6 Palestinians killed in West Bank amid protests against Gaza assault
NABLUS (Ma’an) 25 July — Six Palestinians were killed on Friday as protests erupted across the West Bank in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli assault for the last 18 days. The deaths come after a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces late Thursday in clashes at Qalandia, bringing the total death toll in the West Bank to nine Palestinians slain in the last three days as they participated in demonstrations. Large protests were held in Huwwara, Beit Ummar, Hebron, Halhul, Bil‘in, Ramallah, Tuqu‘, al-‘Arrub, and in Jerusalem.
Al-‘Arrub – Israeli forces shot and killed Eid Abd al-Kadir Fadhelat, 28, just before sunset in al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron on Friday evening. Red Crescent coordinator Mohammad Khamis Badawi said that Fadhelat was shot with several bullets in the chest and shoulder, and was taken to a hospital in Hebron but died before reaching the emergency room. Badawi added that four others were injured with live bullets, and 22 with rubber-coated bullets in clashes that broke out after a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that several Palestinians “hurled rocks at soldiers” in the area and that one “attacked” a soldier and “attempted to snatch his weapon.” The soldier subsequently shot and killed him.
Beit Ummar – In Beit Ummar, Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in protest of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Organizers from the Palestine Solidarity Project said that approximately 900 people attended the protest and that Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition. Hashem Abu Maria, 47, was shot in the chest and died soon after. Organizers said that Abu Maria worked with Defense of Children International-Palestine and was shot approximately 30 minutes into the demonstration. Sultan al-Zaaqiq, 30, was also slain by Israeli forces during the clashes. Additionally, Abd al-Hamid Breigheth, 35, was shot in the chest by Israeli forces and died of his wounds.
Huwwara – Two Palestinians were killed in the village of Huwwara near Nablus on Friday after both Israeli settlers and soldiers opened fire on demonstrators. Khaled Azmi Khaled Yousef, 18, was killed, and three were injured on Friday when an Israeli settler drove by and opened fire at a protest march, the village mayor said. Khalid Mari Khalid Yousef, 18, died after being hit directly in the chest, a Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli forces who subsequently arrived on the scene got involved in the clashes, killing another Palestinian named Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22. Nijm identified the three injured as Tariq Issam, Muhammad Nasasrah, and Jihad Odeh.
Bil‘in – Fadi Fadhel al-Khatib, 17, was shot by Israeli forces with a live bullet in the stomach in clashes in Bil‘in. Dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, and fires broke out in the village’s fields due to the heavy firing of tear gas canisters.
Photos, short bios and a video interview — the Palestinians killed in the last couple of weeks and their survivors – “Humanize Palestine attempts to restore the humanity that is often stripped away when Palestinians are reduced to calculative deaths, forgettable names, and burned and mutilated bodies, rather than people who shared loved ones, stories, dreams and aspirations.”
West Bank / Jerusalem
2 killed as tens of thousands protest Israeli assault across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 26 July — Two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured across the West Bank on Friday night as Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators protesting in solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip. Thousands took part in rallies in Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, and dozens of other towns and villages across the West Bank that were called for by all Palestinian parties and factions. The rallies come after a day of heavy protests across the West Bank, with six deaths as thousands took part in a “Day of Rage” following the largest protest since the Second Intifada on Thursday which brought more than 20,000 to a march at Qalandia checkpoint.
In Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem, Nasri Mahmoud Taqataqa, 16, was shot dead by Israeli forces during a protest in the village.
In Jenin, around 10,000 took part in a protest march that led to the Jalame checkpoint north of the city. Bassem Safi Sadeq Abu Rob, of Qabatiya, was shot dead and thirty injured during clashes there, medical officials said. Ali Zakarana, a PLO spokesman, said that among the 30 injured were a number with dangerous wounds in the eye and the chest that had been taken to hospitals in Nablus.
In Tulkarem, clashes broke out with Israeli soldiers at the Netanya checkpoint west of the city after thousands marched there, where forces opened fire with tear gas and stun grenades. In Bethlehem around 3,000 took part in a march against the Israeli assault beginning at Manger Square and ending in the area of Rachel’s Tomb, where the separation wall passes through the northern neighborhoods of the city. At least two were injured and dozens suffered from excessive gas inhalation during the clashes, which broke out late Friday and continued into the early hours on Saturday. Clashes also took place in the villages of al-Walaja and Tuqu‘ near Bethlehem, where dozens of youths confronted Israeli forces. Eight Palestinians were injured with live fire after Israeli forces dispersed thousands of demonstrators in solidarity with Gaza….
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 July — Clashes broke out in East Jerusalem as Israeli police barred Palestinian men under 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, the last Friday of Ramadan, a day the holy site is typically packed with worshipers. Confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli police are ongoing at Hatta Gate and Council Gate, two of the entrances to the mosque, a Ma‘an reporter said. Earlier Friday, a Palestinian youth was seriously injured after being hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the head near Al-Aqsa. The youth was taken to Hadassa Ein Karem for treatment.
Demonstrators marched from East Jerusalem toward the Old City late Thursday, but were met by Israeli police officers, who fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, skunk water, and pepper spray. Store owners in the area closed their shops after Israeli forces hit them with skunk water, a foul-smelling liquid often used to disperse protesters. Palestinians were able to breach the police barriers at entrances to Al-Aqsa, and hundreds entered the compound. At least 40 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during the clashes across Jerusalem. Israeli police detained 40 Palestinians overnight, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted. “Throughout last night’s disturbances in Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, police arrested 40 Arab suspects,” he said.
1 killed, another ‘clinically dead’ from Israeli fire on Ramallah demo
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 July– A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces late Thursday as over 20,000 marched from a Ramallah-area refugee camp toward Jerusalem in protest against Israel’s Gaza offensive, a Ma‘an reporter at the scene said. The slain Palestinian was identified as 19-year-old Mohammad al-Araj. [Ma‘an later: Mohammad was shot dead in the left eye near Qalandia checkpoint on Thursday ... It was his 17th birthday.] Medical sources said another Palestinian, 27-year-old Majd Sufyan, had been declared “clinically dead” after being shot by Israeli forces. At least 287 Palestinians were injured by Israeli fire during the march, 154 of them with live bullets. Earlier, Palestinians had marched from al-Am‘ari refugee camp toward Qalandia checkpoint, a militarized crossing point between Ramallah and Jerusalem through Israel’s separation wall. Soldiers shot live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd of protesters, in addition to tear gas. Protesters set tires on fire and threw rocks and empty bottles at the checkpoint … Doctors in the main Ramallah hospital said they had received dozens of live fire victims and appealed for blood donors. The confrontation, and several smaller skirmishes throughout Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, came on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as the holy month of Ramadan nears its end.
Al-Aqsa Brigades opens fire on Qalandiya, injuring Israeli soldiers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 July — The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade early Thursday claimed responsibility for opening fire on Israeli forces at Qalandia checkpoint, launching a gun battle that they say wounded a number of Israeli soldiers. The attack came a day after the largest march since the Second Intifada took place at the checkpoint, where more than 20,000 gathered to protest the ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said that the gun battle, which took place concurrently with massive marches across the West Bank, lasted at least twenty minutes. The eyewitnesses confirmed that a group of gunmen shot towards the Israeli soldiers from the vicinity of the separation wall injuring soldiers there, launching a battle between the two sides. The witnesses told Ma‘an that bullets were fired from more than one area near the barrier, as Palestinian militants launched an ambush and fired intensely from three sides onto the Israeli soldiers. Israeli reinforcements were moved in during the clashes as ambulances rushed to the scene to evacuate the wounded soldiers from the area, eyewitnesses said. No information was available about the fate of the Al-Aqsa militants. Eleven Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces in protests in solidarity with Gaza in the last four days.
Mob attacks 2 Palestinians in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 July — A mob assaulted two Palestinians as they were walking on the trendy Jaffa street in the center of West Jerusalem on Thursday, their lawyer said, potentially the latest in a string of hate attacks targeting Arabs across Israel in recent weeks. The two Palestinians — who were identified as Amir Mazin Abu Eisha, 20, and Laith Ubeidat — were injured and subsequently arrested by police, who reportedly said they had threatened people in the crowd “with knives.” The lawyer for the two Palestinians, Khaldun Nijim, told Ma‘an that the two were surrounded by around 20-30 Jewish passerby as they were distributing bread at grocery shops on Jaffa street, the central thoroughfare of West Jerusalem. After Jewish passerby began verbally and physically assaulting them, he added, “The Israeli police stopped them in their van and pointed guns at them” while the mob “beat them with empty bottles.” “After they drove away a few meters, the police shot at them. They then stopped and were assaulted again.” The two sustained injuries in the assault and were detained by Israeli police, who transferred them to the nearby Russian compound police station for “having a knife and obstructing the work of the police.” An ambulance was called for Abu Eisha to treat his head and ear injuries, but he was prevented from being taken to a hospital for treatment. Nijim added that a number of members of the mob filed a complaint against the two for “attempting to attack them with a knife,” but he insisted that he planned to file a complaint against the mob and the police officer. The pair were bailed out and sentenced for 10 days of house arrest.
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in Hebron and Nablus overnight
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 24 July — Israeli forces detained ten Palestinians during predawn raids in Hebron and Nablus in the West Bank early Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.
Palestinians carry coffins through Ramallah to protest Gaza offensive
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 July — Palestinians marched through Ramallah on Wednesday carrying 500 symbolic coffins with the names of people killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, a Ma‘an reporter said. The rally was organized by the municipalities of Ramallah, al-Bireh, and Beituniya as a protest against the Israeli offensive on Gaza. Laila Ghannam, the governor of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, participated in the rally, along with members of Fatah’s central committee. “Palestinians are united and cannot be divided,” Ghannam said at the rally.
Bethlehem-area man succumbs to wounds sustained in overnight clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 July — A young Palestinian man from Husan west of Bethlehem died of wounds sustained early Wednesday during clashes with Israeli forces in his village, a Ma‘an reporter said. Muhammad Qasim Hamamra, 19, died of his wounds after being shot in the head by Israeli forces. The man was the second Palestinian to die from wounds sustained in the clashes. Mahmoud Hamamra, 32, was shot in the chest after the clashes broke out in Husan, Palestinian security sources told AFP early Wednesday. Medics at al-Mizan Hospital announced his death hours later.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian in protest near Bethlehem
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 July — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man and injured two across the West Bank early Wednesday, as protests against the ongoing Israeli military assault in Gaza that has left more than 600 Palestinians dead intensified. Mahmud Hamamra, 32, was shot in the chest after clashes broke out early Wednesday following a rally in the Bethlehem-area village of Husan, Palestinian security sources told AFP. Locals told Ma‘an that Hamamra received a deadly gunshot in the chest during clashes which continued until the early morning hours on Wednesday. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance evacuated Hamamrah to the nearby Beit Jala Governmental Hospital where he was operated on and then transferred to al-Mizan Hospital in Hebron. Director of al-Mizan Hospital Dr. Hazim Shalaldah told Ma‘an that the victim was in an extremely critical condition when he arrived and that after several resuscitation attempts, doctors had to announce his death early Wednesday morning.
Palestinians clash with Israeli troops across East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 July — Palestinians on Tuesday night clashed with Israeli forces across occupied East Jerusalem as protests in solidarity with Gaza erupted for another night across the region. Undercover Israeli forces detained seven young Palestinian men, including a paramedic, during clashes with Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of at-Tur late on Tuesday evening. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that a group of undercover agents ambushed the young men and managed to detain seven. They added that soldiers showered the protesters with rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades during the clashes. Similarly, clashes broke in Shu‘fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers overnight. A spokesman for the Fatah movement in the camp Thaer al-Fasfous said a young man was evacuated to hospital after he was hit in the face by a rubber-coated steel bullet. The East Jerusalem village of al-‘Isawiya witnessed similar clashes with Israeli troops.
Protesters set Israeli police station in Aqsa Mosque on fire
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 July — Jerusalemite protestors set on fire the Israeli police station inside the Aqsa Mosque at dawn Friday. Eyewitnesses said that the young Jerusalemites, who were angered with the Israeli massacre of children and women in Gaza Strip, managed to cross Israeli road barriers and entered the holy site. They added that the protestors organized a march inside the mosque and forced policemen out of it then set the police station on fire. The witnesses said that a number of young men were injured after the Israeli policemen fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them.
12-hour ceasefire to begin at 7 am as Gaza death toll hits 867
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 July — Hamas and Israel announced late Friday a 12-hour ceasefire to take place beginning Saturday morning, as the day’s death toll in the Israeli assault on Gaza topped 67 amid an intense sunset barrage that killed at least 14. “Israel has agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire from 7:00 a.m. Saturday,” said the US official traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was leaving Cairo without securing a longer ceasefire deal between Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas. The announcement came immediately after the Israeli cabinet rejected another proposal by Kerry which would have involved a ceasefire followed by negotiations. For his part, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas and all other militant factions in the Gaza Strip had also agreed to the humanitarian ceasefire. Netanyahu’s government previously said it wanted a ceasefire that would allow its troops to remain inside Gaza in order to destroy tunnels, which it insists that Palestinian militant groups to strike Israeli soldiers across the border. Although they have used these tactics since Israel invaded last week, groups have rarely used it previously. Hamas, meanwhile, has previously insisted that it would only accept a ceasefire that included a lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which prevents imports, exports, and the movement of people and has crippled the coastal territory’s economy. The announcement of the unilateral ceasefire came amid continued carnage in Gaza on Friday, where the death toll surpassed 865 with more than 5,730 injured in 18 days of Israeli assault. 35 Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian militants in the same time, along with three civilians.
(Attacks on hospitals, shelters, ambulances)
Israeli forces shelling Beit Hanoun hospital
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 July — Activists in the Beit Hanoun Hospital said early Saturday that the facility was under heavy fire from Israeli forces, trapping more than 65 people inside only days after a shell made a direct hit. International activists associated with the International Solidarity Movement told Ma‘an on Saturday around 1 a.m. that Israeli shelling of the area of the hospital had not ceased since the afternoon. The group said in a statement that 61 medical staff, three patients, and two ISM activists were trapped in the building, with a Swedish activist injured in the head and bleeding from an earlier shelling wound. “The shelling is still going and it has gotten worse,” an activist affiliated with the group told Ma‘an via phone.
Six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have been severely damaged since the Israeli assault began, according the health ministry. Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital has been completely destroyed, while at least five medical workers have died.
25 Palestinians, including a child and two medics, killed in Gaza Friday afternoon and evening
IMEMC 25 July — Palestinian medics report that ambulances continue to be targeted by Israeli tank shells and airstrikes, with ambulances hit in both Gaza City and Beit Hanoun. The death toll for Friday has reached a total of 45, including several medics. 1. Mohammad Matar al-‘Abadla, 32, was killed when an Israeli missile was fired at an ambulance trying to retrieve dead and wounded people from Khuza‘a, in Khan Younis. The medics reported that there had been coordination between the Red Cross and Israel to allow the medics to enter, but despite the coordination, Israeli forces fired a missile at them.
Medic dies in airstrike on ambulance in Beit Hanoun
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 July — Medic Hamid al-Barai was killed in an airstrike on an ambulance in Beit Hanoun.
Toddler ‘killed in ICU’ as Israel bombs Gaza City hospital
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 July — A toddler was killed and dozens of other Palestinians were injured in a Gaza City hospital late Thursday as an Israeli bomb struck the area, medics said. Ibrahim al-Sheikh Omar, two-and-a-half years old, was in the ICU of Muhammad al-Durra hospital when an Israeli strike hit outside. Medical sources said the boy was hit by shrapnel from the explosion, killing him on the spot. Thirty other Palestinians were injured in the strike.
The army has repeatedly claimed that hospitals have been used as launching grounds for Palestinian militants during the Israeli offensive on Gaza. On Monday, Israeli shells left four dead and wounded 60 at the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah. The attacks have also raised alarm around the world, as more than 50 mosques have been bombed as well as thousands of homes. UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday that Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes.
5 injured as Israel shells UN school serving as refugee shelter
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 July — The UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNWRA on Thursday said that Israeli forces shelled a school serving as a shelter for 1,500 displaced Palestinians for the third time during the ongoing Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA said in a statement that at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday Israeli fire hit Deir al-Balah Girls School in the central Gaza Strip.
The statement said that at the time of the strike the school was sheltering about 1,500 displaced Palestinians. Five people sustained injuries in the attack.
On Tuesday, al-Maghazi Girls School which also shelters displaced Palestinians in central Gaza came under Israeli fire as a team was inspecting damage from a day earlier, a UN official said. A UN official said a team, which was at the site with Israeli clearance, was at the school in al-Maghazi when Israeli tank shelling resumed.
Dozens feared dead as Israel shells UN shelter in Beit Hanoun
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 July — A spokesman for the UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA in Gaza Adnan Abu Hasana said on Thursday that they had received no warning before Israeli forces shelled a Beit Hanoun school that was serving as a shelter earlier in the afternoon. The attack killed at least 17 and injured more than 200 of the displaced civilians who had taken shelter there, the fourth time in two days that Israeli forces have bombed schools serving as shelters in the besieged Gaza Strip. The UNRWA spokesman said in a statement that the majority of the displaced people at the shelter were elderly people, women, and children. “We told the army several times to warn us because we know that the school is located in a dangerous place. We told them to give us enough time so we can evacuate women and UNRWA team, but they did not.” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted in response to the attack that the “Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.” He added: “Over the course of the day, UNRWA tried 2 coordinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians 2 leave & it was never granted.” … International medical organization Doctors without Borders called on Israel to “stop bombing civilians trapped in the sealed-off Gaza Strip, and to respect the safety of medical workers and health facilities” on Monday, as it said that the majority of those arriving in emergency rooms where its doctors were working were women and children.
In Gaza, attack on hospital delivers devastation and grief
CNN 22 July by Kareem Khadder & Tim Lister — In the violent bedlam that has engulfed Gaza, not even the hospitals are immune from attack. Such an attack happened Monday afternoon to the Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, where several artillery shells slammed into buildings there. Video from the scene shows doctors frantically bringing hospital workers and patients to the relative safety of the ground floor. One patient and four people visiting the hospital, three of them children, were killed in the strike, according to health workers. At least 30 were injured, they said. … “All the hospital staff were on the ground floor when we arrived. They were waiting for the ICRC convoy so they can evacuate the patients” to other hospitals. “We started walking around to the other floors to see the damage. One side of the third floor was bombed several times; we saw a lot of impact hits from tank shells on the walls,” she said. Operating theaters and the maternity ward were among the rooms damaged. “Some walls and rooms were totally destroyed, covered with dust and debris. Everything was upside down. The shock was so strong that a pillow in one of the rooms was hanging on the fan on the ceiling. “The tank shells fired not only penetrated through the exterior wall but managed to go through several walls inside the hospital, shows the power of the impact these shells did on the hospital.” The hospital is one of three in Gaza to have been damaged during nearly two weeks of conflict. Last week, the al-Wafa hospital in northern Gaza was hit by an airstrike.
WHO calls for humanitarian corridor in Gaza
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 July — The World Health Organization called on Friday for a “humanitarian corridor” to be set up in the Gaza Strip to allow aid members to evacuate the wounded and bring in medicine. The WHO said in a statement that four hospitals have been attacked in Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli offensive. The statement added that the organization called for a corridor in Gaza to allow the evacuation of the wounded and the provision of medicine. At least 840 Palestinian shave been killed and 5,400 injured in 18 days of Israeli assault on the tiny coastal enclave.
Photo Gallery: In Gaza, pediatrics wing crowded with war wounded
GAZA CITY (AP) 26 July by Khalil Hamra — The pediatrics wing of the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip is filled with the youngest victims of more than two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting. Palestinian health officials say more than 800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,200 wounded by Israeli airstrikes and tank fire aimed at what Israel says are Hamas targets. The United Nations says civilians make up three-fourths of the dead and a majority of the wounded. Among the dead have been at least 192 children and teens age 17 and under, the U.N. says … Here are portraits of 11 children recovering from their injuries at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital. They range in age from two to 10. Most were wounded in airstrikes on their homes or neighborhoods, with injuries ranging from a broken pelvis to a broken nose and fractured skull.
At Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, patients and medics struggle with war
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 26 July by Sara Hussein — As Ahmed Bulbul’s body is brought into the emergency room at Gaza’s Shifa hospital, a father standing nearby clamps his hand over his little boy’s eyes. Bulbul’s leg has been ripped open by shrapnel, and the exposed flesh wobbles as he is taken into the chaotic emergency room at the Gaza City hospital. He is dead, despite his younger brother protesting loudly through his tears that this is impossible. All the medics can do is place Bulbul into a cream-coloured plastic body bag and write his name, age and home district on it in red marker. During the 18 days of the latest conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement in Gaza, many of the dead and wounded have passed through Shifa. Gaza’s emergency services spokesman says more than 800 people have been killed and 5,000 wounded. At the hospital’s emergency room, wave upon wave of Palestinians arrive in ambulances and civilian cars. Outside, a phalanx of jittery policemen in blue camouflage uniforms tries to keep desperate relatives and curious onlookers away, and to herd photographers and cameramen behind a barricade. Inside the blue doors, a triage area of several beds awaits arrivals. But for many, like Bulbul, there is nothing medics can do except issue a death ticket to be attached to the body bag before it is wheeled to the morgue … Tragedies are played out on every floor of the hospital. In the paediatric ward, 10-year-old Shahed al-Araeer is waiting to hear from doctors about the piece of shrapnel that burrowed into her head through her left ear, where she displays a small scab. Her mother Amaneh is desperate for someone to tell them what should be done. “They say it’s near her brain, and if it moves it could affect her hearing or her movement,” she says. “But they’re not sure what to do. They’re afraid to leave it and they’re afraid to take it out.” She describes how the family fled the Sheja‘iya neighbourhood under fire, desperate to get Shahed to hospital. “We stuck to the sides of the buildings — there was shelling all around, and Shahed was bleeding from the ear and nose,” she says.
Israeli military commits another massacre in south of Gaza, ICRC unable to help
Middle East Monitor 24 July — Palestinian residents of Khuza‘a, a town east of Khan Younis city in the south of the Gaza Strip, accused on Thursday the employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of deceiving them, leaving them trapped under heavy Israeli fire, Pls48 news website reported. Surviving witnesses reportedly told Palestinian news agency Safa that the ICRC had asked them to flee their homes, encircled by Israeli tanks and under heavy fire by Israeli artillery, towards the entrance of the neighbourhood, where the ICRC staff should have been. The witnesses said that they started leaving their homes, but instead of finding the ICRC staff at the entrance, they found Israeli tanks that started firing at them, killing and wounding scores. Safa’s correspondent and the spokesperson of the ministry of health in Gaza both confirmed that there were many deaths and injuries caused by direct Israeli fire at civilians trying to flee the besieged neighbourhood. For the third consecutive day, Israeli occupation forces have been firing at residential homes in Khuza‘a, resulting in a massacre similar to the one committed in Shujaya earlier this week. As Israeli occupation forces have prevented ambulances from entering the town, wounded civilians in need of immediate treatment were rushed to the house of a local physician. However, witnesses said that after a few minutes the Israeli occupation targeted the house with an F16 rocket, killing the brother of the physician and wounding several others. Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights described what is going on in Khuza‘a as a massacre like the one in Shejaiya. “It is another humanitarian catastrophe,” a statement for the organisation said.
The Siyam family: Fled the bombing of their area only to be massacred by Israel elsewhere
Middle East Monitor 25 July — “I don’t want anything, except to see Israeli army commanders on trial as war criminals,” says Palestinian Zakariya Siyam, 37, referring to the killers of his wife and a large number of his relatives in the current Israeli offensive on Gaza. At the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Siyam is staying with his three sons who have been injured in the Israeli bombing of the Qassas family home in southern Gaza. Overwhelmed with sorrow, Siyam moves between the hospital’s departments to check up on his children, each being treated in different units. Recalling the details of the incident, Siyam, who is based in the neighbourhood of Zaytoun adjacent to the embattled Shujaya district, says that he had to leave his home seeking shelter at the Qassas family home, along with his wife Aliaa, 31, and his three sons Odai, 12, Mohamed, 11, and Loai, 10. Feeling relatively safe, the family accompanied children who were playing on the roof of the building, only to be bombed moments later by an Israeli drone, which killed nine members of the family, including four children. Siyam, who was away at the time of the attack, says he spoke on the phone with his wife on the second day of her arrival at the Qassas home, and agreed with her that he would pick her up along with her three children and go back to their home in Zaytoun. “Ten minutes later, their cell phones were off and I learned from news reports that the Qassas home had been bombed.” It was an enormous tragedy for Siyam, who was informed once he arrived at the hospital that his mother, wife, sister and nephews were killed, and his sons were seriously injured. “Why have drones bombed them?” Siyam asks, while holding his son’s hands, worried about his fate. “Everyone has become a target in Gaza… We fled bombs but were met with others… Where are Arab countries? Where are human rights?” Siyam went on to say that his sons do not know that their mother was killed. “I don’t know how I will tell them after they recover,” he says.
Israel slaughters entire families, says Palestine’s UN observer
NEW YORK(WAFA) 23 July – “With no regard to human life, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to slaughter entire families,” Tuesday said Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nation, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, during an open debate on the situation in the Middle East at the United Nations Security Council … A family of 26 people in Khan Younis, Al-Jami’ family; a family of 8 people in northern Gaza; Abu Jarad family; a family of 10 people in Shuja‘iya, Ayyad family; a family of 7 people in Shujaiya, Al-Hallaq family; a family of 6 people in Shuja‘iya, Al-Sakafi family; a family of 5 people also in Shuja‘iya, Sleem family; a family of 4 people in Shuja‘iya , Al-Hayyeh family; a family of 4 people in northern Gaza, Al-Zuweidi family, were among the many victims of Israel’s heinous attacks in just the past three days, with children and women constituting the majority of the dead.”
West Bank rabbi Dov Lior: Jewish law permits destruction of Gaza
JERUSALEM (JTA) 24 July — Rabbi Dov Lior, a leading West Bank rabbi who endorsed a book justifying the killing of non-Jews, issued a religious ruling saying that Jewish law permits the destruction of Gaza to keep southern Israel safe. Lior, chief rabbi of the Kiryat Arba settlement, issued the opinion after receiving questions about Jewish law’s position on harming civilians during wartime … “The defense minister may even order the destruction of Gaza so that the south should no longer suffer, and to prevent harm to members of our people who have long been suffering from the enemies surrounding us,” he wrote. The opinion cited the Maharal, an important 16th-century rabbi, Talmudic scholar and philosopher. Lior was arrested in 2011 after months of refusing to appear for questioning for his endorsement of the book “Torat Hamelech,” or “The King’s Torah,” by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, which justifies killing non-Jews. Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-On asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to launch an investigation against Lior for incitement.
Gazan prisoners mourn lost family members from inside Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 July — More than a dozen Gazan prisoners being held in Israeli jails have lost members of their families to Israel’s assault on the Strip, a Palestinian prisoner’s rights group said Wednesday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Salah Hamad, Hamza Abu Sawawin, Rami Zweidi, Taysir Breiem, Ahmad al-Sufi, Saddam Ashur, in addition to several others, had lost members of their family as a result of Israeli attacks. Some of the prisoners have lost their entire families to Israeli strikes, and some of their homes had been destroyed. A PPS lawyer who recently visited the prisoners in Nafha prison said that many of them were in a state of trauma after discovering that their parents or families had been killed in Gaza. “Some of them started to attempt to identify those killed … on TV,” the lawyer said. The statement said the prisoners were experiencing “the hardest days” of their lives.
TRNN Gaza reporter’s family killed in Israeli assault
RealNews 23 July — Middle East correspondent Yousef Al-Helou shares his story of how his home was targeted by an Israeli airstrike — JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. We are now joined by one of our Middle East correspondents, Yousef Al-Helou, for a special report.Yousef, thank you so much for joining us.YOUSEF AL-HELOU, TRNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Jessica. DESVARIEUX: So, Yousef, my condolences, because I know that you just got word that 12 of your family members were recently killed in Gaza. Can you just describe for us what you know about the situation? AL-HELOU: Well, the Israeli attacks on Gaza continued unabated, you know, regular airstrikes and random tank shelling. And today, Khuza‘a, a village which is situated in the eastern part of Khan Yunis, is facing the same fate as Shuja‘iyya. More than 55 people have been killed and that massacre–this is how people call it. So the people in Gaza, of course, they are terrified. And these random shellings and airstrikes have forced residents in different locations in Gaza to seek shelter at UN-run schools.And I’ve lost, sadly, 12 members of my extended family, and it’s really sad to hear this sad news. And my house was targeted and sustained huge damage. Obviously, it’s not the first house and it’s not going to be the last as long as Israel can carry out these horrendous airstrikes, randomly killing, shelling people, killing children, attacking civilian properties, hospitals, mosques, public buildings, even without warning people, occupants in the house. So death tolls keeps rising….
Oxford Brookes scholar fighting for his life in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 24 July by Jehan Alfarra — The third recipient of the annual Gaza Oxford Brookes Scholarship founded in the aftermath of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009 is fighting for his life in Al-Shifa Hospital after his home was bombed by Israeli forces in the latest assault on the Gaza Strip. Hassan Alhallaq’s 8 months pregnant wife, his 2 young children, his mother and his sister were all killed in the explosion. As the Israeli ground troops carried out an intensive operation in the neighbourhood on 19 July, Hassan had to evacuate once again and headed to his sister’s flat in Rimal, in the centre of Gaza City. Without any prior warning, an Israeli airstrike targeted the family flat on 20 July killing Hassan’s mother, So’ad, his 29-year-old pregnant wife, Yasmeen Yaaqoubi, and his two sons Kenan, 6 and Saji, 4. Hassan’s sister Hala was also killed along with her husband, Hani, and their baby son. Hassan’s father survived the attack, while he sustained serious injuries and was transferred immediately to the ICU at Al-Shifa Hospital. The Vice-Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, Professor Janet Beer, said in a press release: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Hassan came to Oxford with his family and became fully embedded into the life of the city and the University. Our thoughts are with him at this time.”
Jeremy Bowen’s Gaza notebook: I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields
22 July — The BBC’s Middle East editor reports from Gaza … I saw Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, giving an interview to the BBC after Israel had killed more than 60 people in the Gaza district of Sheja‘iya. He said he regretted the civilian casualties in Gaza but they were the fault of Hamas. Netanyahu said Israel had warned people to get out. Some had taken the advice; others had been prevented from leaving by Hamas. I was back in London for my son’s 11th birthday party by the time all those people were killed in Sheja‘iya. But my impression of Hamas is different from Netanyahu’s. I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys. Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told me that Hamas, whatever you think of it, is part of the Palestinian DNA. I met Sourani first when he was condemning abuses by Yasser Arafat’s men. He has taken an equally tough stance on Hamas. Now he says Israel is violating the laws of war by ignoring its legal duty to treat Palestinian civilians as protected non-combatants. Hamas, human rights groups say,also violates the laws of war by firing missiles at civilians … But it is wrong to suggest that Israeli civilians near Gaza suffer as much as Palestinians. It is much, much worse in Gaza. I defy anyone with an ounce of human feeling not to feel the same after ten minutes in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital with wounded and dying civilians. In the mortuary, it’s so overcrowded that the bodies of two children are crammed on to a single shelf. One day, they had only found enough of the remains of six women and children to fill a single stretcher.
Israel bans radio broadcast that named children killed in Gaza
The Independent 25 July by Matthew Champion — A radio broadcast that announced the names of some of the children killed during the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip has been banned in Israel. Human rights group B’Tselem was told by the Israel Broadcasting Authority that the broadcast was “politically controversial” and has already had an appeal against the ruling rejected. “Is it controversial that the children [aren’t] alive? That they’re children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public’s knowledge,’ B’Tselem said.
No Eid for Gaza this year
GAZA CITY (The National) 24 July by Hugh Naylor –For Fatima Syam, a quiet stroll through a park yesterday was a respite from the Israeli bombardments that have become an everyday routine for the past 17 days here. She walked through Unknown Soldier park with her grandchildren, Rahaf, 3, and Ali, 4. “They need to get out,” said, Mrs Syam, 47, referring to the nearby apartment that the children and dozens of other relatives have crammed into over the last week. More than 100,000 Gazans have been displaced by the fighting that erupted on July 8, according to the United Nations. More than 750 Palestinians have been killed and more than 4,000 wounded. The scenes in the park were surreal. As Israeli drones buzzed overhead like lawnmowers, dozens of children splashed in a fountain – the sound of their laughter out of place in the war zone around them. Adults watched the children or hung laundry out to dry on railings separating the park from the street. The roar of Israeli fighter jets and the thud of shelling could be heard in the distance. Moneer Al Ballawi, 32, sat on a bench, passing the time texting friends and breathing in the fresh air. “It’s just nice to see children smiling again,” he said. “I haven’t seen a child smile in Gaza for a long time.” Yet he too was unnerved by the situation. He was hoping that a nearby bank was dispensing cash, which he had not been able to withdraw since the war began. There were long lines and people shouting in anger. He hesitated to join the fray. “I want money. I am desperate for it. But those lines are too long,” he said. With the Eid festival next week, this is usually a time of shopping for food and gifts, but “there’s no Eid for Gaza” this year, Mr Ballawi said. “There’s too much death and loss.” Across town, things were worse. Yahia Hanadi Al Kafarna, 24, fled with her family from their home in the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun to a hospital in the area, then to an overcrowded UN-run school and then to an agricultural warehouse in Gaza City’s Rimal area. Seventy people were staying the facility, which had neither a generator for electricity nor a shower, and just one toilet. Dwindling fuel supplies and damage to the power grid from the fighting has left the city with just an hour or two of electricity a day. “It’s intolerable here,” said Ms Al Kafarna said, adding that they were getting by on biscuits, pita bread and canned beans. She had not seen her fiance, Ibrahim Fayyed, 27, since they fled their homes on Monday. He and his parents went to an apartment across the city. They had planned to marry on August 13, but was unlikely now, Ms Al Kafarna said. “We have to make it through this alive.” … Hamas’s leader-in-exile, Khaled Meshaal, on Wednesday said the group would not stop fighting Israel until the seven-year-long Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip was finally lifted. His comments were echoed by Mrs Syam, who said a ceasefire with anything less would be surrender, a loss of dignity, a return to the misery that caused this bout of fighting to erupt in the first place. “Let me ask you something: if foreign troops came to America and occupied it, would Americans fight?” she asked. “Of course they would! We’re doing the same here. We can’t live in humiliation like this. We’d rather die with dignity than live under humiliation.”
Palestinian minister goes to ICC over Israel
Paris (AFP) 24 July — A French lawyer said Friday he had lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister accusing the Israeli army of “war crimes” … The complaint targets “war crimes committed by the Israeli army in June and July 2014 in Palestine” in the context of the operation known as Protective Edge, Gilles Devers told reporters. “Israel, the occupying power, is carrying out a military operation which in principle and form violates the basis of international law,” he said. “Every day new crimes are committed and over 80 percent of the victims are civilians. Children, women, hospitals, UN schools… the Israeli soldiers respect nothing. “This is a military attack against the Palestinian population.” … The Palestinian Authority, which has non-member observer state status at the United Nations, has not yet signed up to the Hague-based ICC, due to what Devers said were “political” quarrels over the Palestinians’ status. But according to Devers, the complaint is still valid. The UN Human Rights Council is launching a probe into Israel’s offensive in Gaza, with rights chief Navi Pillay saying the Jewish state’s military actions could amount to war crimes.
Hezbollah chief makes rare public appearance for Gaza
BEIRUT (AFP) 25 July – Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance on Friday to show solidarity with Gaza on the annual Iran-led Jerusalem Day commemoration, an AFP correspondent reported. It was only the fifth public appearance by the head of the Shiite militant group, who has topped Israel’s wanted list since even before their deadly conflict in 2006. Nasrallah appeared on stage from behind a curtain to wild applause from the thousands in the crowd at the indoor venue in a southern suburb of the Lebanese capital. Jerusalem Day, celebrated every year on the last Friday in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, was this year dedicated to “solidarity with the people and the resistance in Gaza”. As the Palestinian death toll in 18 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza topped 800, Nasrallah announced: “Palestine is still the main cause” in the Muslim world.
Israel spokesman admits army ‘should have’ spared boys playing soccer on Gaza beach
The Forward 24 July by Hody Nemes — A top Israeli spokesman conceded the Israeli military should have been able to tell that four Palestinian boys killed on a Gaza beach while playing soccer were not terrorists. “The IDF had a target, a Hamas terrorist target,” Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told ABC, an Australian TV news outlet. “We had intelligence pointing specifically to that location and we had the indication that the perpetrators were on the beach.” “We had visual surveillance, clearly, to an extent that we should have been able to determine who was on the beach,” he added. The four boys, aged 9 to 11, were all members of the extended Bakr family and were killed July 16 while playing on a Gaza City beach. Many foreign journalists staying at a nearby hotel witnessed the boys’ deaths, which received extensive coverage in international media. After the strike, Israel said it was closely investigating the incident, which it called a “tragic outcome.” “We need to determine what happened between the gathering of the intelligence and what happened that caused this unfortunate human tragedy,” Lerner told ABC in the segment aired Wednesday.
Abbas calls on Palestinians to limit Eid celebrations
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 July — The Palestinian president called on Palestinians around the world to limit their celebration of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr to religious rituals only, stressing the suffering of the people of Gaza. President Mahmoud Abbas wished Palestinians well on the occasion of Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, by wishing that all Palestinians would be united under an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
How Israel persuaded airlines the Tel Aviv airport is safe
BloombergBusinessWeek 25 July by Justin Bachman — After a rocket fired by Hamas landed a mile from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday morning, airlines in the U.S. and Europe suspended flights to Israel, saying it was too dangerous. The next day, Israel’s Civil Aviation authorities sent a memo to international airline regulators and airlines, making the case that Ben-Gurion is well-defended and that travel is safe. Addressed to “All international aviation regulating bodies and foreign air carriers operating to Israel,” the memo (PDF) was signed by Giora Romm, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority and a former pilot and officer in the Israeli Air Force. It was provided to Bloomberg Businessweek on Friday by an Israel-based employee of an international airline, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to release it. Romm did not respond an e-mail late in Israel’s day, and the CAA did not answer the phone. In the memo, Romm wrote: “The Iron Dome launch batteries covering Ben-Gurion Airport operate under a specific set of procedures which I cannot go into in detail due to security reasons. I would like to note, however, that out of over 2,250 rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory (a portion of which have been directed at Israel’s center), not a single one has landed in Ben-Gurion Airport.” Israel’s ability to defend Ben Gurion appears to have played a critical role in persuading U.S. officials to end the flight ban, which had caused anger in Israel. The country also expanded an area over the Mediterranean Sea where aircraft could hold if the airport were compromised, the airline employee said, and it has reconfigured arrival and departure routes in response to the conflict.
Thailand urges Israel to relocate workers after rocket strike
BANGKOK (AFP) 24 July — Thailand on Thursday urged Israel to relocate 4,000 Thai nationals working near the battle-scarred Gaza strip after one of its citizens was killed. Israeli police said a farm laborer, Narakorn Kittiyongkul, died on Wednesday when a projectile fired from Gaza struck the greenhouse where he was working in the southern part of the country … The Thai Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Tel Aviv had advised its citizens to stop working in the area near Gaza. “The Thai Embassy has contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and employers to ask them to relocate 4,000 Thai workers in agriculture estates near the Gaza strip immediately and unconditionally to safe areas 10 to 20 kilometers (6-12 miles) away,” ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee told reporters in Bangkok. “But we will not evacuate our workers from Israel yet,” he added. Thousands of overseas workers, many from Southeast Asia, work on Israeli farms and in factories.
Analysis / Opinion
Inofgraphics: Who violates ceasefires more, Israelis or Palestinians?
Electronic Intifada 24 July by Ali Abunimah — The United States and other governments have harshly blamed Hamas for the ongoing slaughter in Gaza because they refused a unilateral “ceasefire” declared by Israel on 14 July through its Egyptian proxy. But as dozens of prominent figures in Gaza civil society write, “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” of devastating Israeli siege on Gaza, the civil society leaders said. “To do so would mean a return to a living death.” To put the situation in context, Visualizing Palestine (visualizingpalestine.org) created this infographic that charts the routine violations of the last Egyptian-brokered ceasefire from 22 November 2012 until 7 July 2014. Israeli violations lethal and most frequent While both the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance factions violated the terms of the ceasefire, a close examination shows that Israeli violations were more frequent and far more deadly … This new graphic complements the earlier one created in February by Ben White and Rachele Richards for Al Jazeera that covered the first three months of the November 2012 ceasefire. During that period, zero rockets and two mortar shells came out of Gaza. In the same period, Israel attacked Palestinians in Gaza dozens of times, killing four and injuring 91.
In Gaza, Hamas fighters are among civilians. There is nowhere else for them to go.
The Guardian 24 July by Harriet Sherwood – Lines are blurred when a guerrilla war is fought in as dense a place as Gaza but the IDF’s HQ is also surrounded by civilians – Israel‘s accusation that Hamas is using civilians as human shields has grown increasingly strident as the war in Gaza worsens. The charge is laid relentlessly by political and military leaders and media commentators, repeated in conversations by members of the public and echoed in the comments of foreign politicians and diplomats. On the other side of the conflict, the accusation is vigorously denied by Hamas and others in Gaza. The truth is lost amid the propaganda battle being waged alongside the shells, bombs, guns and rockets. What is certain is that the picture is more complicated than either side claims. Deliberately placing non-combatants in and around targets to deter enemy attack – the definition of human shields – is illegal under international law.
Israel has a new worst enemy — Twitter
The Forward 24 July by Gal Beckerman — Shortly after Israel began its ground invasion of Gaza, Anne Barnard, a New York Times reporter who has covered wars for over a decade, stood in the emergency room of the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and watched a 9-year-old girl die. The girl was alone, without family, nameless. And when the doctor finally pronounced her dead, Barnard and another reporter wept. And then she tweeted: “In ER, girl, 9?, lies still, staring. No relative w/her. Docs gently check pulse, again & again, until it’s time. A white sheet & she’s gone” Israel’s wars are always fought on two fronts — the actual on-the-ground one and the battlefield of world opinion. The tricky part is that a victory on one front very often means a loss on the other: Say a house is bombed, killing a man in charge of a rocket launcher, but it also killed his family, including five children, whose lifeless bodies appear on television that night. It’s not clear what front should have priority — your perspective on this will depend largely on whether you yourself are cowering in a bomb shelter in a city targeted by that rocket launcher or have the benefit of viewing all this from a safe distance. But what’s absolutely certain now is that Twitter has been a game changer for the public perception front, demolishing much of the distance that allowed for attempts at objectivity and balance, the careful construction of stories that bow to the narratives of both sides. No more. Now it’s what’s right in front of a reporter’s face, in the immediate present — what they’re seeing, what they are feeling. (And these tweets are reaching many more people than before: Twitter now has 100 million more users than it did during the last Gaza operation, in 2012).
Israel’s best weapon against Hamas: Giving the Palestinians hope / Peter Beinart
Haaretz 23 July — Unfortunately, as effective as Benjamin Netanyahu has been at destroying Palestinian rockets, he’s been even more effective at destroying hope and strengthening despair — So what would I do? First, I’d seek a cease-fire that eases those aspects of Israel’s blockade that have no legitimate security rationale. (That doesn’t mean acceding to Hamas’ cease-fire demands but it means recognizing that a cease-fire that does nothing to address the blockade – as Israel wants – won’t last). Here are a couple of examples. Since 2010, Israel has made it easier for goods to enter Gaza. But it still makes it extremely difficult for goods to leave. According to the Israeli human rights group Gisha, only two percent as many truckloads leave the Strip as did in 2007. If Israel wants to check those trucks to ensure they’re not carrying weapons, fine. (Last December, the Netherlands tried to donate a high-tech scanner for exactly that purpose). But essentially barring Gazan exports to Israel and the West Bank — historically Gaza’s biggest markets — is both inhumane and stupid. It’s helped destroy the independent business class that could have been a check on Hamas’ power, and left many in Gaza with the choice of working for Hamas or receiving food aid. In addition to goods, Israel should make it easier for people to leave Gaza, too. A quarter of Gazans have family in the West Bank. Yet even before this war, Israel allowed Gazans to travel to the West Bank only in “exceptional humanitarian cases.” Yes, Israel can restrict the travel of terrorists. But preventing young Gazans from studying in the West Bank – like preventing Gazan businessmen from exporting there – is self-defeating and inhumane. It feeds the isolation and despair that Hamas exploits.
Once and for all! / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 26 July — IN THIS war, both sides have the same aim: to put an end to the situation that existed before it started. Once And For All! To put an end to the launching of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, Once And For All! To put an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, Once And For All! So why don’t the two sides come together without foreign interference and agree on tit for tat? They can’t because they don’t speak to each other. They can kill each other, but they cannot speak with each other. God forbid … WHILE STANDING in an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv, I was asked by a nice young man: “OK, assuming that this war is bad, what would you do at 6 o’clock after the war?” (That was the name of a famous World War II Soviet movie.) Well, to start with I would drive away all the mediators and start to talk directly with fighters of the other side. I would agree to put an immediate end to the land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow the Gazans to build a decent port and airport. On all routes, effective controls must ensure that no weapons are let in. I would ask that Hamas, after receiving international guarantees, remove in reasonable stages all rockets and destroy all tunnels under the border. I would certainly release at once all the Shalit-exchange prisoners who were re-arrested at the start of the present crisis. An obligation undertaken under pressure is still an obligation, and cheating by a government is still ugly. I would recognize, and call upon the world to recognize, the Palestinian Unity Government and do nothing to impede free Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections, under international inspection. I would undertake to respect the results, whatever they may be. I would immediately start honest peace negotiations with the unified Palestinian leadership, on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. Now that so many Arab governments embrace Israel, there seems to be a unique chance for a peace agreement. In short, put an end to the war Once And For All.
Images from Gaza should trouble every Israeli / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 24 July — Israeli hearts are brimming with concern for Israeli soldiers in Gaza; but they have no compassion for victims on the other side, not even for children who are dying in gruesome numbers — That’s the number, as of Wednesday: 155 children. On Wednesday morning, another three were killed. Ten children per day, on average. According to the UN, it’s more than the number of Hamas combatants that were killed. The Al Mezan Center For Human Rights has published the names of 132 of them. The Telegraph, a British newspaper, published a death chart, in which it included the names of children, the dates of their death and their ages. It included babies in diapers, children, and youths. Each child and the name given to them by their parents. Four-year-old Bitul, three-year-old Suhila, six-month-old Bissan, four-year-old Siraj, two-year-old Nur – these were toddlers from among the 25 members of the Abu Jama’e family, killed alongside 127 others. The chart doesn’t lie: “Protective Edge” is “Cast Lead 2,” and it will overcome its predecessor in the amount of horrors. The chart wasn’t printed in Israel, nor will it be. There’s no place for it. We’re at war. Hamas is guilty of their deaths. Israel Air Force pilots did not mean to kill them. But don’t fear: if the chart were to be published, it would be received with unfeeling, or even, it’s hard to believe, outright joy, by the brainwashed public in this country. “Even Hitler was a child,” reads graffiti currently sprayed near the entrance to Netivot.
Gazans blame Israel, not Hamas / Amira Hass
Haaretz 25 July — Are Israeli analysts viewing the moves by Hamas and the Palestinian public according to their own logic, not the logic of those they are analyzing? — A commander in one of the infantry brigades said that residents of northern Gaza had stated during interrogation that Hamas had paid them not to leave their homes (Gili Cohen, “Haaretz”, 22.07). No reason to think he made this up. It’s possible that some residents – it’s not clear if and where they are still under detention or whether they were released after questioning only to flee to another unsafe location – told him what he later reported. Their words provide another perspective to repeated claims made by the shapers of conceptions and policies in Israel’s security establishment: It is usually stated that Hamas, through threats and scare tactics, forced hundreds of thousands of residents in endangered areas not to evacuate their homes. Now it turns out that the stick was accompanied by a carrot – money offered by Hamas. (The officer did not reveal how much and to how many people). I personally know several extended families that refused to evacuate Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya when ordered to do so by the IDF. If there were any threats made, they did not reach these families, and if any money passed hands, it didn’t come to them. Did it occur to the commander that people told the interrogators what they wanted to hear so as not to be viewed as Hamas supporters, so that things would go easier for them in their interrogation? Detention, especially after days of being terrorized under incessant Israeli bombardment, is not a natural setting for a friendly chat, particularly when the detainer is also the one who carried out the bombardment. Even if they were telling the truth, the families I know did not evacuate since it is hard to leave a home one has built with savings collected over many years. They didn’t leave since the IDF is the enemy, and it’s not easy to obey an enemy who has already displaced you, your parents or your grandparents on previous occasions. People could not begin to imagine the destruction that Israel was willing and intending to wreak, despite their earlier experiences.
Israel: Palestinians given ample time to evacuate to nearby bombing sites
JERUSALEM (The Onion) 23 July — In response to criticism surrounding the death toll during its ongoing incursion into Gaza, representatives from the Israeli government Wednesday emphasized that warnings sent to Palestinian civilians provided them with ample time to evacuate to nearby bombing sites. “We are being very careful and thorough as we carry out our targeted strikes, and I can say, without question, that Palestinians are given more than enough time to leave their residences and find shelter in a future bombardment target,” said Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, adding that whether alerted by phone, text message, or leaflet, Palestinians have sufficient opportunity to relocate to any number of locations marked for imminent aerial strikes. “Giving Palestinian civilians the chance to seek safety in the home of a family member or friend that will be shelled to rubble in the next 48 hours is a gesture we deserve praise for, not condemnation. In fact, this initiative has been a major success in this campaign.” Ya’alon added that since there were numerous bombing sites Palestinians could take shelter in, he was not responsible for whatever happened to people who chose to stay home.