West Bank / Jerusalem / Historic Palestine
Palestinian killed in clashes north of Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian on Friday during clashes with Israeli forces in the northern West Bank, witnesses said. Tamer Faraj Sammur, 22, was shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers in western Tulkarem [IMEMC: Deir al-Ghasoon] … Hamas earlier in the day had called on Palestinians in the West Bank to participate in “Day of Anger” demonstrations in cities and villages across the West Bank in solidarity with Gaza. Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank in a 24-hour period last week as tens of thousands took the streets in solidarity with Gaza in the largest demonstrations since the Second Intifada. The killing on Friday brought the total deaths in protests over the last three weeks to 13
Youth killed, 15 injured in clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — A Palestinian youth was killed and 15 others were injured Friday in clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah, a Ma‘an reporter said. Odai Nafiz Jabr, 19, was killed in the village of Safa after being hit by two bullets in the chest and one in the hand. Jabr was the second Palestinian to be killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank on Friday. Five other Palestinians were injured by live bullets, one of them critically after being shot in the chest. Another 10 Palestinian were injured by rubber-coated bullets. The injured were taken to Ramallah Governmental Hospital. Clashes broke out after a demonstration denouncing the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza. Palestinians marched towards Israel’s separation wall, where they were met by live bullets, rubber-coated bullets, and tear gas fired by Israeli forces. Youths hit a number of the Israeli soldiers with stones throughout the clashes.
90 Palestinians injured by live fire in Hebron clashes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — More than 90 Palestinians were injured by live fire during clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron on Friday, medics said. Wilid Zaloum, director of Hebron Governmental Hospital, told Ma‘an more 90 Palestinians arrived at the hospital with bullet wounds after being shot by Israeli forces. Three of the Palestinians were critically injured, Zaloum told Ma‘an. Many others were in moderate condition after being shot in the lower extremities. Organizers said 50,000 people marched in central Hebron in protest against Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of youths approached a military checkpoint at the entrance of Shuhada street in central Hebron and threw stones and empty bottles at soldiers, witnesses said. They also launched fireworks at the soldiers.
Palestinian youth injured as settlers attack a wedding near Bethlehem
IMEMC 1 Aug — A youth was injured, on Thursday night, when a group of armed Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian wedding party at the village of Al Khader, near the occupied southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Marwan Abu Swai, in his twenties, sustained critical wounds while in attendance of the wedding, when a bullet fired by Israeli settlers hit him in his back and exited from his abdomen, medical sources reported. Marwan was moved to Bethlehem city hospital where he underwent surgery. At the time of this report, no more information is available regarding his current health status. Local youth and residents clashed with the invading settlers and managed to force them out of the village.
Clashes with Israeli forces across West Bank overnight
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Clashes erupted across the West Bank late Thursday, as protests and violence against the Israeli assault on Gaza that has killed more than 1,400 Palestinians continued. Clashes and Israeli raids were reported across the region, including in Qablan, Ein Qinia, Kufr al-Dik, and Beit Ummar.
Qablan: The mayor of Qablan told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village from numerous directions just before midnight on Thursday. Mayor Hisham al-Azaar added that Israeli forces fired two bombs at Moussa al-Aqraa’s house in the southern areas of the village in an attempt to detain Zakariya Moussa al-Aqraa, who was not at the house at the time. Israeli forces also bombed the gate of a shop belonging to Samer Hassan Abdulatif, injuring him. Abdulatif was detained while wounded, al-Azaar added.
Kufr al-Dik: Clashes also erupted early Friday in Kufr al-Dik town in western Salfit between dozens of Palestinians and Israeli settlers. Witnesses told Ma‘an that several settlers attacked houses in the western areas of the town, raiding the house of Ziyad Darwish Ali Ahmad and assaulting residents. People nearby defended the residents of the home, forcing the settlers to leave the area. Israeli forces raided the town to protect the settlers, witnesses said, and they fired tear-gas and stun grenades as well as live fire at residents, suffocating many.
Ein Qinia: Clashes erupted in Ein Qinia village in west of Ramallah after youths set fire to an Israeli military tower near the town. Fire broke out in the Israeli military tower after youths threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks at it. Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades and tear-gas bombs at the youths when clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided the village. The youths, meanwhile, threw rocks and fireworks at Israeli forces once they had entered the town.
Beit Ummar: Four Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar town in the northern Hebron region late Thursday. A spokesperson for a local popular committee said that clashes erupted in the al-Ghahr area opposite Karmi Zur settlement in southern Beit Ummar. Four were injured with rubber-coated bullets during the clashes. Of the injured, only Saqr Sadiq Abdulkarim Abu Maria, 42, was identified. He was shot in the chest and moved to a medical center for treatment where his injuries were reported as “stable.” Dozens were suffocated by tear-gas grenades hurled by Israeli forces at residents’ homes and at al-Sumud mosque during the clashes. Red Crescent crews evacuated a mother and her children from a house after Israeli soldiers threw tear-gas grenades inside.
Jerusalem: Palestinian youth injured after kidnapping attempt by right-wing Israeli radicals
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Aug — A young Palestinian man from Ras Al-Amoud was reported to have been assaulted while in Jerusalem, on Thursday. According to his father, a group of Israeli settlers attempted to kidnap him after tying him and dragging him to their car. Ali Mohammed al-Abbasi, age 21, who works at a local bakery in the area, was on his way to Deir Yassin (Givaat Sahool) when a number of radicals approached him, armed with pepper spray, and with the intention of restraining and kidnapping the youth. When they failed to drag him to their vehicle, they assaulted al-Abbasi with a large amount of pepper spray, upon which another group of settlers began to gather, thinking that they were a group of Palestinians attacking another settler. Ali’s father confirmed that a fellow co-worker took his son to the hospital, after ambulance and police failed to respond. However, police did reportedly come to the hospital to ask Mr. al-Abbasi if he had any enemies, upon which they dismissed the incident as a dispute. Al Abbasi told Ma‘an News Agency that he was attacked previously this month, by a group of Israeli radicals at the same place, near his work.
On a related note, a Jerusalemite youth working the graveyard shift at a gas station in the same vicinity notified the administrators of “Ana Min Alquds” website, saying that three settlers came to the station and asked him to fill their car. The group then proceeded to fill bottles of gas, according to the youth. He asked them to stop and telephoned a senior employee of the station, upon which the boss instructed him to write down the car’s plate number, just in case foul play was suspected.
Attempts by settlers to kidnap Palestinians as young as two years of age are an increasingly common occurrence in the Jerusalem area.
Tulkarem governor ‘threatened’ after trying to stop Israeli raid
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 31 July — An Israeli military official threatened the governor of a northern West Bank city on Thursday after he refused to withdraw Palestinian Authority security forces, sources close to the governor told Ma‘an. Under the policy of Israel-PA “security coordination,” Palestinian security forces are not allowed to remain on the streets when the Israeli army raids areas under PA control. When Tulkarem Governor Abdullah Kamil refused to withdraw PA forces early Thursday, an Israeli military official threatened to fire at Palestinian police with “all kinds of weapons” if they chose not to leave, the sources said. The Israeli military official reportedly added: “Fatah is much worse than Hamas and is more extreme.” Although the mayor did not initially call on PA forces to withdraw, the forces left after Israeli troops entered the city, the sources said. The incident highlights growing controversy around the policy of security coordination even among top PA officials, as President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly come under fire in recent months for complying with Israeli military dictates despite increasing levels of violence directed against Palestinians.
1 injured, 7 detained overnight in Jenin, Hebron
JENIN (Ma‘an) 31 July — A Palestinian was injured by Israeli live fire early Thursday when Israeli forces raided the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. Palestinian security sources said that Munadil Taher Kabha [or Qabaha], 21, was struck by live fire in his feet after being shot at straight-on by Israeli forces as they raided his home early Thursday. Israeli forces detained Kabha’s brother Mahmoud 28, during the raid as well…
The spokesman for the local popular committee in Beit Ummar said that Israeli soldiers raided the town early Wednesday and detained four youths after raiding their houses. They named the youths as Alaa Bassam Hamad al-Alami, 18, Youssef Said Ali Sabarneh, 22, who is an ex-prisoner who spent two years in Israeli prisons, Mahmoud Haitham Mahmoud Sleibi, 25, and Asid Muhammad Ahmad Adi, 25, an ex-prisoner who spent five years in Israeli jails. Muhammad Awad said that clashes erupted as soldiers detained the four, as local youths responded to the raid by throwing rocks at soldiers. The soldiers responded by firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas grenades, leading to many cases of excessive tear gas inhalation.
Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers also raided Bani Na‘im town in the Hebron district as well and detained Hayil Murad al-Sleihi, 18, and Zain al-Din Moussa Manasrah.
Israeli forces also detained ex-prisoner Muhammad Muhammad Salim Hreibat from Dura, who has previously spent eight years in Israeli prisons.
Militants open fire at settlement near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Palestinian fighters opened fire on an Israeli settlement near Nablus early Thursday, in the latest in a string of armed attacks on Israeli settlements and checkpoints across the West Bank in the last two weeks. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that armed assailants opened fire on Shavei Shomron, located at a major junction on the main road leading north from Nablus. Israeli forces shot back live fire, with no injuries reported on either side … In the last two weeks, armed attacks on Israeli military sites and settlements in the West Bank have increased amid the Israeli assault on Gaza, which has killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians. On Tuesday, Palestinians opened fire and injured an Israeli soldier in Qublan, also near Nablus.
Israel arrests seven Palestinians from Hebron and Bethlehem districts
HEBRON (WAFA) 30 July – Israeli forces arrested Wednesday seven Palestinians, including three minors, from Hebron and Bethlehem districts, according to local and security sources. In Hebron, Israeli forces stormed Al-Fawwar refugee camp to the south of the city, where they arrested a 21-year-old Palestinian and three 17-year-olds after breaking into and ransacking their homes. Forces also stormed Bani Na‘im and Halhul, located to the east and north of the city respectively, where they arrested two Palestinians after breaking into their homes, according to the Hebron-based Palestinian Prisoners Society Director Amjad Al-Najjar. In the Bethlehem district, Israeli troops stormed ‘Aida refugee camp to the north of the city, where they arrested a 23-year-old Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his home
Hebron youth found burned to death
[Note: This story has been removed from the IMEMC website, though Ma‘an still has it.] HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 July — A Palestinian youth was was found burned to death in Hebron on Tuesday, a Ma‘an reporter said. Karama al-Hashlamon, 25, was pronounced dead early Wednesday in al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. The director of the Hebron prosecution Ashraf Mashaal, said that the general prosecution will transfer the body to Al-Quds University’s Institute of Forensic Medicine to undergo autopsy. Mashaal told a Ma‘an reporter that al-Hashlamon’s parents “found him burned in his house Tuesday morning and he was taken to al-Ahli hospital for treatment. He was pronounced dead Wednesday morning.” “The investigation is still under way and no one has been arrested yet,” the director added. “We are still waiting for the result of the autopsy.”
Live ammo used as ‘crowd control’
Occupied Palestine (ISM) 31 July by Vern — On July 29th, Palestinian activists from the Human Rights Defenders Group, as well as several ISM volunteers, went to the Almezan Hospital in Hebron, and met some of the Palestinians recently shot and injured by Israeli soldiers. Some of them were taking part in clashes; others were watching from rooftops or leaving their cars. They range in ages from 17 to 24-years-old. All of them were shot with live ammunition by the Israeli army. Here are eight of their stories: Abdi* is 18-years-old. He is from Beit Fajjar. He went to a peaceful demonstration, which turned quickly turned violent. The soldiers opened fire at the Palestinians, killing one person and wounding nine. Five minutes into the demonstration, the approximately 100 soldiers present began to use live ammunition. They did not throw stun grenades or use tear gas. There were no arrests. The tactic seemed to be to heavily wound or kill people and Abdi was shot in the leg with live ammunition.
Hope during wartime: a Palestinian return
972blog 30 July by Eitan Bronstein Aparicio — The displaced former residents of Kafr Bir‘em decided in the summer of 2013 to return to their village, and since then, they haven’t left. The author and his partner visited them one year later — We had to travel as far as Kafr Bir‘em to find faith in these sad and desperate times, during the terrible war on Gaza. We spent an entire day with the Bir‘em returnees. The last time we visited this community of internally displaced villagers was exactly one year ago, in their traditional summer camp, organized in order to educate the younger generation never to give up on their right to return to Bir‘em (the village’s original residents were expelled during the 1948 War; they were promised the right to return, but were never granted permission by the military). There were scores of children, youth and adults there, singing and dancing in the open church’s court. Far from a sultry and depressed Tel Aviv, we found determined people hanging on to hope and home against all odds. Ever since they decided to return, there wasn’t a single night they did not spend in the village – sometimes dozens of them, sometimes less – running various social activities and simply living there … The Israel Land Authority is working to expel them from the village once again. The cemetery, church and adjacent kitchen are beyond dispute, but any other sign that the returnees are laying claim to village property is immediately removed by the ILA. It also uses punitive measures and tactics of harassment:
Israeli forces pound Rafah overnight, killing dozens
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces continued its assault on Gaza for a 26th day on Saturday, killing over 50 Palestinians as airstrikes and artillery shelling targeted houses and mosques across the Strip. At least 35 of the Palestinians killed overnight were slain in Rafah, a day after an incident in the southern city led to the collapse of an agreed-upon 72-hour ceasefire. Medical sources said Israeli raids on UN-funded public housing buildings in the Saudi neighborhood west of Rafah killed at least 23 people after midnight. About 15 dead bodies from the attack on the neighborhood were taken to the Emirati Hospital in the city and eight others were evacuated to the Kuwaiti Hospital. Additionally, five people including three children were killed by a Israeli airstrike on the home of al-Nayrub family in the Sabra neighborhood of Rafah. The death toll since the beginning of the Israeli offensive has surpassed 1,650, according to the ministry of health. Over 8,700 Palestinians have been injured.
Israeli forces had also targeted Rafah on Friday after Palestinian militants carried out an operation in the city which left two soldiers dead and one missing. Hamas’ militant wing says the operation took place at 7:00 a.m., an hour before the ceasefire was to start.
“What happened east of Rafah Friday morning was that occupation forces took advantage of the alleged humanitarian ceasefire to penetrate our land for more than two kilometers,” a statement from the al-Qassam Brigades said early Saturday. “We estimate that our fighters who were in the area clashed with the Israeli troops around 7:00 a.m. before the alleged ceasefire went into effect. Then, Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling targeted Palestinian civilians after 10:00 a.m., breaching the ceasefire under the pretext of searching for a missing soldier.” “We lost contact with a group of fighters … when Israeli occupation forces penetrated east of Rafah. We suspect that they were all killed by Israeli shelling, including the Israeli soldier who, supposedly, was abducted by the group.” The Israeli army said that “an attack … executed against (Israeli) forces operating to decommission a tunnel” occurred at 9:30 a.m. “Initial indication suggests that an (army) soldier has been abducted by terrorists during the incident,” the army said in a statement. US condemns capture of soldier Though Hamas spokespeople challenged the chronology of events put forward by the Israeli army, the United States took Israel’s version of Friday’s incident at face value, and a White House spokesman called the Hamas attack a “barbaric violation of the ceasefire.” President Barack Obama said the US “unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers, and abducting a third almost minutes after a ceasefire had been announced.”
Israeli airstrikes hit northern, southern, and central Gaza Friday afternoon; 14 killed
IMEMC 1 Aug by Celine Hagbard — Air strikes [Friday afternoon] in different parts of Gaza killed 14 Palestinians, including 3 medics whose ambulance was directly targeted, a 4-year old and an 8-month old baby. This follows an earlier missile that targeted a crowded market during a declared ceasefire, killing 62. Meanwhile, a hospital in Rafah has been evacuated under threat of Israeli airstrikes. Update 23:30 local time: Local sources report that some 5km between Salah al-Eddin street and al-Najar hospital in Rafah is under intense and indiscriminate artillery fire, ambulances are unable to reach the wounded, and thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said, “We cannot reach the civilians to evacuate them, the wounded to provide medical care, or the dead to retrieve their bodies”. Continuous Israeli bombing in Rafah now is targeting government buildings and an apartment project belonging to the United Nations Development Project. In Khan Younis, Palestinian local sources report that three people who went to search for bodies in Khuza‘a neighborhood during the so-called ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ were targeted by an Israeli missile and killed. They were identified as: Wajih Sha‘ath, Fadi Al-Qawasmi, Ali Barbakh.
Israel bombs Gaza ambulance as Friday death toll surpasses 100
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — An Israeli airstrike hit an ambulance and killed a paramedic Friday as Israel stepped up its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip following the collapse of a ceasefire earlier in the day. Palestinian medical sources said that paramedic Atef Zamili was killed in an airstrike on his vehicle and that seven passengers were wounded. Zamili’s death brings to 16 the number of health workers who have been killed in Israeli strikes since the beginning of the assault 25 days ago. This is third 13th ambulance to be targeted in an Israeli attack, according to the ministry of health.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces widened their assault across the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, launching further ground movements in Shuja‘iyya in eastern Gaza City, Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The expansion of the invasion comes after Israel said one of its soldiers was captured during an attack on its military position east of Rafah inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas said that it attacked the position an hour before a ceasefire was due to start at 8 p.m., saying that it was a response to Israeli troop movements in the area as well as the deaths of 16 Palestinians in continued Israeli shelling and airstrikes overnight. It did not, however, take responsibility for the capture of the soldier, saying that Israel had fabricated the claim. Israeli forces pounded the Gaza Strip all Friday afternoon following the attack, as Israeli authorities vowed a “crushing” response to what they called a ceasefire violation. At least 40 were killed in intense shelling of Rafah during the Hamas attack on the military post, and at least a dozen more have been killed in air strikes and shelling since then. The deaths bring the total in Israel’s assault to more than 1,600 as well as nearly 9,000 injured, in one of the deadliest sustained campaigns against Palestinians in recent history. Many more are believed to be dead but stuck under the rubble of destroyed buildings, and thus as of yet unaccounted for by Gaza medical officials.
62 Palestinians killed by Israeli missile in Rafah; ceasefire is dead
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Aug by Saed Bannoura — The latest report from the massive bomb that hit Rafah on Friday morning is that over 62 people have been killed and 200 injured in the Israeli bombardment of a crowded marketplace, shattering the ceasefire less than 4 hours after it began. Israeli forces had already violated the ceasefire before this bombing – within two hours of the time the ceasefire was set to begin, Israeli troops had killed 4 Palestinians. Resistance factions responded by infiltrating an Israeli military base at Karaam al-Salaam, and abducting an Israeli soldier. Some of those killed in the Rafah bombing have been identified, but many more await identification. Those identified so far are: 1. Ibrahim Sulayman Al-Masri, 50 yrs 2. Nadia Yousef Al-Masri, 45 years 3. Ibrahim Al-Masri, 6 years 4. Mohamed Anas Arafat, 4 months…
According to Al-Akhbar English, Hamas has captured soldier Hadar Goldin, a second lieutenant in the Givati Brigade thought to be the second or third cousin of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. It is unclear whether he was captured before or after the cease fire was called, and the Israeli military used this as an excuse to open fire two hours after the ceasefire was supposed to have begun.
Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught
Mondoweiss 1 Aug by Dan Cohen — At 6:30 am, 90 minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into effect, Israeli authorities alleged that Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier. Though Israel claims that Hadar Goldin, 23, was captured by Hamas, Gaza’s ruling political party issued conflicting statements, eventually denying responsibility. In response to the alleged capture, Israel nullified the ceasefire and began heavy bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing 50 and wounding more than 220 people. A group of at least 70 Palestinian civilians, dozens of whom have foreign passports, attempted to flee to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, only to find it closed and deserted. Unable to cross into and Egypt or return to Gaza, the group is currently trapped in between … Throughout the day, Lia Tarachansky of The Real News Network and I spoke to Nalan al-Sarraj, a blogger and commentator who is among the stranded group. “My mother has a Libyan passport. Based on that, my sister and I may be able to enter Egypt,” al-Sarraj said. She described an extremely dangerous and unpredictable scene where they had little water, no food and no access to shelter. “The situation over here is very scary. We’re more than 70 people, mostly women and children, and mostly they have foreign passports, half of which are Egyptian. I can see smoke and fire, and we can see the explosions very close to where we are. Israel has declared Rafah a closed area so we can’t even get out of this place,” she said.
Eight family members killed in Khan Younis, eight more killed in different strikes
IMEMC 1 Aug by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported that eight members of the al-Farra family have been killed in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, while at least ten have been injured. Six more were killed in ongoing Israeli strikes … Also in Khan Younis, two Palestinians died at a local hospital of serious injuries suffered after the army bombarded their homes in earlier strikes, while many Palestinians have been injured, some seriously. Many Palestinians have also been injured in a recent Israeli bombardment of the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza city. The Ministry of Health in Gaza said the army committed massacres against entire families in the Gaza Strip, since Tel Aviv initiated the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza on July 8, killing more than 580 members of different families and wounding at least 1000. It added that 40% of the Palestinians killed in this aggression are families, while 12% (1424) of the total number of wounded Palestinians are from those families killed by Israel. Israeli missiles and shelled have killed more than 1455 Palestinians since July 8, while more than 8350 have been injured, dozens facing life-threatening injuries, and clinically dead. Many slain Palestinians are still believed to be under the rubble of bombarded homes and residential towers, especially since rescue teams are frequently subject to Israeli army fire, and denied access to various bombarded areas. The claimed temporary ceasefire in Gaza is supposed to begin at eight in the morning, Friday, but the army is intensifying its bombarded of densely populated civilian areas killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, a trend seen every time, hours or even minutes, before any temporary ceasefire starts. Just an hour before the ceasefire was supposed to start last Saturday morning, the army killed eighteen members of the Najjar family in Khan Younis.
This is what an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza looks like
GAZA CITY 31 July by Sudarsan Raghavan — It was around 2:30 p.m., and the word had spread on al-Jalla Street. An Israeli airstrike was about to unfold. The target: a gray, concrete building of moderate height in the heart of Gaza City. Children gathered on balconies. Young men congregated at an intersection. Others placed bricks and tires blocking off a section of the street that ran past the building. A man in a tank top and shorts served as a traffic policeman, directing vehicles to take a detour. Cars stopped. More people stepped out, their eyes glued to the ill-fated building. And they all waited to watch a macabre ritual of destruction on the 24th day of the war. A few minutes earlier, the Israeli military had telephoned the son of Bashir al-Ramlawi, 58, the owner of the building. How they got his number was a mystery. The voice on the other end of the line told the son that his family had to evacuate their home immediately. They were going to be attacked. The son frantically called his father. The father frantically told the rest of the family, which by then consisted of 35 members because many had fled their homes in other parts of Gaza to seek refuge with Ramlawi, he later said. Now, they were on the run again. Perhaps the neighbors saw the family fleeing within five minutes of the call. Perhaps the son called his friends. Perhaps the Israelis themselves phoned residents in the area. Whatever the cause, the word spread like a brushfire, and soon everyone along al-Jalla Street seemed to know of the coming airstrike. And they waited. Suddenly, a loud boom, and then, a puff of smoke shaped like a mushroom. The building had been hit. But no one left. They knew this was just the beginning. A few minutes later, another bomb screeched overhead and struck the building. The cloud of smoke spread, fogging the street. Then, a third one hit. The building was still standing. Still, no one left. They knew the drill. The first three strikes, some onlookers said seemingly speaking with experience, were small ones from Israeli drones. They served, the people said, as a warning to anyone still too close to the building and as a way to soften up the building, like a boxer jabbing his opponent, seeking that knockout punch. It came at 2:50 p.m. The unmistakable sound of an F 16 fighter jet roaring through the sky. A finned missile loudly whooshed over the heads of the people on al-Jalla Street, obliterating the building. A huge ball of smoke, triple the size of the first three strikes, rose toward the sky.
Israel says 5 soldiers killed by mortar fire Thursday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — The Israeli military on Friday said in a statement that five Israeli soldiers had been killed by mortar fire Thursday evening. The statement comes after Israeli media reported six had been injured in mortar fire on Eshkol on Thursday.
19 soldiers have been injured in the last 24 hours alone, the military added. The deaths bring the military death toll for Israel to 61, in what has been the deadliest conflict for the army since the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. 64 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian militants since the assault began, more than 95 percent of which have been combatants. Israeli forces, meanwhile, have killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of which have been civilians according to Gaza-based watchdogs.
Gaza’s ‘miracle baby’ dies after power blackout
Al-Arabiya News 1 Aug — Gaza’s so-called “miracle baby,” who was born via an emergency caesarian section after her mother was killed, died on Thursday. Doctors at the hospital where she was being treated said that constant blackouts and electricity shortages had affected her incubator in the intensive care unit. Dr Abdel Karem al-Bawab, head of the maternity ward at Nasser hospital, Gaza , told Agence France-Press Thursday that the ongoing electricity shortages played a role because “her oxygen tubes did not work properly and we had to resuscitate her more than once manually.” The prematurely delivered baby was born by an emergency caesarean section, Friday, in the central area of Gaza. Doctors managed to deliver the baby after her mother died when an Israeli tank shell landed near the family home. The 23-year-old mother, Shayma al-Sheikh Qanan was eight months pregnant when she died … Doctors had told AFP that the baby’s vitals were stable but she would have had to stay connected to the respirator for another three more weeks. Six days after her birth, the “miracle baby,” as she has been dubbed in the media, died in the intensive care unit which had suffered constant electricity shortages after Israeli bombing hit Gaza’s only power station. Shayma has been buried next to her mother.
Gaza Ministry of Health: Al Najah Hospital in Rafah evacuated as Israeli genocidal rampage continues
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 1 Aug — The Ministry of Health Gaza announces the closure of Al Najar Hospital in Rafah, due to Israeli shelling in the vicinity compromising its ability to guarantee the safety of patients and staff. The hospital has now been evacuated, bringing to four the number of government hospitals closed by Israeli attacks in the past three and a half weeks. El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, the only specialist rehabilitation hospital in Palestine, was forced to evacuate on July 17th, and completely destroyed on July 23rd. Al Durrah Paediatric Hospital was forced to evacuate on July 24 because of damage caused by an Israeli strike next to it, and closed. Beit Hanoun Hospital was evacuated on July 26 after several hours of direct and indirect shelling overnight, and closed. Israeli attacks on hospitals are a gross breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as are attacks on civilians. At least 65 people have been killed in the Rafah attacks, more than 350 wounded, and the attacks are still ongoing.
Thousands of displaced Gazans flee to UN shelters, only to face deadly assaults
JABALIYA, Gaza (The Nation) 31 July by Sharif Abdel Kouddous — The bombardment of Gaza is almost always worse at night. The missiles and shells rain down in greater number after dark. The sky is lit up by flares that illuminate the onslaught. With hardly any electricity, the Strip is turned into a vast silhouette. There is little sleep … At dawn on Wednesday, the Israeli military shelled a United Nations school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Up to twenty people were killed, including four children, and more than 100 wounded. The school was sheltering more than 3,300 displaced Palestinians, many of them women and children. They had gone there to seek refuge from the falling bombs. “Children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza,” said Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency, in a statement. “Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.” With Gaza’s borders closed and 44 percent of the Strip declared a military buffer zone, the UN-run schools were seen by many displaced Palestinians as one of the only sanctuaries from Israel’s continued assault. They were wrong. The Jabaliya school is at least the sixth UN shelter to be struck since the conflict began….
9 Palestinian journalists killed since July 7
IMEMC 1 Aug by Chris Carlson — Muhammad Daher, a Palestinian journalist for al-Resalah newspaper, was recently injured when Israeli forces shelled his home in Shuja‘eyya, to the east of Gaza City. He succumbed to his wounds on Thursday. According to Ma‘an News Agency, Daher is the ninth Palestinian journalist to be killed by Israeli fire since the military invasion of the Gaza Strip began three weeks ago. While he sustained serious injuries during the course of the shelling, several of his family members were killed immediately. The Israeli army has persisted in destroying entire apartment buildings throughout their course of operations, under the pretext of targeting wanted individuals living inside. Photojournalists Rami Rayan and Sameh al-Aryan, who worked with al-Aqsa TV, were killed on Wednesday, Ma‘an reported, as Israeli forces bombarded al-Bastat market in Shuja‘eyya. A mass rally roamed the streets of Gaza City, Thursday, in funeral procession for the three journalists, according to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency. Their bodies were wrapped in the Palestinian flag, their cameras laid on their bodies. Ahed Zaqqut, a sports journalist working for several agencies, was also killed Wednesday. Journalists Najlaa Mahmoud al-Hajj, Abd al-Rahman Ziyad Abu Hayin, Izzat Dhuheir, Bahad al-Din Gharib, as well as photojournalist Khalid Hamad, were killed in earlier strikes on the region.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Journalists’ Union has condemned the recent Israeli bombing of al-Wattan Voice TV headquarters in Gaza. It is the fourth attack since the beginning of the invasion.
Mohammad Omer: Foreign journalists leaving Gaza
KBOO Community Radio, Oregon 29 July — As the situation in Gaza worsens, foreign journalists are leaving the Strip by the busload, while bombs on Tuesday have targeted several media agencies and journalists’ homes. Mohammad Omer, the award-winning journalist from Rafah, reported that on Tuesday, following the single-worst night of Israeli bombardment, he saw a bus full of foreign journalists leaving Gaza. You can listen to the audio interview with Mohammad here.
Camera captures moment of deadly Gaza air strike – video
Guardian/Reuters 31 July WARNING: This video contains distressing images and audio.Israeli strikes killed 17 people, Palestinian authorities said, in a Gaza market as a TV crew was filming a crowd gathered near an ambulance. The area of Shujai’iya has seen some of the heaviest bombardment since Israeli forces began an offensive with the declared aim of curbing rocket fire by Hamas militants. Residents say shells and two missiles hit the area as a crowd gathered to observe a fire at a petrol station. In the footage people can be seen and heard lying on the ground and praying as a succession of blasts cover the area in debris
Gaza hospitals struggle to cope with wounded
Haaretz 13 July by Amira Hass — With wards filled beyond capacity and a never-ending stream of injured people, Palestinian Health Ministry in the Strip warns of danger of uncontrolled infections, post-surgical complications — The steadily increasing number of wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Strip means there’s no space in hospital operating rooms, with surgery sometimes being performed in corridors. On Wednesday alone 780 Palestinians were reportedly wounded as a result of Israeli military operations in the Strip. There are not enough hospital beds and surgeons sometimes operate on patients lying on stretchers on the floor, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. Due to lack of space on internal medicine and other wards at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, post-op patients are sometimes sent to the obstetrics ward or transferred to other hospitals. Around 30 patients have not been discharged simply because their homes have been flattened and they have nowhere to go; those 30 beds are desperately needed by other injured people. The wards are full to capacity and patients are lying on mattresses in the corridors. The situation is so bad, according to a statement from the ministry, that some patients are sleeping two to a bed, while others are being prematurely discharged. In many cases the hospital staff, burdened with caring for dozens of new injured people arriving every few hours, cannot keep up with documenting patients’ condition in real time or phases of care and some of the medical information has to be noted down afterward. The ministry warns that these conditions are a recipe for further disaster, in the form of infections that cannot be controlled and fatal post-surgery complications. There have already been cases of patients who died because lifesaving treatment came too late. The ministry says hospital staff levels would have to be doubled in order to care for all the injured, and as a result patients are not getting the care they need. Almost 8,000 Palestinians have been injured in the Gaza Strip since the war began, more than three weeks ago … More than 60 percent of government medical workers who were hired by the Hamas government have not been paid for several months, yet they continue to put in 24-hours-on, 24-hours-off shifts, together with hospital doctors and nurses who are receiving their salaries.
Scientist who studied at Manchester University killed in Israeli shell attack on UN car in Gaza
Manchester Evening News 1 Aug by Dan Thompson — A scientist who studied at Manchester University has been killed after the UN car he was in was hit during an Israeli military assault on Gaza. Dr Bashir al-Hajjar died alongside his younger brother Muneer during the strike in Beer al-Naja in the north of the region. They were travelling in a marked United Nations Relief and Works Agency car when shells landed in front of it and on its bonnet. Relatives told the M.E.N. how Dr al-Hajjar, a father-of-one, died instantly – while Muneer, who worked for the UN, lived for six minutes as he begged rescuers to help his brother and not him. Muneer’s eight-year-old son, also in the vehicle, survived but has been left with serious leg injuries … Dr Ramy Abdu, the Gaza-based chair of human rights group Euro-mid Observer, became close friends with Dr al-Hajjar as they both studied in Manchester. He said: “Bashir didn’t just want to contribute to the knowledge of Palestine, he wanted to contribute to the knowledge of the whole world. He wanted to use the example of Palestine to show everyone how to avoid the suffering we have experienced. He was really intelligent, hard-working, very polite, not involved in politics at all.”
His name was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian soccer star killed in Gaza
The Nation 1 Aug by Dave Zirin — All it took was a recording of Donald Sterling insulting Magic Johnson in a derogatory manner for the twenty-four-hour news world to stop on its axis. Now imagine if Donald Sterling — in all of his paranoid, racist fervor — had an army at his disposal and bombed Magic Johnson in his home, killing him in his sleep. If such a scenario sounds like hacky Phillip K. Dick fan fiction as written by Mike Lupica, then you have not been paying attention to the dystopian, genocidal panorama in Gaza, where no one is safe. You are unfamiliar with the name Ahed Zaqout. Ahed Zaqout was a 49-year-old sportscaster and television host in Gaza, a national sports voice for a people without a nation. Two decades ago, he was a soccer star: the midfielder for the Palestinian national soccer team. On Wednesday, he was killed in his bed by the bombs of the Israeli Defense Forces. As Gaza sports journalist Khaled Zaher told Reuters, “Palestine has lost one of its best players, he may have been the best midfielder we ever [had]” Why the IDF was “defending” itself against Zaqout is a mystery. He was no Muhammad Ali, using sports to advance any kind of political cause. He was that most conventional and familiar of person in sports: the ex-star jock turned broadcaster. But in Gaza, what we may see as conventional can become political. Zaqout was someone whose voice, sharp wit, and trenchant analysis was a source of joy and escape for a people under constant siege. Providing escape to the trapped of Gaza was in and of itself a political act. Was Zaqout actually targeted, or did he die in yet another pitiless IDF bombing of civilians?
Who is behind Gaza’s mass execution?
KHUZA‘A, Gaza (Daily Beast) 1 Aug by Jesse Rosenfeld– In a small bathroom on the edge of the Gaza town of Khuza‘a there are the haunting signs of what looks like the summary execution of several Palestinians. This once vibrant village near the border with Israel sits on the edge of the city of Khan Younis, but it is well within the 1.8-mile “buffer zone” that Israel has turned into a no-man’s land. It has been inaccessible for weeks as Israeli bombardment and troops try to take out heavy guerrilla resistance. Now all that’s left is rubble, bombed-out buildings and the all-encompassing, sickening smell of death. The temporary ceasefire announced Thursday night was supposed to give the residents of places like this time to return home, take stock of the damage and collect belongings. But the “72-hour” ceasefire broke down after 90 minutes, and as I walked through the main street, where pieces of humans were visible beneath homes and stores, the constant thud of exploding Israeli shells grew closer and closer. As I reach the berm of sand, tile and stucco that marked a kind of front line, bodies are being piled on carts in the street. Near the ruins of a demolished store, the black ammunition vests worn by Palestinian fighters lie in tatters as if hastily stripped off. There are no bodies or weapons nearby. Suddenly journalists and local residents are shouting from a house on the edge of the front. The small family home is still intact but the stench of rotting flesh that comes from inside is overpowering. A barefoot corpse in camouflaged khakis is being carried into the street, partially wrapped in a rug, as I enter the house. His partly burned and partly decomposing face is unrecognizable as anyone who was ever alive and breathing. Witnesses say there were at least six bodies piled together inside this one tiled room where the air is poisonous with decay. Blood and blackened remnants are caked on the bathroom floor. The walls have been drenched in blood and they are pocked with scores of bullet holes that look as if they were fired from an automatic weapon at waist level. Some of the bullet holes are in line, as if the gun were sweeping across its targets. There is also soot staining the tiles, suggesting the bodies were burned or there had been a small blast. Several tiles have fallen away from the wall. The house is filled with casings from the bullets used in assault rifles. They are marked on the bottom as “IMI” (Israel Military Industries). What happened here? It is the kind of place and the kind of incident that may be studied for years. We may hear that the Palestinians were executing suspected collaborators, or that a lone Israeli soldier went mad and started murdering prisoners. It could be that members of an Israeli army unit at the center of the fighting decided to take out their rage on those they captured. There may be many theories. All I can tell you is what I saw and heard at the scene this day.
The awful decisions I’ve made to protect my Palestinian children from this war / Wejdan Abu Shammala
Washington Post 30 July — Wejdan Abu Shammala, who was born and raised in Gaza’s Khan Younis refugee camp, has a masters in human-resources management from Golden Gate University. She is married to a Palestinian German — My older son was so excited when the Israeli bombing raids began. “Fireworks!” yelled Rami, 4. “No,” big sister Maryam, 6, replied. “That is fire-bombing.” “No, it’s fireworks, but a little bit different from what we used to see in Germany,” he replied as Hasan, 2, took everything in, wide-eyed and terrified. “Okay, okay,” conceded 6-year-old Maryam, wisely. “You are right.” But I knew she was still far too young to understand fully. My children used to talk about toys, “The Lion King” and books they were reading. Now they chat endlessly with each other about the war, bombings, shelling and the difference between F-16s and commercial jets. They want to know how many deaths or injuries occur after every strike. This is the first war they have endured. They were born and raised in Germany, so they missed “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-09 and “Operation Pillar of Defense” in 2012. We came back to Gaza one year ago because my mother was extremely ill (totally blind because of diabetes), and with the Rafah border consistently closed it’s impossible to get someone in her condition to Cairo, let alone to Germany. Since our return, my children are constantly asking questions. Why don’t kids in Gaza have playgrounds? Why do children play in crowded streets? Why don’t their peers have enough food? It breaks my heart to answer these questions, but at least I know how. Since the war started, though, I’m stumped more and more often — and the questions are multiplying. What is happening, Mom? Why are they killing children? (Three of their young second young cousins — Ibrahim, Eman, and Asem — died, along with a pregnant woman and four other children, when Israel fired missiles at their multi-family apartment building. No military target was identified.) Will we die, too? Why do they hate us? Don’t they have children? … The most painful question they’ve asked me is a response to our neurotic nighttime habits. One night, I make all three sleep in the same bedroom with us, hoping to increase the odds they’ll survive if a shell hits one of the empty rooms in our house. But then the next night, I’ll separate them, thinking that if I divide my children they won’t all die in an attack. (Unless we’re hit by a half-ton bomb, rather than artillery shell, in which case we’ll all be killed, anyway.)
Video: UN spokesman Chris Gunness breaks down during interview on Gaza
Al Jazeera 31 July — Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, succumbs to his emotions during a live interview with Al Jazeera. Gunness was being interviewed about an attack on a UN school shelter in which at least 15 people, mostly women and children, were killed. Gunness says ‘What is happening in Gaza, particularly to the children, is an affront to the humanity of all of us’.
Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state
IMEMC 30 July by Chris Carlson — The Latin American country of Bolivia has renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its military offensive in Gaza, declaring it a terrorist state. According to a recent Ma‘an News Agency report, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced the move on Wednesday during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba … The 1972 immigration treaty previously allowed Israelis to travel freely in between Israel and Bolivia without a visa. The country broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009, over a previous massacre on Gaza by the Israeli military. In mid-July of this year, President Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for crimes against humanity.
UNRWA Goodwill Ambassador makes plea for Gaza population
AMMAN (WAFA) 30 July – UNRWA Goodwill Ambassador Mohammad Assaf made Wednesday an emotional plea for the people of Gaza upon landing in Jordan, said an UNRWA press release issued online. Heading from Dubai to Amman as part of an emergency relief flight carrying pre-packaged Halal beef, hygiene kits and other supplies to Gaza population, Assaf, Arab Idol winner and popular singer from Gaza, made an emotional plea for the people of Gaza. “There is pain in my heart from what is happening in my town and to my people in my beloved home, Gaza is hurting. No words can describe what I feel and how the Arab world feels and how the world feels,” Assaf said. “Now we all have to help my beloved people in Gaza, all those who suffer in Gaza, all those who suffer under the attacks. Thanks to all everywhere. We have to help Gaza stand up on its feet one more time, Gaza is strong. Gazans are heroes. They always get back on their feet after they have been destroyed. That is the Gaza I trust. The number of people who have been killed is so immense, civilians, children, women, elderly. It is a very bad situation,” Assaf added. Assaf was born and grew up in Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, where several extended families have been wiped out in recent days
Celebrities stir passions with Gaza views
AFP (30 July) by Pop idols and professional athletes are going public with strong views about Gaza, putting their relations with fans on the line while stirring up a social media frenzy. More often than not, celebrity sympathies have been leaning in favor of Palestinians as the Israeli assault on Hamas rolls into its fourth week and the death toll keeps rising. Zayn Malik of the British boy band One Direction was the latest boldface name to voice his concern when he posted “#FreePalestine” on his Twitter account Sunday. As of Tuesday, his message had been retweeted 220,000 times, and favorited just as often, among his 13 million followers worldwide. But it also angered Israeli fans — with some going so far as to make death threats against the 21-year-old heartthrob, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani heritage. The roster of celebrities — many not known for political activism — weighing in on Gaza has grown since pop diva Rihanna and basketball star Dwight Howard tweeted #FreePalestine. Social media gives celebrities unprecedented power to engage directly with millions of fans worldwide, said George Washington University media professor William Youmans. “But when they wade into political matters, they run the risk of alienating a certain number of their fans,” Youmans, who’s been monitoring celebrity Gaza tweets, told AFP on Tuesday. Deleted within minutes Rihanna — who performed in Tel Aviv last year — deleted her post within minutes, as did Howard who declared that he’d made a mistake and that he would never comment again on global affairs. Dance-pop songstress Selena Gomez meanwhile caused a stir with an image on her Instagram account that began: “It’s About Humanity. Pray for Gaza.” Her post generated 654,000 likes….
Algerians observe minute of silence in solidarity with Gaza
ALGIERS (IANS) 31 July — Algerian officials Thursday declared their country’s solidarity with the distressed population in the Gaza Strip by observing a minute of silence, a symbolic gesture of support for Palestinians as Israel continues to pummel the embattled coastal enclave. Officials Wednesday announced that a minute of silence, as well as a short five-minute pause from work, would be observed midday Thursday in all public and private Algerian institutions in remembrance of the Gazan victims of Israeli airstrikes and in solidarity with the Palestinian people. State-run television broadcast live pictures from government offices as Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and his cabinet stood in remembrance for five minutes, Xinhua reported. Trade Unions and human right activists in different parts of the nation also staged sit-ins in public squares, as they chanted slogans denouncing Israel’s aggressive campaign against Gaza, urging world powers to do more to prevent the killing of Palestinian children. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika pledged to send an aid package worth around $25 million to Gaza.
European Union provides €13 million to East Jerusalem hospitals
BRUSSELS (WAFA) 31 July – “Today, the European Union is responding with a contribution of €13 million to the major cash flow problems of East Jerusalem Hospitals as a result of the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis,” Wednesday said the European Union in a press release. “The contribution, which is channeled through the PEGASE mechanism, will cover the outstanding costs of referrals of patients for treatment to East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health,” the release added. “With an overall contribution of €36 million since 2012, the EU is covering the referral costs over a period of nearly two years (January 2012 to October 2013) for patients referred for treatment in East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.”
Saudi King condemns Gaza war but not Israel
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) 1 Aug by Abdullah al-Shihri and Aya Batrawy — Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah condemned the war in Gaza Friday as a “collective massacre” and a crime against humanity, but stopped short of directly condemning Israel for its ground campaign against Hamas. Unlike past Gaza wars, including the devastating 2008 offensive, the Saudi monarch did not condemn Israel outright for the conflict, which officials say has killed at least 1,500 Palestinians, mainly civilians, since it began on July 8. Israel says 63 of its soldiers and three civilians in Israel have been also killed. Instead King Abdullah appeared to suggest that both Israel and Hamas were responsible, saying that the violence in Gaza has led to “various forms” of terrorism whether from groups, organizations or states … The 90 year-old monarch’s apparent balancing act was indicative of the recent shift in regional politics, where Egypt’s leadership and other states opposed to Islamist parties have cracked down on groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned Hamas. They have also warned their citizens against joining radical Jihadi groups running rampant in places like Iraq and Syria.
Despite concerns, US restocks Israel with ammunition
Washington (AFP) 31 July by Jo Biddle — The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel’s supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza. But while both the White House and the State Department condemned the shelling of the UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza in which at least 16 Palestinians were killed, neither would assign blame to staunch US ally Israel. “Obviously nothing justifies the killing of innocent civilians seeking shelter in a UN facility,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged, in some of the toughest US comments since the start of the 23-day fighting in the Gaza Strip. “Innocent Palestinians seeking refuge in these schools should not have shells dropped on them, should not come under attack.” The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said Israeli forces had hit the school, which had been sheltering some 3,300 Gazans. But despite heated exchanges with reporters, Harf stressed that “we don’t know for certain who shelled this school, we need to get all the facts.”
US Congress approves funding for Israel’s Iron Dome
WASHINGTON (AFP) 2 Aug — The US Congress approved $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, credited with shooting down rockets fired by Gaza militants before they reach their targets. House of Representatives approved the funding by 395-8 in a late Friday vote. The Senate earlier approved the measure unanimously before the start of its five week summer recess. The measure now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature. The emergency spending funds, which adds to the US deficit, will restock Israel’s Iron Dome system with interceptor missiles. The funding is part of the administration’s request of $3.1 billion for military assistance to Israel, the world’s largest beneficiary of US foreign aid. Congress appropriated $235 million to Iron Dome last year.
Analysis / Opinion
Israel creates ‘no man’s land’ in Gaza, shrinking Strip by 40%
[with maps] BEIT HANOUN, Gaza (Daily Beast) 28 July by Jesse Rosenfeld — This narrow strip of land that used to be called “the Gaza Strip,” already one of the more densely populated places on Earth, is growing dramatically smaller. The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory. What that means on the ground is scenes of extraordinary devastation in places like the Al Shajaya district approaching Gaza’s eastern frontier, and Beit Hanoun in the north. These were crowded neighborhoods less than three weeks ago. Now they have been literally depopulated, the residents joining more than 160,000 internally displaced people in refuges and makeshift shelters. Apartment blocks are fields of rubble, and as I move through this hostile landscape the phrase that keeps ringing in my head is “scorched earth.” It’s not like Israel didn’t plan this. It told tens of thousands of Palestinians to flee so its air force, artillery and tanks could create this uninhabitable no-man’s land of half-standing, burned-out buildings, broken concrete and twisted metal. During a brief humanitarian ceasefire some Gazans were able to come back to get their first glimpse of the destruction this war has brought to their communities, and to sift through their demolished homes to gather clothes or other scattered bits of their past lives. But many were not even able to do that … Rashid al Delo and his 11 children were, like Haels, blocked by Israeli machine-gun fire when they tried to return to their home near the bombed-out Wafa Hospital in Al Shajaya. But despite the dire reality, al Delo, who used to work in Israel but has been unemployed these last 15 years, is determined to salvage his life. “We will rebuild Gaza again and again, despite the force of the Israelis,” he said with confidence as he stood below the Gaza City apartment that belongs to his in-laws and houses, now, 30 members of their extended family. In Beit Hanoun the systematic destruction mirrors Al Shajaya. I walk past old men and teenagers trying to lift cinderblocks and slabs of stucco with their bare hands, sometimes in search of a mattress and other times in search of a relative. The desert of demolition only becomes more vast as I get closer to the Israeli border. Individually razed homes and stores give way to gray and white plains of obliterated walls with hills of contorted iron bars and broken-up slabs. Here the bodies are hidden under the new landscape and it will take more than a brief pause in fighting to unearth the gruesome extent of the town’s suffering. “Scorched earth,” historically, means destroying land to deprive the encroaching enemy of its use. Israelis shy away from using the phrase to describe what they are doing because, in Israel, it brings to mind the strategy of the Nazi retreat from Russia at the end of the Second World War.
South Wales Echo letters: Thursday, July 31, 2014
How Israel explains the bloodshed — A quick guide to Israel PR methods:
1. We haven’t heard reports of deaths, will check into it
2. The people were killed, but by a faulty Palestinian rocket/bomb
3. OK we killed them, but they were terrorists
4. OK they were civilians, but they were being used as human shields
5. OK there were no fighters in the area, so it was our mistake. But we kill civilians by accident, they do it on purpose
6. OK we kill far more civilians than they do, but look at how terrible other countries are.
7. Why are you still talking about Israel ? Are you some kind of anti-Semite?
Repeat from step 1. Test this against the next interview you hear or watch.
Secretary, Cardiff Stop the War Coalition
Racism is the foundation of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge / Joel Beinin
On June 30 Ayelet Shaked, chairwoman of the Knesset faction of the ultra-right wing ha-Bayit ha-Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, a key member of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu, posted on her Facebook page a previously unpublished article written by the late Uri Elitzur. Elitzur, a pro-settler journalist and former chief-of-staff to Netanyahu, wrote “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism… They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now, this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They must follow their sons. Nothing would be more just. They should go, as well as the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Shaked’s post appeared the day the bodies of three abducted settler teens — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach — were discovered. It has since received more than 5,200 “likes.” For over two weeks, Netanyahu and the media whipped the country into a hysterical state, accusing Hamas of responsibility for abducting the teens without providing evidence to support the claim and promoting hopes that they would be found alive, although the government knew that the boys were likely murdered within minutes of their abduction. Their deaths provided a pretext for more violent expressions of Israeli anti-Arab racism than ever before. The viciousness of Mordechai Kedar, lecturer in Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, was even more creative than Shaked and Elitzur’s merely genocidal proposal. “The only thing that can deter terrorists like those who kidnapped the children and killed them,” he said, “is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.” As a university-based “expert,” Kedar’s heinous suggestion is based on his “understanding” of Arab culture. “It sounds very bad, but that’s the Middle East,” he explained, hastening to add, “I’m not talking about what we should or shouldn’t do. I’m talking about the facts.” Racism has become a legitimate, indeed an integral, component of Israeli public culture, making assertions like these seem “normal.”
When will we get it? Palestinians are fighting for their freedom / Noam Sheizaf
92mag 1 Aug — We consider ourselves a nation that just wants to live in peace, but it’s about time we realize that for Palestinians the siege and the occupation are a constant state of war — I’m sure that the greatest of minds are working right now on a solution to the tunnels, except that soon another existential threat will rise, one that is much more primitive and much more frightening. Because that’s how independence struggles play out all over the world. Cruel, ugly, and bloody. The Viet Cong, the Algerian FLN, even the African National Congress at some point – they all held what were considered at the time to be radical ideologies, and they all used horrifying measures. Why would it be any different for us and the Palestinians? The infrastructure for terror is the occupation.…The entire world understands the connection between the occupation and terror. It’s only us who don’t. Only we feed ourselves stories of global Jihad and anti-Semitism being the root of the problem, while the most simple explanation is right in front of us. World history makes it clear: Either the occupied minority are made citizens of the occupying state, or it is granted independence. There are no other nations stuck in this kind of limbo, without citizenship and without a state, like the Palestinians. And there are certainly no other nations that would tolerate it … One thing is clear: This won’t stop. If we occupy the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians will try to kill the soldiers who enter Gaza, and if we leave they will swim and dig and fire missiles so that we remember they exist. Then we will respond with force. There will be no other choice.