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Author Archives: Allison Deger
Hours before a ceasefire was set to expire between Israel and Hamas, negotiations in Cairo have collapsed and rockets and air strikes have resumed. A deal on the status of Gaza, or an extension of talks, was expected at midnight tonight. However the Israeli delegation in Egypt has been sent back to Tel Aviv. Above, a Palestinian woman sits on the remains of her destroyed house after returning to Beit Hanoun.
With ceasefire set to expire, Palestinians aim to lift the siege while Israel wants to turn ‘Gaza into Ramallah’
Today Israeli and Palestinian officials are meeting again in Cairo to broker a long-term truce hours before the latest ceasefire is set to expire at midnight local time. Last Wednesday, Israeli Minister of Information Yuval Steinitz said Israel intends to “make Gaza into Ramallah” through the discussions, referring to the de-militarization of Gaza akin to the West Bank following the Oslo Accords. Still, the Palestinian negotiating team has notably better standing in Cairo than they did earlier this year during US-brokered talks due to pressure the international community is starting to put on Israel following reports of possible war crimes in Gaza. PLO spokesman Javier Abu Eid tells Mondoweiss’s Allison Deger, “I believe for the first time we are in a game changer.”
Israel killed a 19-year-old protester Friday outside a settlement in the West Bank, and after his funeral, a boy gave a bullet to a member of Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. As Allison Deger reports, great political changes are afoot on the West Bank. Palestinian protesters were not able to get near settlements till recently, prevented from doing so by the Palestinian Authority. But in the wake of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, and Hamas’s surprising military stamina, the P.A. has forged a modus-vivendi between moderate and more radical political currents, and has permitted pro-Hamas rallies in the West Bank.
Allison Deger reports from Gaza City where thousands of Palestinians have taken shelter outside of United Nations facilities out of fear of air-strikes targeting the civilian sanctuaries. They inhabit the fringes of Gaza City, which is effectively serving as an refugee camp for those fleeing the more war-torn regions to the north and east. The el-Algan family, above, fled from their home in Zeitoun near Shuja’iyeh nearly two weeks ago and joined over 550,000 displaced Palestinians across the besieged Gaza Strip. “When the tanks started shooting, that was it. We realized we couldn’t live there anymore,” said Hussein Mohammed Ali el-Algan, 50. “When we left, we left all of us together,” with each adult carrying one of the smaller children. Even his 15-year old daughter carted a youngster as they walked aimlessly toward the sea, looking for a hideout from the shelling. “It was very hard there and we have to live and we have to survive.”
During ceasefire hours, a semblance of normal life returns to Gaza as Palestinians use the lull in Israeli fire to visit destroyed homes, flee and even swim in a downtown park’s fountain. A boy sobs when he drops his cellphone and sees the screen is shattered. Signs of human destruction are all around. That ground soaked in human flesh? An ambulance struck with five inside in Beit Hanoun. Allison Deger reports on the lull in Gaza one week ago.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has surpassed the United Nations capabilities for emergency shelter and services and is now the responsibility of the Israel army, said the Commissioner General of the United Nations Refugee Works Association (UNRWA)
Allison Deger made a series of photographs in Gaza demonstrating not just the human cost of the Israeli onslaught, but the price paid by animals. The scenes of animal destruction are reminiscent of Guernica, Picasso’s iconic painting from the Spanish civil war memorializing the 1937 bombing by rightwing forces, killing hundreds of civilians.
Breaking: Israel shelling hospital in Beit Hanoun, injured Palestinians and internationals trapped inside
Over the past seven hours the Israeli military has shelled a hospital in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip where an injured international and Palestinians are trapped inside. Allison Deger spoke to Swedish national Fred Ekblad briefly during a 15 minute lull in the fire. He said the hospital was struck continuously since 7:00 pm this evening.
The Israeli army targeted and destroyed the Gaza strip’s only rehabilitation hospital even though Israeli authorities said they did not believe weapons were inside of the facility. El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, which treats long-term injuries and physical disabilities, was heavily shelled Thursday evening causing an emergency evacuation of all staff and patients. The IDF confirmed to Mondoweiss’s Allison Deger that the military understood there were no weapons inside of el-Wafa hospital, but when asked how far a humanitarian site needs to be to ensure there is not direct fire, a spokesperson said, “It’s not a matter of science, the IDF is very precise and they usually target whet they intend to target.” Above, patients in el-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City.
A team of international activists in Gaza acted as “human shields” this afternoon to secure medications for injured and disabled Palestinians by accompanying Red Crescent ambulances into a firing zone in Gaza City. The activists are all foreign nationals, hailing from the United Kingdom, United States and Sweden.
First night of Israeli ground operations kills 27 Palestinians; Ambulances come under fire attempting to retrieve the injured
Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza began last night at 10 pm with extensive blasts in the north of Gaza causing thousands to flee south. UNRWA has opened 26 shelters servicing more than 30,000 Palestinians rendered homeless. Since the ground invasion has begun, at least 27 Palestinians have been killed, bringing the total Palestinian casualties since “Operation Protective Edge” began ten days ago to 267 deaths and over 2,000 injuries. Overnight one Israeli soldier was killed, possibly by friendly fire. In the Shuja’iyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, Israeli forces fired on Red Crescent ambulances. Between 12 am and 3 am emergency responders were unable to retrieve the injured.
The Israeli military has destroyed el-Wafa orthopedic hospital in the Gaza Strip, after first targeting the facility with five missiles on July 11, 2014. The Israeli military began striking the building around 8:oo pm this evening and within two hours all hospital staff and patients had evacuated the only rehabilitation center in the Gaza Strip. As they departed what remained intact from the medical center burned to the ground. “It’s already destroyed,” said director of el-Wafa Basman Alashi, continuing, “I don’t know how much is left of it, but we have evacuated all of our patients.
The New York Times writer Vanessa Friedman covers the war in Gaza by way of a defiant fashion show in Tel Aviv. Regrettably, the champagne after-party was cancelled due to the sirens.
Early this evening in Palestine, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority said Hamas has accepted a ceasefire with Israel, as brokered by Egypt.
Tensions haven’t been so high on the West Bank since the intifadahs. Fatah crowds celebrate Hamas rockets, and the Israeli army kills a 22-year-old man as it continues to search for those wanted in connection for killings of three Israeli teens.
Overnight three rockets struck Israel from southern Lebanon, marking the second instance of crossfire between the Mediterranean states over the weekend and since the beginning of the military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip.
After brutal police beating, Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, sentenced to home arrest without charge
Just before noon today Tarek Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old American-Palestinian who was brutally beaten by Israeli police earlier in the week, walked into court wearing the same clothes he had on when arrested. After a brief closed deliberation, with media corralling in the narrow hallway of the Jerusalem District Court, he was released under the condition of nine days of home arrest and a $880 (3,000 NIS) fine, despite not being charged of any crime. During arraignment prosecutors for the police originally requested Abu Khdeir remain in Israel for 15 days, an additional six days past his scheduled flight, during which time an investigation against him will continue. Police have sealed the details of the on-going inquiry. Above, Abu Khdeir speaks moments after his release about his beating and arrest.
Allison Deger reports from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat where an investigation is ongoing to find the culprits responsible for abducting, killing and burning Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 17, two days ago. Police are not stating if the crime was “nationalistic” or “criminal” — code for whether the perpetrator is Israeli or Palestinian — but the Abu Khdeir family says the police are focusing on relatives. Yet all of Shuafat is sure Israeli settlers conducted a retaliation murder for the deaths of the three kidnapped Israeli youths Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah. Above, Palestinian youth move a sign to construct barricade inside of Shuafat.
Allison Deger reports on the fallout since the bodies of the three abducted Israeli youth were found. She talks to Israeli settlers hitchhiking from the spot Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah were taken and the families of the kidnapping suspects whose home in Hebron was destroyed in a punitive Israeli demolition. Finally, she travels to the teens’ funeral where calls for revenge ring out. Above, the Abu Aisha family’s demolished house in Hebron.
As the largest West Bank military operation in a decade enters its second week, Israel raided H2, the area of Hebron under Israeli security control, for the first time since the second Intifada. Overnight 200 soldiers were deployed to arrest eight Palestinians, including five from one family. Palestinian activist Badia Dwaik attempted to film the assault until he was attacked by Israeli soldiers.
One killed in protests as Israeli army takes control of Ramallah city center for first time since 2007
The de facto capital of the West Bank was laid under siege in the early morning hours as both the Israeli army and Palestinian Authority police attacked Palestinians on the streets of Ramallah in a coordinated effort, with one killed by Israeli live-fire. Not since 2007 had the Israeli military taken control of the city’s downtown, typically a nexus of commerce in the occupied Palestinian Territory. Although there has been longtime security coordination since the establishment of the Palestinian civil administration in 1994, this was the first instance of both Israeli and Palestinian forces working in armed conjunction to suppress Palestinian protesters.
During the Intifada, Zaatara was a checkpoint just south of Nablus and now it has been reinstated as the Israeli army is ramping up its presence inside and around major West Bank cities since three youths were abducted last Thursday in a settlement bloc near Bethlehem. Reports say the wait in the checkpoint line runs around two and a half hours. Passengers in shared taxis are made to exit the vehicle as the army searches and checks identification cards. Even ambulances have to wait in these long lines.
In a major escalation of force not seen since the Second Intifada, tonight Israeli military vehicles are inside cities across the West Bank, and the army has enacted a curfew in a Nablus area town. The only population center in the West Bank that does not have Israeli soldiers patrolling and carrying out arrests is Jericho. The raids come in the aftermath of the abduction of three Israeli youths last Thursday.
The manhunt for three Israeli teens abducted from a West Bank intersection in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc late Thursday evening continues with the Israeli army sealing Hebron and arresting 80 overnight in the largest operation in the Palestinian territory in years. The Palestinian Authority indicated that Hamas is not responsible, and says naming Hamas is an “escalation” tactic.