meshal says he is willing to discuss any deal based on these demands, adding that Qatar and Turkey are also taking part in the mediation efforts alongside Egypt. (Jack Khoury) 10:00 A.M. According to reports in Gaza, Friday was the deadliest day since Operation Protective Edge was launched; 52 people were killed, many of them children. According to figures from the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll in the operation has reached 296, including 71 children. Ninety-seven are members of 24 families. Some 2,030 were wounded, including 640 children. (Jack Khoury) 9:15 A.M. The IDF intends to warn residents of the Bureij and Al- Ma’azi refugee camps in the Gaza Strip’s center to evacuate their homes ahead of Israeli strikes. According to UNRWA, more than 47,000 Gaza residents have fled their homes and are seeking shelter in 43 UN buildings, most of them schools, since the operation was launched. (Jack Khoury) 9:10 A.M. The incident that wounded three IDF troops overnight occurred in Beit Lahia, in the Gaza Strip’s north, when a Palestinian militant opened fire toward the Israeli unit. The militant was killed in the gun battle. (Gili Cohen) 9:00 A.M. The Foreign Ministry issues a travel warning for Turkey, cautioning Israelis to avoid nonessential trips due to the “public sentiment” on the backdrop of Operation Defense Edge.
26 Gazans killed by Israel since sunset, bringing Friday total to 63
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — Twenty-six Palestinians including eight members of a single family were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, while the death of a young man wounded earlier in the week brought the total number of deaths in Israel’s 11-day long assault to 298 and more than 2,200 injured. The deaths bring the total killed since the beginning of the ground invasion late Thursday night to 63, as deaths and injuries across the besieged coastal enclave soared on the first day of the assault in both the northern and southern regions of the territory. Of the 63 killed since the beginning of the Israeli invasion, 26 died after Gazans broke their fast at sunset on Friday evening as Israeli air strikes pounded the Strip. Eight members of the Abu Jrad family including four children were killed when a missile struck their home in Beit Hanoun including Naim Musa Abu Jrad, 23, Abd Musa Abu Jrad, 30, Siham Musa Abu Jrad, 26, Rija Aliyan Abu Jrad, and four children: Haniyah Abd al-Rahman Abu Jrad, Samih Naim Abu Jrad, Musa Abd al-Rahman Abu Jrad, 6 months, and Ahlam Musa Abu Jrad. Four members of the Shaath family were killed and four were injured including one seriously after an air strike on their home in the Hayy al-Manara neighborhood of Khan Younis around 10:30 p.m…..
Medics: Israeli tank fire kills 8 members of family in Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 19 July — At least eight members of a single family, among them four children, were killed by Israeli tank fire in northern Gaza on Friday evening, medics said. The eight members of the Abu Jurad family — two men, two women, and four children — were killed in their home in Beit Hanoun, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. He had given an initial toll of five dead in the attack, but revised it upwards to eight, adding the deaths of three additional children from the family. He gave the names of the children as Hania, Ahlam, Samih and Musa — two girls and two boys. Their deaths raised the toll on the eleventh day of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas to 292 killed in Gaza. Two Israelis have been killed, one civilian and one soldier.
UN: Number of Gaza displaced ‘almost doubles’ in 24 hours
JERUSALEM (AFP) 19 July — The number of displaced Gazans has almost doubled in the past 24 hours, hitting 40,000 people since Israel began a major ground operation, a UN agency said on Friday. “The number of people coming to UNRWA seeking sanctuary from the fighting in Gaza has nearly doubled today. It has risen from 22,000 to over 40,000,” said Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. “We are accommodating them in 34 UNRWA shelters,” he said, adding that the agency had launched an urgent appeal for $60 million to cover the cost of sheltering the displaced over the next month and for other emergency measures to the end of the year.
Gazans find few safe places as they flee
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (NY Times) 18 July by Anne Barnard — They fled by night, using their cellphones as flashlights on pitch-black roads as Israeli shells whistled around them. They carried a white flag and dragged crying children at a trot, a family of 25 headed for a relative’s house further into the Gaza Strip. When dawn broke, they split the family among several more relatives. The grandmother, Naama Abu Hamad, 62, insisted on this. That way, she said, they could not all be killed by a single strike and lose “an entire generation.” As the Israeli military pressed into the Gaza Strip, taking over areas near the Israeli boundary, the hardships facing civilians deepened. Israel cut off the electricity it supplies to the strip, which is almost all the electricity that comes to Gaza, local and international officials said. For days a blasted sewage pipe has leaked into drinking water, but workers have been unable to fix it because of the danger from airstrikes. The number of Gazans displaced by the war to official shelters more than doubled in 24 hours, to 47,000 from 22,000, according to the United Nations, but the true figure was probably much higher, since most people, like Abu Hamad, take refuge with friends and family. All day and into the evening, air and artillery strikes continued. Where to be safe seemed a matter of guesswork; at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, members of one family said they had fled their home to an area they considered safer, only to be caught in a bombing at the hospital there that killed a family member … Families continued to stream into already-crowded Gaza City from the north and east, and into cities farther down the coast, to escape shelling along the strip’s perimeter. In the morning, donkey carts loaded with children and elderly people streamed along the main road from the north.
Crowds flock through Rafah escaping ‘sure death’ in Gaza
RAFAH, Egypt (AFP) 19 July — As Israeli forces pressed a ground operation in Gaza on Friday, many Egyptians and foreigners fled to Egypt through the Rafah crossing, escaping what some said was “sure death” in the Palestinian enclave. At least 274 Palestinians have been killed so far in the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas that is the main power in Gaza. The death toll soared on Friday as Israeli troops fanned out across parts of Gaza in search of tunnels they say are being used by Hamas to smuggle in rockets and to infiltrate Israeli lines. Israeli boots on the ground proved the last straw for many Egyptians and foreigners, who had stayed on in Gaza during 10 days of blistering Israeli air strikes. “I did not want to leave my house, but last night was very difficult with the ground operation,” said Sohair Massoud, an Egyptian mother of four, as she crossed into Egypt from Gaza through Rafah. Massoud, who is married to a Palestinian, said Israeli forces struck her neighbourhood in the Palestinian side of Rafah with artillery fire and air strikes. Escaping what she said was “sure death”, she decided to flee to Egypt. However, even the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing was tense on Friday, with drones flying overhead and Egyptian army tanks along with ambulances and taxis lined up to assist families and wounded Palestinians as they arrived through the crossing.
In Gaza, 3 children killed playing on roof
GAZA CITY (AFP) 18 July by Sara Hussein — GAZA CITY (AFP) — Brothers Jihad and Wissam were playing on the roof of their Gaza apartment with their cousin Fulla, when an Israeli strike came from the blue skies above and killed them. Fulla, a nickname given to 10-year-old Afnan, was the eldest. All three were from the Shuheiber family, in Gaza City’s Sabra district. After being cooped up at home for days on end, neighbors said the children were taking advantage of the relative calm that followed a brief truce between Israel and Hamas. “They were playing on the roof,” said neighbor Raed al-Kurdi, 33, his white vest stained with blood. “We were sitting on our roof next to our neighbor’s one and we found all of a sudden a rocket coming from above and it hit their roof,” he added. “The people who were injured were from the Shuheiber family, there were children, two girls, two boys and two grown men. “They were in serious condition, we carried them out in our arms.” Three of the children died en route to the Shifa hospital, where they were laid out on steel tables in the morgue as doctors in blue coats moved around them, cleaning them. Each had coin-sized pieces of flesh gouged out from their limbs by shrapnel. Next to them, their uncle Mohamed wept openly.
Hoax alert: Video showing ‘Hamas using children as human shields’ is from Syria
Electronic Intifada 18 July by Ali Abunumah — As the number of atrocities in which Israel kills children in Gaza mounts, Israel advocates are getting more desperate to find justifications for the slaughter. Many are sharing the above video titled “Hamas using children as human shields.” But the video is not from Palestine. It is actually from Syria. It was first posted to YouTube at least five months ago. Uploaded to YouTube by user “ziv121213” only yesterday, it has been disseminated widely on social media and already has tens of thousands of views. This is an example of how it is being shared on Twitter: … Original video from Syria This version was posted on 12 February 2014 with the title “** MUST SEE ** Syrian Kids Launching Mortar Together!” The description states “After the brutal SAF-Barrel Bomb Attacks these syrian kids decide to give a answer to assad.” “SAF” is presumably a reference to the Syrian air force and Assad is of course Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the video, the man crouching with the children can be heard shouting slogans against Bashar al-Assad, another obvious indication that this video has absolutely nothing to do with Hamas or Gaza. Account metadata and Internet searches suggest that the YouTube user who posted the video with the title “Hamas using children as human shields” is in Israel.
Israel ends ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ with new massacre of Gaza children
Electronic Intifada 17 July by Ali Abunimah — Four children were killed when Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip after the expiry on Thursday afternoon of a five-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” requested by the United Nations. Another child died of injuries sustained in earlier Israeli attacks. By Thursday evening in Gaza, at least fourteen Palestinians had been killed in Israeli attacks before and after the brief ceasefire, bringing the total to 237 fatalities since Israel’s round-the-clock assault began on 7 July, according to the health ministry in Gaza. The number of children killed has risen to 53, including four young boys from the Baker family slaughtered by Israeli shelling in front of international media as they played on a beach on Wednesday. Defence for Children International Palestine, which documents the deaths of children, said the toll from Israel’s current campaign “is now at its highest since Israel’s December 2008 military incursion, Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in the deaths of 352 children.” … Three children from single family killed Three children from a single family were killed when an Israeli air strike hit their home in the Sabra section of Gaza City on Thursday evening. The children were named as Fulla Tariq Shuhaibar, Jihad Issam Shuhaibar and Wasim Issam Shuhaibar, all young children whose ages were not specified. A video uploaded to YouTube shows the dead children lying in a medical facility while a distraught medical official denounces their killings as a “crime.” “Every day there is a massacre,” the official says. In a separate incident, Rahaf Khalil Jbour, aged four, was killed in an Israeli air attack on her neighborhood of al-Manara in Khan Younis. Also on Thursday, Yasin al-Humeidi, aged four, died of injuries he suffered in an earlier air attack on Gaza City. Among those killed on Thursday were 71-year-old Zaynab al-Abadla of Khan Younis and 67-year-old Muhammad Abdulrahman Hassouna of Rafah.
Doctors evacuate patients after Israel bombs hospital
Electronic Intifada 17 July — After a week of threats and “warning rocket” fire last Friday on the al-Wafa rehab and geriatric hospital in eastern Gaza City, the Israeli army heavily shelled the building just hours ago and caregivers are scrambling to evacuate the most vulnerable patients. I spoke with Dr. Basman Alashi, the executive director of al-Wafa, at a little past 10pm Palestine time today, Thursday, about an hour after Israel started to bomb the hospital. “It started just before nine, they started it and it continued every other minute, firing at the hospital. They started on the fourth floor, continued to the third, then from the back of the hospital, then to the side, then to the front, then they cut the electricity, we have fuel everywhere. I don’t know the extent of the damage but it reached a point where my nurses were unable to function, unable to stand, unable to help the patients,” Alashi said. Since last week, international solidarity activists have maintained a constant presence inside the hospital in an effort to stop Israel from attacking it. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, as of Thursday, Israel’s missile strikes and bombing attacks have killed 237 Palestinians and have wounded more than 1,770 since the assault began 11 days ago. Joe Catron, activist and contributor to The Electronic Intifada, who has been staying at the hospital in shifts, tweeted that the al-Wafa hospital staff was able to safely and quickly evacuate the patients, and everyone has survived Israel’s bombing attacks.
Israel bombs Gaza radio station, injuring journalists
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 July — Several journalists were injured after an Israeli airstrike early Wednesday morning struck a building in Gaza City that houses the Sawt al-Watan radio station. A journalist at the station Luay Abu Muammar told Ma‘an that the radio station “was damaged, some machines were destroyed, and the radio’s car was destroyed,” in the attack, which comes on the ninth day of a sustained Israeli assault on Gaza. “The broadcast is still cut off,” he added. The management and employees of the radio station condemned the targeting the building, stressing that the Israeli attack targets the rights of journalists and contravenes laws protecting freedom of the press. Abu Muammar called upon the Arab and International Journalists Syndicate to condemn the attack and hold Israel responsible for its crimes. Journalists Ahmad al-Ajala, Tariq Hamdieh, Muhammad Hammoudeh and Bahaa al-Razi Abu Muammar were in the building at the time of the airstrike.
On Gaza beach, a blast, then a second, and 4 children dead
GAZA CITY (AFP) 17 July — The sound of a blast cut through the air on Gaza’s beach, drawing people out of seafront buildings to see a crowd of terrified children sprinting along the sand. They screamed as they ran, smoke rising behind them from an Israeli strike. Panicked onlookers shouted at them to run away from the scene, and towards the safety of a hotel. And then another blast hit the site, there was an orange glow and more smoke. A hut used by Palestinian fishermen was set ablaze by the strike. The children continued to run, but some of them were left behind. Four of them were killed. Afterwards, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra gave names of the four, all cousins: Ahed Atef Bakr, aged 10, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, also 10. Mohamed Ramez Bakr, nine, and Ismail Mohamed Bakr, 11. The other children, some crying, and others bleeding, ran into a hotel, where staff and journalists scrambled to help them. Thirteen-year-old Hamed Bakr had shrapnel in his chest and was crying, “It hurts, my chest hurts.” Those present worked to clean and dress his wounds and those of two other injured children while ambulances were called.
Bloody Friday: 12 children among dozens killed in Israel’s merciless slaughter
Electronic Intifada 18 July by Ali Abunimah — The death toll from Israel’s assault on Gaza continues to rise rapidly. At least 61 people, at least 12 of them children, were killed on Friday alone, the second day of Israel’s ground invasion of parts of the Gaza Strip, and the twelfth and bloodiest day since Israel began bombarding the territory with airstrikes and land-based and naval artillery. Eight members of a single family, the youngest six months old, were killed when a missile struck their home. By Friday evening Gaza time, 296 people had been killed and more than 2,200 injured since the Israeli bombardment began, according to Ma’an News Agency. But any death toll reported in the media is quickly out of date, as the numbers keep rising. Eighty percent of the fatalities are civilians and half of the injured are women and children, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At least 58 of the dead are children, according to Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry spokesperson in Gaza. Gaza residents and journalists have reported heavy and indiscriminate shelling across the coastal strip. Journalist Mohammed Omer is using his Twitter feed to provide an almost real-time account of the horrifying toll of the Israeli attack…. [he says Israel is using a 'white gas' that smells like garlic]
Gaza Diaries 9: ‘All that was left were the fragments of their little bodies and the small bag of chicken food’ — Three children killed on the roof of their home in an Israeli bombardment
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 18 July — On Thursday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli occupation force (IOF) drone fired a missile onto the roof of the Shuheebar family home, which is located in the Sabra neighbourhood in Gaza City. Three children – a girl and two boys – were killed in the attack. They were feeding the chicken that the family keeps on the roof. According to an initial investigation by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, at approximately 5:30 pm yesterday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile onto the roof of the house of the Shuheebar family, who live in the densely populated area of Sabra in Gaza City. The attack killed three children aged between 8 and 11, and injured two others. The children who were killed have been identified as: Afnan Wesam Shuheebar, 8; Jehad Issam Shuheebar, 11; and Waseem Issam Shuheebar; 8. Basil Shuheebar, 8, and Odai Shuheebar, 16, were also injured in the attack; Basil is still in the hospital in critical condition. No members of the family are known to be affiliated with any Palestinian resistance armed groups. Wesam, the father of the 8-year-old girl, Afnan, is an employee of the police of the Palestinian Authority, and the children were on the roof of his house in which 12 members of the Shuheebar family live, including 8 children. Al Mezan interviewed Jameela Shuheebar, 65, the grandmother of the deceased children. She said the family were all inside the house when the attack occurred. She added that she “rushed to the roof where the sound came from to see my grandchildren’s bodies on the ground. All that was there were the fragments of their little bodies and the small bag of chicken food, which they were giving the chicken on the roof. Our neighbors and my sons carried the pieces of flesh to the hospital, where Odai is still lying in the Intensive Care Unit.”
Gaza Diaries 8: Too dangerous to check on friends who were attacked, second attack on house kills two, injures one in Gaza City
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 17 July — On Wednesday, 16 July 2014, around 6:30pm, an IOF drone fired a missile at a small group of men who were standing near a recently targeted house Two of the men were killed. The men had just arrived to check on their friend whose house had been bombarded by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) two days prior. According to information collected by Al Mezan, at approximately, 6:30 pm, on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, Israeli fighter jets fired one missile at three civilians near the house of Jamal Shamalakh, located in the west of Gaza City. The house had been attacked by the IOF two days earlier and had sustained severe damages. The second attack occurred when the son of the h Shamalakhwas showing his friends the impact of the attack. Two men, including Hosam Shamalakh, 30, who is the son of the owner of the house, and his friend, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, 32, were killed in the attack. The third person, Khamis Abu Hasira, 30, was critically injured … Al Mezan visited the house and found no traces of any weapons except the remains of IOF missiles. Both attacks are unlawful according to international law as the attacks targeted civilians. The family has a right to know why they were attacked, to be able to hold those who attacked them accountable for launching unlawful attacks, and to have effective remedies offered to them.
Horror stories abound at Gaza hospital after Israeli invasion
AFP 18 July — As Israeli occupation forces pushed into Gaza overnight, intense tank fire shook parts of Khan Younis, sending a flood of patients into the southern city’s Nasser hospital. The shells smashed into buildings near the border with Israel, prompting thousands to flee their homes under the cover of darkness, only missiles lighting up the sky. At Nasser hospital, doctors and nurses working 24-hour shifts were on alert for the wave of patients who began arriving in the early hours. “The situation is very, very difficult,” said doctor Kamel Zaqzuq. “This is much, much more difficult than the last war,” he said, referring to the November 2012 Israeli assault on Gaza that killed 177 Palestinians. “At night, it’s one constant emergency.” He said the hospital was running short on some supplies, including medical sutures for stitches. Many of those who arrived at the hospital on Thursday night and early Friday morning, after the ground invasion began, were children, he said. For some, it was too late — doctors said 11 people ended up in the facility’s morgue. Two were still there on Friday morning, wrapped in white sheets on the steel shelves of a refrigerator, locked behind a door of rusting iron bars. Others suffered grave injuries and were being treated in the intensive care unit, including 25-year-old Khadija Abu Hamad. She was hurt in tank shelling in a neighborhood known simply as Sharqiya, or eastern district. Shrapnel ripped through most of her body, embedding itself in her brain, breaking her left arm and gouging out her left eye. The little remaining part of her face not covered in bandages was bruised black and yellow, and metal pins were holding her broken arm together. Next to her was 18-year-old Uday al-Astal, now paralyzed on his right side after shrapnel entered his brain….
A father opens a plastic bag: ‘This is my son’, he says, killed by an Israeli shell
GAZA (The Guardian) 18 July by Peter Beaumont — The house of the Antez family in Sha‘af looks undamaged from the outside. But the men milling around it have the dazed faces of grief that tell a different story. Inside, the hole punched by the tank shell that hit the house, after clearing the retaining wall, is visible about 3m (10ft) off the ground. It seems a small thing – a hole the size of a toaster. But the shell travelled through four walls, scattering pieces of shrapnel that have been gathered and placed to one side. There were 60 people from three families sheltering inside, some under the stairs, some in a corridor leading to a half-finished room. Following the shell’s path through the house, three pools of blood punctuate where three people died – two of them children. Salem Antez, 29, approached with a purple plastic bag and opened it, its contents terrible. “This is my son,” he said and nothing else, tears tracking down his face. Mohammad, another family member explained, was two. The other dead were Abed Ali, 24, and Mohammad Ibrahim, 13. Salem bent back to his task – his bag becoming a little heavier. “They hit us at 8.45pm,” an uncle said. “We had just finished our Iftar meal and were gathered here for safety.”
Hamas says fighters returned unharmed after entering Israel
[includes video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — Hamas’ military wing said Thursday that a group of its fighters entered southern Israel and returned safely. A group of fighters managed to “infiltrate behind the enemy lines in the Sufa area at 4 in the morning. The group came under enemy fire during withdrawal after they completed their mission.” The al-Qassam Brigades said no casualties were reported. Thirteen Gaza fighters emerged from a tunnel under the southern Gaza border, and were headed towards Sufa kibbutz, a small community just over a kilometer away, when they were spotted, Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told journalists. Israeli forces killed at least one of the militants in an air raid, he said, leaving the rest rushing back towards the tunnel.
Roads closed across southern Israel after ‘security incident’
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli authorities closed a number of roads across southern Israel on Thursday after announcing a “security incident” in the area, in what some suspect may be related to the infiltration of militants from Gaza into the region. The move comes after more than a dozen rockets were launched from Gaza into southern Israel since the end of the temporary ceasefire at 3 p.m., with at least two hitting inside the town of Eshkol.
Israeli soldier wounded in mortar attack near Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — The Israeli army said on Thursday afternoon that a soldier was injured by mortar fire from Gaza, as Israeli forces bombarded the Gaza Strip hours after the end of a temporary ceasefire. The Israeli military said in a statement that the soldier was “lightly injured” in the attack. Since 3 p.m., Palestinian militants have fired 105 rockets into Israel, mostly in the direction of Eshkol and Ashkelon, according to the military. 85 hit Israel and only 20 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the military said. Three other Israelis were reported hurt after they fell while in the process of running to a safety shelter, including two in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv, as well as one who was hurt from panic in Rosh Haayin, according to medical sources. Since the beginning of hostilities 10 days ago, Palestinian militants have fired more than 1,300 rockets into Israel, killing one and injuring around six. In the same period, Israel has killed 236 Palestinians and injured more than 1,700.
Isolated weapons find in vacant UNRWA school cannot justify Israel’s Gaza slaughter
Electronic Intifada 17 July by Ali Abunimah — An incident, “the first of its kind,” occurred today: UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, found weapons in one the hundreds of schools it runs in the Gaza Strip. The school was vacant and the weapons were quickly removed. It is important to highlight this incident because of how Israel and its apologists are alreading misusing and misrepresenting it to justify Israel’s massive and illegal bombardment of civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Over the past eleven days, Israeli attacks have killed more than 220 people, the vast majority civilians. Approximately fifty of the dead are children and more than 1,500 people have been injured. Israel has a long history of attacking and misusing UNRWA schools and making false claims about their misuse by Palestinian fighters … Here’s what happened, according to a 17 July press release from UNRWA: Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza. Immediately after discovery, the Agency informed the relevant parties and successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. UNRWA has launched a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.
Forty years of giving dignity to Gaza’s dead
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (The National) 19 July by Hugh Naylor — Most Palestinians living in Gaza are accustomed to seeing violent death. But even here, Abu Mohammed is more familiar than most. For 40 years he has volunteered to prepare bodies of those killed in conflict with Israel by cleaning and wrapping them in the bleach-white linen, called the kaffan, that Islam requires for burial. Working through uprisings and now another war that has killed more than 270, the septuagenarian has enshrouded countless remains of children, women and friends – as well as fighters – killed during struggles since the relatively hopeful years of the first uprising against Israel in the late 1980s to the darker, bloodier conflicts that followed. “We all accept that we could die in our struggle. This is how I pay my respect those who actually did die for Palestine,” he said from the small morgue at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, a city in northern Gaza city. On Friday, the casualties brought in to the morgue included three children from the Musallem family – Mohamed, 15, Wallah, 13, and Ahah, 11. They had been sleeping in the same room in an apartment close to the Israeli border when an artillery shell hit. It is morbid work, acknowledges Abu Mohammed, who owns a company that sells construction materials. But his role is an important one, his colleagues say. He takes no money for his services, which are available at all times of the day, whether during peace or war. “This guy has driven to the hospital during airstrikes, bombings, during times of war when most people think it’s too dangerous to step outside their homes,” said Eyad Abu Zahar, a general surgeon who manages the emergency room at Kamal Adwan Hospital….
Gaza baker keeps making Ramadan treats amid Israel strikes
GAZA CITY (The National) 15 July by Hugh Naylor — The banks are closed, restaurants shuttered and schools empty. Yet, Essam Al Nimer says nothing can stop him from cooking up Ramadan’s most sought-after pastry for the people of Gaza. While most shops in the territory are closed because of Israel’s relentless bombardment, Mr Al Nimer’s small bakery continues to churn out the delicious, tiny pancakes, called qatayef, that are consumed in vast quantities after a day’s fast during the holy month. “Stop working! Impossible!” shouts Mr Nimer, 30, who wears a batter-smeared apron and a small radio headset to listen to news of fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas militants. Every day from 6am to 8pm, he and four family members who work at the Abu Ramadan for Sweets bakery in Gaza City toil in the summer heat to prepare dozens of kilograms of walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and powdered sugar. Those ingredients are ground up and mixed together to form a blend called hashweh that is folded inside a pancake and dipped into boiling syrup. The end result is a viscous pastry that is specially made for Ramadan and is readily devoured across the Levant and other parts of the Arab world. “It’s not Ramadan without it!” says Umm Akram, 55, a grandmother of 12 who was one of a handful of people hauling bags of fruit and vegetables in Gaza City’s otherwise empty streets. She was planning to buy qatayef at Abu Ramadan’s, which she called “the best!” This year, what should be a time of indulging in the mouthwatering delights of qatayef has instead been overshadowed by the destruction of entire families and their homes by punishing rounds of Israeli air strikes.
UN chief to fly to Mideast in Gaza peace push
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 19 July — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will fly to the Middle East in an effort to broker and end to the violence in Gaza, an official told an emergency session of the Security Council on Friday. Under secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman said a two-state solution was the only way to break the “seemingly endless cycle” of Israeli-Palestinian violence. “The secretary general is prepared to do his part. He will leave for the region tomorrow to express solidarity with the Israelis and Palestinians,” Feltman told emergency talks at the Council. The UN chief will “help” Israelis and Palestinians “in coordination with regional and international actors, end the violence and find a way forward,” Feltman said.
Israel pulls diplomats from Turkey after missions attacked
ANKARA (AFP) 18 July — Israel on Friday ordered some of its diplomatic staff in Turkey to leave the country for security reasons, after protesters angered by its assault on Gaza sought to storm Israeli embassy buildings. Turkish protesters overnight tried to break into the ambassador’s residence in Ankara as well as the consulate in Istanbul, with the diplomatic controversy over the Gaza assault risking a new crisis in relations between Turkey and Israel. “Foreign Minister (Avigdor) Lieberman issued a statement … following the demonstrations and instructed the Israeli consulate and embassy to reduce their diplomatic staff in Turkey,” an Israeli embassy spokesman told AFP, without stating the numbers concerned. The spokesman emphasized that the Israeli representation in Turkey would not be completely shut down but would be reduced to minimum staffing. The measure also includes the diplomats’ families, he added. The Israeli foreign ministry also accused Turkey’s security officials of failing to prevent the violence, he noted. Hundreds of protesters attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul while similar numbers sought to break into the Ankara residence of the ambassador after the launch of the ground assault in Gaza, according to AFP correspondents. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to halt the protests in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning but in Ankara they stood on the sidelines.
Analysis / Opinion / Review
Playing with ceasefires / David Hearst
Middle East Monitor 18 July — So now we know. The Egyptian ceasefire initiative was neither an initiative in the sense that anyone had consulted one of the combatants. Nor was it Egyptian. According to Arabi21, the initiative was concocted by the Israelis and Tony Blair. Further, it was published, against US wishes, to stymie a rival proposal being hammered out by Qatar. The initiative in fact marked not the revival of Egypt’s historic role as a mediator in Palestine but the death of it. Whatever is happening in a hotel in Cairo right now, with both Israeli and Hamas delegations in it, the real talking is not taking place there, but in Qatar and Turkey. This is in itself a new departure, as is Hamas’ decision to refuse to regard Egypt as a negotiator. Since the Oslo accords, Egypt had a monopoly. The Palestine file held by the General Intelligence Directorate was its most precious asset, the crown jewels of Egypt’s regional security policy. They were maintained come rain or shine, in dictatorship or democracy. Mubarak kept faith with it, as did Mohamed Morsi.
Israel’s incremental genocide in the Gaza ghetto
Electionic Intifada 13 July by Dr. Ilan Pappe — In a September 2006 article for The Electronic Intifada, I defined the Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide. Israel’s present assault on Gaza alas indicates that this policy continues unabated. The term is important since it appropriately locates Israel’s barbaric action– then and now — within a wider historical context. This context should be insisted upon, since the Israeli propaganda machine attempts again and again to narrate its policies as out of context and turns the pretext it found for every new wave of destruction into the main justification for another spree of indiscriminate slaughter in the killing fields of Palestine. The context The Zionist strategy of branding its brutal policies as an ad hoc response to this or that Palestinian action is as old as the Zionist presence in Palestine itself. It was used repeatedly as a justification for implementing the Zionist vision of a future Palestine that has in it very few, if any, native Palestinians. The means for achieving this goal changed with the years, but the formula has remained the same: whatever the Zionist vision of a Jewish State might be, it can only materialize without any significant number of Palestinians in it. And nowadays the vision is of an Israel stretching over almost the whole of historic Palestine where millions of Palestinians still live. The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more immediate background. It has been born out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to.
The real agenda of Israel: More death, more destruction / Samah Sabawi
New Matilda 18 July — What drives Israel’s war on Gaza? It is not the need to weaken Hamas nor to stop the rockets. Both goals were almost achieved back in April. On the 23rd of April, Hamas was in its worst strategic position ever … With its back to the wall, Hamas had no option but to reach out to the Palestinian Authority (PA,) and agree to all conditions laid down by its president Mahmoud Abbas. And, just in case there are any doubts as to how much Hamas was ready to compromise, Abbas, in a meeting for the PLO’s central Council on April 26, confirmed a unity government would adhere to all agreements previously signed, would renounce terror, would recognise Israel and would continue the negotiations. The unity government was welcomed by the EU, Russia and the United Nations. The US was ready to accept it as long as it agreed to abide by the Quartet’s conditions, which seemed almost like a done deal. On the other hand, Israeli leaders who once criticised Abbas for not representing all the Palestinians, using his lack of control over Gaza as a pretext for questioning his ability to make a comprehensive peace, were not pleased. They accused Abbas of signing a deal with what they considered a terrorist organisation. Never mind that the new Palestinian cabinet was going to be largely made up of technocrats and headed by the same pre-agreement Prime Minister, reporting directly to Abbas and who wasted no time emphasising that this was his government, implementing his program … Superficially at least, Israel’s reaction seemed to run counter to its own policy objectives. However, it has been clear for some time that Israel’s true objective is to continue settlement expansion and land grab, while using endless negotiations as a delaying tactic to alleviate international pressure. Palestinian unity would have been a major obstacle in the face of such farce. So, when the three young Israeli settlers were kidnapped and killed on June 12th, the Israeli government carefully orchestrated a three-week public relations campaign insisting to the world that it was Hamas who kidnapped them, although no evidence of such a claim has ever been produced. Anyone with a basic knowledge of Palestinian politics can see how ridiculous such a claim is. For Hamas, who was desperate to see things work out in its unity deal with the PA, the timing could not have been worse. Never shy about claiming responsibility for attacks on Israelis, Hamas vehemently denied it had anything to do with the kidnapping. Netanyahu persisted and the Israeli incitement against Hamas in particular, and Palestinians and Arabs in general, reached unprecedented levels. And now here we are. Israel has been pounding Gaza for days with hundreds of one tonne bombs, destroying lives, homes and infrastructure.
Dark days: Why Gideon Levy isn’t going back to Ashkelon any time soon
Haaretz 19 July by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — From panic to outright loathing and intolerance, the atmosphere in the Israel of Operation Protective Edge is very different than that during previous military operations — …During Operation Cast Lead, at the end of December 2008, I published an article very similar to the one I published this week on the op-ed page, about the air force pilots who are bombing Gaza. The earlier article was received with relative quiet, but this week the gates of hell opened up: I was subjected to a volley of vilification and attacks, of threats and verbal abuse that went beyond anything in my experience. My intention was to express my opinion and provoke a discussion about the pilots’ role and their responsibility for what they are wreaking in Gaza now. Maybe I succeeded to some extent, but the discourse turned vicious and verbally violent to the extreme. All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp – all these have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake. The word “fascism,” which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its deserved place in the Israeli political discourse. My closest friends urged me to get out of here until things calm down, to be careful, to take care, or at least stay home. Attorney and activist Eldad Yaniv wrote on his Facebook page: “Gideon Levy of blessed memory. With all that’s been happening here in the past few days, Levy too will soon be OBM. This is exactly how things felt in the months before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.”
Cursed Victory: A history of Israel and the Occupied Territories — review
The Guardian 18 July by Avi Shlaim — Ahron Bregman’s account of nearly five decades of Israeli occupation is hard-hitting and rich in telling details — The purpose of Israel’s current offensive in the Gaza Strip is to protect the status quo – with itself in control of the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. In 2005, it carried out a unilateral disengagement from Gaza, but under international law it is still the occupying power because it controls access by land, sea and air. In 2007 Israel imposed an economic blockade, cutting the Gaza Strip off from the West Bank and from the rest of the world. A blockade is a form of collective punishment proscribed by international law. The death toll is a grim reflection of the asymmetry of the conflict. In the past fortnight, the Palestinians have suffered over 220 fatalities, 80% of whom were civilians; in Israel, only one man was killed by a rocket fired from Gaza. Israel claims that its assault is an act of self-defence to put an end to the Hamas rocket attacks against its civilians. Hamas claims it is engaged in legitimate resistance to Israel’s military occupation. The chain of action and reaction is endless. But the underlying cause of the violence is Israeli colonialism. Israel’s spectacular victory in the June 1967 war was followed by an occupation of Arab lands that was supposed to be temporary but which, with the exception of the Sinai Peninsula, is now well into its fifth decade. For the Palestinians, Israel’s coercive rule has been a catastrophe at every level and a tragic sequel to the bigger catastrophe, the Nakba in Arabic, of 1948. But as the title of this new book suggests, the victory has also been a curse for the victors: it has transformed a small, united and predominantly socialist society into a colonial empire.