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After destroying 10,000 homes, Israel says Gaza can rebuild if it disarms

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Palestinian inspects the damage of a destroyed milk factory after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed milk factory after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Gaza industrial sector hit hard as 134 factories destroyed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — At least 134 factories were destroyed during Israel’s four-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian industrial union said Wednesday, causing severe damage to an already fragile industrial sector. The union of Palestinian industries said that most factories stopped operations for over 30 days, with reported losses of at least $70 million. Over 30,000 workers were made redundant due to the closures. “The Israeli war machine deliberately destroyed the infrastructure of the Palestinian national economy by targeting factories which posed no security threat to the occupation,” the union said. The industrial sector had already suffered major damage during previous Israeli military offenses in Gaza in 2012 and 2008. The ongoing Israeli blockade has also severely limited the productivity of the industrial sector since it was imposed eight years ago, forcing factories to close or fire workers to remain in operation. “Israel shouldn’t be rewarded for this aggression, and so Israeli products should be boycotted both locally and internationally,” the union added.

Israel has caused ‘$5 billion’ damage to Gaza homes, infrastructure
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Israel’s offensive on Gaza has caused over $5 billion of damage to homes and infrastructure in the Strip, the Minister of Public Works said Monday. Minister Mufeed al-Hasayneh, a resident of Gaza, told Ma‘an that the amount of money is likely to increase as the assault continues. Some 10,000 homes have been completely destroyed, and 30,000 homes partially destroyed, al-Hasayneh said. “The three areas that have undergone the most intense destruction are Shuja‘iyya, Beit Hanoun, and Abasan,” the minister said. “Ministry crews were astonished when they arrived to Shuja‘iyya, where some 110,000 people live. Sixty percent of the homes were completely destroyed, especially those in the eastern part of the neighborhood.” The minister said it would take $5 billion to rebuild structures alone, “not including possessions, like furniture and cars.” “The offensive destroyed buildings belonging to Gaza governorates, in addition to police stations and national security buildings,” al-Hasayneh said. The diesel containers belonging to Gaza’s power plant have been destroyed as well, he said. Al-Hasayneh says the “containers will cost $25 million, and there are ten power lines that supply Gaza with power and have been cut off” as well. He added that 70 percent water wells had been completely destroyed, “in addition to waste water lines.” According to UN figures, up to 485,000 people — a quarter of Gaza’s population — has been forced to leave their homes throughout the assault on the Strip. Many of them will return to find their homes destroyed or damaged.

Official: Israel to allow Gaza rebuilding in exchange for disarmament
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Israel is willing to agree to the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip in exchange for the disarmament of militant groups there, an official said Tuesday. Ofer Gendelman told Ma‘an that the Israeli government linked the rebuilding of Gaza with disarming factions in the coastal enclave. Gendelman said that Israel was interested in achieving a lasting ceasefire, but he insisted that it was dependent on Hamas’ respect of the current 72-hour truce. The Israeli assault in Gaza has caused severe damage to the infrastructure in Gaza. Over 10,000 houses, government buildings, universities, mosques, and schools were damaged in a month-long assault.

West Bank / Jerusalem

Israel restricts Aqsa mosque entry for Jewish holiday
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Aug – Israel was temporally dividing the al-Aqsa Mosque compound between Muslims and Jews this week, as Israeli police officers deployed in the compound Tuesday for the third consecutive day denying Muslim worshipers entry at gunpoint. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli police officers rounded up Muslim worshipers at gunpoint and forced them to go to the yards around the Dome of the Rock.  They highlighted that only elderly people aged over 50 were present in the compound. They were all forcibly moved from the main yard near al-Aqsa Mosque and the Marawani mosque and gathered around the Dome of the Rock. Heated arguments and fistfights took place between worshipers and Israeli officers. The restrictions appeared to be in preparation for the Tisha B’Av holiday, when Jews mark the destruction of two historic Temples, believed to have been located on the site of what is now the Al-Aqsa compound. On the main gates leading to the compound, witnesses said Tuesday that Israeli police officers deployed heavily denying all women and men under 50 entry to the compound. Employees of the Palestinian ministry of endowment were also denied entry except security guards. Witnesses said Israeli officers fired tear gas canisters at women crowded outside the King Faysal gate trying to argue with officers to be allowed to enter the compound.
Meanwhile, more than 170 right-wing Jews including the Israeli minister of housing Uri Ariel entered the compound through the Moroccan gate escorted by Israeli police officers. They toured the compound and performed religious rites before they left.

Video: Night raid on Bil‘in, 6 Aug 2014 by Haitham al-Khatib

38 Palestinians kidnapped in Jerusalem and West Bank
IMEMC 5 Aug by Chris Carlson — …According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, police arrested at least 27 Palestinians during predawn hours, in Jerusalem [Tuesday], following mass Gaza solidarity rallies which began on Monday.
In Jenin, the Israeli army took four Palestinians between the ages of 20 and 25, including a disabled, from the Jenin refugee camp, west of the city, after raiding their homes and damaging their furniture. A disabled man from Jenin refugee camp, Mahmoud al-Hussein, age 25, was taken by the army despite his physical disability. Mahmoud was shot several times by Israeli soldiers in an prior raid on the camp, according to WAFA. The wounds affected his spine, his father said, adding that his son requires intensive care from the family.  Israeli police also abducted 21-year-old camp resident Qassam Gazzawi, while he was in Um al-Fahm, in Israel. His father said that police cordoned off the house where his son was working, blew the main door, raided it and took his son after beating him with their rifles. Qassam was taken to an unknown destination.
In the Bethlehem district, Israeli forces stormed the village of Hosan, where they kidnapped two brothers aged 27 and 25, after raiding their homes. An 18-year-old in Bethlehem City was also taken. A young man, age 33, from the nearby Dehesheh refugee camp, was taken at an Israeli checkpoint south of Bethlehem, according to his father.
Additionally, four Palestinians, ages 19, 24, 21 and 20, from al-Ezza and ‘Aida refugee camps, were summoned by the Israeli military to appear for interrogation at a nearby outpost. Witnesses said Israeli forces deployed across ‘Aida camp, where soldiers took over the rooftops of many homes, turning them into military outposts, while shooting rubber-coated steel bullets as well as sound bombs and tear gas canisters towards local residents. Many were injured, in addition to suffering from teargas inhalation. WAFA reports that the army also arrested a youngster in the camp, after raiding his home.
In Hebron, soldiers stormed al-Fawwar refugee camp, just south of the city, where they kidnapped a local resident after searching his house. Two children were also detained for several hours. Nearby, in Dura, one local resident was summoned to appear for interrogation. Several homes were raided in Hebron City, where forces served two Palestinians, including Fatah official Emad Kharwat, with interrogation summonses as well. Soldiers raided many other homes, in addition to a pharmacy, in Hebron city, upon which damages were reported, but no further abductions.

Israeli forces storm al-Aqsa Mosque, clash with worshipers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Aug – Clashes broke out in the squares of al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem Monday morning between worshipers and Israeli officers who stormed the compound to evacuate worshipers and escort right-wing Jews commemorating the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple.  Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that special Israeli forces stormed the compound from the Moroccan gate firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at worshipers, the majority of whom were elderly people. Young worshipers who entered the compound Sunday evening and stayed over took shelter inside the al-Aqsa mosque and shut down all its doors except the Funeral gate. They found themselves clashing face-to-face with Israeli officers who tried to raid the mosque. Witnesses said the Israeli officers fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades inside the mosque and as a result, a fire broke out on a carpet before guards managed to put it out. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers and police officers stationed on the main gates of the compound denied Palestinians entry. Dr Ziad Abu Srour, who runs clinics inside the compound, told Ma‘an that as of 9 a.m. more than 10 Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades. Most of the injured, he said, were hit in the head and neck. Two of the compound’s guards, Haytham al-Nimari and Rajaee al-Tarhi, were also injured.

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian near Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in Tulkarem on Monday, security sources said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Issam Nizar Jamil Abu al-Sisan was injured by live fire in a village northwest of the city. Al-Sisan was taken for medical treatment at an Israeli hospital, locals said.

Settlers attack Palestinian worker in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 5 Aug – A Palestinian worker from Bethlehem was attacked and severely beaten up by Israeli settlers while he was at his workplace in Jerusalem, said security sources. Sources told WAFA that Hisham Hassan Hasasneh,20,  from the town of Obaidiya east of Bethlehem, was attacked by a group of settlers while he was at his place of work in Jerusalem, causing him injuries and bruises throughout his body. He was taken to a hospital in Bethlehem for treatment

Soldiers kidnap ten Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 4 Aug by Saed Bannoura — [early Monday]…Mohammad Awad, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, stated that the soldiers broke, and searched, several homes in the Thaher area, close to an illegal Israeli settlement, and kidnapped three brothers identified as Kifah Ahmad Younis Bahar, 31, Mohammad, 30, and Younis, 25. The army also invaded Khallet al-Ein area, and kidnapped Majdi Abdul-Fattah Bahar, 30, Yousef Khalil Sabarna, 20, and Fathi Khader Sabarna, 21.
In addition, soldiers invaded Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped two Palestinians after breaking, and ransacking their homes. The two have been identified as Mohammad Sadeq Abu ar-Rob, and Mohammad Hasan Abu ar-Rob. [Ma‘an: also Muhannad Abdulaziz, 21]
Soldiers also invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Mahmoud Mohammad Hammad, 18, and Mahmoud Taiseer al-Mashayekh, 20.

Israeli police deploy heavily in Jerusalem following attacks
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Israeli police units deployed heavily across East Jerusalem on Monday after two incidents left one Israeli dead and a soldier seriously injured. Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man who rammed an excavator into a bus in East Jerusalem … Later, an unidentified gunman opened fire at an Israeli soldier near the Hebrew University in occupied East Jerusalem …
Undercover units and special forces deployed in Wadi al-Joz, Sheikh Jarrah and al-Suwanna following the shooting, stopping and searching motorbikes and private vehicles. In Wadi al-Joz, Israeli forces raided a funeral for a member of the Dweik family and detained Osama Taqi al-Din al-Bakri, Abd al-Hakim Fawaz al-Bakri, Saif al-Deen Fawaz al-Bakri, and Ahmad Abd al-Hakim al-Bakri.

Family of slain Jerusalem young man denies Israeli allegations
IMEMC 5 Aug by Saed Bannoura — The family of Mohammad Nayef Ja’abeess, 21, who was shot and killed by the Israeli police in occupied Jerusalem, Monday, denied Israeli allegations that he deliberately rammed his industrial digger into a bus. His uncle, Abu Amjad, said Mohammad left home, as he does every day, driving his industrial digger, and that his route includes driving on the Samuel Hanevi Street, between West and East Jerusalem. An Israeli man, who apparently thought, or assumed, Mohammad is attempting to carry out an attack, opened fire at the digger from a distance. Nayef then tried to reverse his digger and back away, but more shots were fired, and his digger rammed an Israeli bus, before more live rounds were fired at him. Abu Amjad added that eyewitness accounts, and cellphone recorded footage, negate the Israeli claims and confirm the claims of the family. As for the call Mohammad allegedly made to the family before the attack, the uncle said rumors and allegations are inaccurate, only meant to claim the young man carried out an intentional attack. “The Police can claim whatever they want, they always justify their attacks against the Palestinians, they justify crimes”, he added, “This is not a new policy; Mohammad was simply murdered in cold blood”.

Soldier wounded in Jerusalem shooting, hours after digger attack kills one
Haaretz 4 Aug by Jonathan Lis and Ido Efrati — Several hours after a man driving a digger used his vehicle to flip over a bus, killing one, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Monday on a hitchhiking station on Mt. Scopus in East Jerusalem. Several people were wounded in both attacks. According to a preliminary investigation of the Mt. Scopus incident, a man dressed in black shot a 20-year-old soldier in the stomach, wounding him seriously, got on a motorcycle that was waiting for him and fled the scene. A security guard standing nearby shot at the suspect, but failed to hit him. Security forces are attempting to apprehend the attacker.
The man killed in the digger attack was Avraham Walles, a 29-year-old father of five. Five others were lightly wounded in the attack: the bus driver, three passengers and a police officer. The incident, which took place in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood, has been declared a terrorist attack. An Israel Prison Service officer who was near the scene as the digger attack unfolded joined a police officer in firing toward the digger driver, who was consequently killed. The IPS officer was lightly wounded while trying to pull the assailant out of the vehicle. The assailant, Naif Jabis of Jabek Mukaber, drove his vehicle out of a construction site, hit a 25-year-old passerby, then turned toward a nearby square, and after several meters used the digger’s arm to flip over the bus. Four people were hospitalized for light injuries.

Police kill driver of excavator after ‘attack’ leaves Israeli dead
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 4 Aug — Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man who rammed an excavator into a bus in East Jerusalem Monday, knocking the bus on its side and running another man over, medics and police said. They said the man who was run over by the excavator was killed as well. “A 25-year-old man was run over by the excavator and killed, and the bus driver was moderately to lightly injured,” emergency services spokesman Zaki Heller told AFP, saying another four people were lightly hurt in the incident which police described as a “terror attack.”  Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted: “One person confirmed dead in terror attack in Jerusalem. Terrorist also shot and killed at scene. Forensics working at scene.” Rosenfeld later tweeted that the driver was a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem in his 20s. Video footage [below] of the incident seems to show that police opened fire at the excavator before it knocked the bus over.

7 kidnapped in West Bank, Jerusalem
IMEMC 4 Aug by Chris Carlson — Israeli forces on Sunday abducted five Palestinians in the occupied West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, in addition to two others in Jerusalem, according to reports by local and security sources.
Israeli forces kidnapped one 43-year-old Palestinian from Hebron while he was passing through the checkpoint known as ‘Container’, to the south of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, according to WAFA reports, army forces stormed the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, in the predawn hours, where they raided and searched several homes, shot stun grenades and tear gas canisters towards the residents. Two young Palestinians, ages 21 and 23, were taken during the confrontations. In the village of Nahalin, to the west of Bethlehem, forces kidnapped two teenagers, aged 17 and 18, after raiding and searching their homes. Additionally, the army served a summons to a 25-year-old youth, age 25, requiring him to appear for interrogation at a nearby military outpost. Furthermore, two Jerusalem residents were taken by Israeli police and intelligence following a similar raid on their houses. They were taken in for interrogation at a center nearby.

US senator filibusters live coverage of powerful Palestinian testimonies
Electronic Intifada 5 Aug by Rania Khalek — CSPAN cut from Tariq Abukhdeir’s live, moving testimony of Israeli abuse in Jerusalem to cover Barbara Boxer’s incoherent pro-Israel rant to a mostly empty Senate chamber — On Friday, fifteen-year-old Tariq Abukhdeir spoke at a hearing on Capitol Hill about the brutal beating he endured at the hands of Israeli police in early July. The purpose of the hearing was to address Israeli impunity and US complicity in crimes against Palestinians. Tariq was one of six panelists to address the room, which was overflowing with congressional staffers. Moderated by author and campaigner Josh Ruebner, other panelists included Tariq’s mother, Suha Abu Abukhdeir; Hassan Shibly of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Florida chapter; Sunjeev Bery from Amnesty International; Brad Parker from Defence for Children International and Palestinian author Laila El-Haddad. Though he was just one of six speakers, Tariq’s testimony was especially powerful as he relayed to the audience the horrors and discrimination he witnessed and experienced as a Palestinian-American child visiting his ancestral homeland. But just as Tariq started to detail the Israeli beating that left him unconscious and unrecognizable, CSPAN 2, which was broadcasting the hearing live, cut to the Senate floor. Suppressing Palestinian voices Tariq began his testimony by describing the widespread violence Israeli soldiers inflicted on his neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem after his cousin and best friend, sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair, was kidnapped and burned alive by Jewish vigilantes who were incited to violence by Israeli leaders following the murder of three Israeli teens hitchhiking from an illegal settlement in the West Bank…
CSPAN told the The Electronic Intifada that the channel is required to cut to the Senate floor when an elected official is speaking. Boxer’s office did not respond to calls asking if the senator was aware that the hearing was taking place. However, organizers collecting names of congressional staffers in attendance told The Electronic Intifada that an intern from Boxer’s office tried to get into the hearing but left because there was no space, suggesting Boxer knew she was interrupting the hearing.

As Israel bombs Gaza, it kills Palestinians in the West Bank too
[with photos] Electronic Intifada 6 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — …Killings across West Bank Elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, at least seventeen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and civilians since the beginning of the military’s slaughter in the Gaza Strip on 7 July. Palestinian rights group Al-Haq has investigated and summarized the circumstances of each killing, painting a picture of an army bound by no restraints on the use of force. The victims include: Mahmud Hatem Shawamra (27) of the al-Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, shot dead by three live bullets after throwing a Molotov cocktail at an army jeep on 21 July. Mahmud Saleh Hamamra (33) of Husan village near Bethlehem, shot in front of his wife and small child outside his shop by invading soldiers who had situated themselves next to his store on 21 July. Muhammad Qasem Hamamra (20), also of Husan village, shot in the head by a live bullet from a distance of one meter, after clashes erupted following Mahmud Hamamreh’s funeral on 22 July. An eyewitness told Al-Haq that Israeli soldiers fired bullets into the air for no apparent reason during the funeral procession. During confrontations with protesters following the funeral, no gunshots were heard. “As Muhammad was killed by live fire, it is assumed that the Israeli soldiers used a sound suppressor when firing the bullets,” Al-Haq states. Muhammad Zeyad Araj (17), shot with live fire in the head, thigh and arm during the #48KMarch mass protest which set out from al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah and marched on to Qalandiya checkpoint on 24 July. “That night, there were more than 142 people wounded with live bullets,” states Al-Haq. Eid Rabbah Fudeilat (28), shot by eleven live bullets in the legs, shoulder and in the back in al-‘Arroub refugee camp in Hebron on 25 July. In the time preceding Eid’s shooting, his brothers had called him to ask him to intervene with soldiers who were firing on demonstrators; the fire was preventing them from reaching their home. Eid approached the soldiers and got into an argument with one. “A soldier pushed Eid, who responded by punching the soldier several times. He then ran away to where his brothers and nephew were. When Eid had run about 10 metres away from the soldiers, they opened fire in his direction. Eid fell forward onto his face approximately 40 metres away from his house,” according to Al-Haq. Basem Sati Abul Rub (19), shot in the center of his chest with a live bullet while throwing stones at soldiers near al-Jalameh checkpoint north of Jenin city on 25 July. Al-Haq states: “According to Al-Haq’s field researcher, there were 27 people at the hospital that had been injured at the protest. Most were injured in the lower parts of the body and had been hit with live bullets. According to witnesses, the sound of live bullets during the protest was rare. However, due to the number of injuries caused by live bullets, it is suspected that the Israeli forces used a sound suppressor when firing bullets.” Khaled Azmi Odeh (20), shot with a live bullet by a motorist driving an Israeli-plated civilian car near Huwwara checkpoint outside the city of Nablus on 25 July. Tayyeb Saleh Shihada (21) was wearing a mask and throwing stones at Israeli soldiers at Huwwara checkpoint on 25 July when he was shot with a live bullet in the head. Nasri Taqatqa (14) was shot with a live bullet in the chest during confrontations between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers in Beit Fajjar village near Bethlehem on 26 July. Alaa Jihad Ezghir (21) was declared dead on 29 July after he was injured on 23 July when he was shot in the stomach while throwing stones at soldiers at the entrance of Ithna village near Hebron. Oday Nafez Jabr (19), shot and left to bleed for ten minutes on 1 August after attempting to run away from an Israeli soldier who had pointed a gun in his direction during a Gaza solidarity protest in Saffa village near Ramallah. “The demonstrators had yelled at the soldiers that someone was injured but the Israeli forces continued firing tear gas and live bullets,” according to Al-Haq. Tamer Faraj Samur (22) was shot with a live bullet in the stomach after a peaceful demonstration escalated into confrontations near Gishori factories outside of Tulkarem on 2 August.

Video: Inside Israel’s pro-war nationalist camp / Lia Tarachansky
The Real News 4 Aug — As Israel’s war in Gaza claims more than 1600 lives, a recent survey shows that more than 86% of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. All attempts to reach one collapsed. As the operation expands so too does the movement in Israel against it. Anti-war demonstrations have grown from week to week, but so has opposition to them. Groups of nationalists have been demonstrating in support of the war and attacking anyone who opposes it. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky asks who are these groups and what is their political message?


Delegation of West Bank doctors heads to Gaza

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — A delegation of doctors from the West Bank is traveling to Gaza to assist in treating patients who sustained wounds throughout Israel’s offensive, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement that 11 doctors specialized in surgery, plastic surgery, and anesthesia were headed to Gaza. The delegation also consists of 10 nurses specializing in intensive care and surgery, the statement said. According to the ministry, the group was the second delegation of doctors to head to Gaza from the West Bank since the beginning of Israel’s offensive. Last Friday, 25 specialized doctors traveled to Gaza to assist in its hospitals. The United Nations warned Saturday that after 27 days of Israeli assault, the Gaza public health system was “on the verge of collapse” as the numbers of dead and injured overwhelmed hospitals and clinics across the besieged coastal enclave.

Video: Red Cross in Gaza: Rebuilding will take years
Ynet 6 Aug by Elior Levy and Attila Somfalvi –In a Ynet exclusive, Sara Badiei, a Red Cross engineer in Gaza, says that most Gazans have been left with no electricity and little drinkable water —  Badiei has been working in the east of the Gaza Strip since March. “It makes sense for people to see the extent of the damage,” she told Ynet. “There’s nothing better to explain how difficult the situation is than just that.” “I absolutely cannot say one side or another, I’m just an engineer,” she continued. “But for example, I know that the people I work with haven’t had electricity for six days now and they haven’t had water for multiple days.” The hardest blow for the Gaza Strip, according to Badiei, has been to infrastructure supplying electricity to the population including the Strip’s only power plant which was hit by an Israeli attack and could take over a year to repair.  Badiei cited that prior to Operation Protective Edge, enough electricity was provided to the Gaza Strip to meet some 50% of demand. Today however, Badiei said that most of the Strip was getting by with no electricity access whatsoever.,7340,L-4555392,00.html

Gaza truce pushes into 2nd day ahead of Cairo talks
GAZA CITY (AFP) 6 Aug — A fragile ceasefire in Gaza pushed into a second day Wednesday as Israeli and Palestinian delegations prepared for crunch talks in Cairo to try to extend the 72-hour truce. The ceasefire, which came into effect Tuesday and carried past midnight into Wednesday, has brought relief to millions on both sides after one month of fighting killed 1,875 Palestinians and 67 people in Israel. Israeli and Palestinian delegations are now set for what are expected to be tough talks aimed at securing a permanent ceasefire after the three-day window closes. Officials on both sides confirmed sending small teams to the Egyptian capital, but they bring conflicting demands and face an uphill diplomatic battle ahead. The Palestinians insist Israel end its eight-year blockade of Gaza and open border crossings, while Israel wants Gaza fully demilitarized. But after the longest period of quiet since fighting began, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said he expected “the ceasefire to expand into another 72 hours and beyond.” The United States is set to participate in the Cairo talks.

Egypt: Negotiations for lasting ceasefire ongoing
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — The Egyptian ambassador to Palestine said Tuesday that a 72-hour ceasefire will create a window to create further serious negotiations to create a lasting truce. Wael Nasr al-Deen Atiyeh told Ma‘an that during the ceasefire the Rafah crossing will be opened to receive the injured during the assault, and to let aid into the Gaza Strip.  Twenty fully equipped ambulances have been prepared to take the injured to Egyptian hospitals, and a mobile clinic was established to treat the wounded, he said. He added that over 1,000 tons of urgent aid supplies, food, medicine, and medical supplies entered the crossing in the last four weeks.

Civil defense personnel, equipment to be sent to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Palestinian minister of Civil Affair Hussein al-Sheikh said the PA would send civil defense forces and equipment to the Gaza Strip to help remove rubble caused by the Israeli assault. Al-Sheikh told Ma‘an that Israel agreed to let de-mining, explosive disposal equipment and large bulldozers into Gaza to help remove the rubble. It will also allow the entrance of civil defense workers into Gaza, he said. Al-Sheikh added that Turkey would send a large ship with multiple generators to generate electricity for Gaza Strip; the proposal however is still pending Israel’s approval.

After 29 days, Operation Protective Edge by the numbers
Ynet 5 Aug by Yifa Yaakov — …The army calculated it destroyed 32 cross-border tunnels, 14 of which crossed into Israel and 2 of which had shafts located 300-500 meters from Israel. Eleven IDF soldiers were killed by Hamas gunmen emerging from the tunnels into southern Israel. The IDF also said it had struck nearly 4,762 terror targets — most of them rocket-launching sites, nearly 1,000 of them command and control centers, about 240 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades buildings, nearly 200 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, nearly 150 terror training compounds and 1,535 additional terror sites. “They were part of a strategic plan of Hamas, and an investment of approximately $100 million worth of materials, and we have now removed that threat,” Lerner said of the tunnels. Of the rockets that were consistently launched at Israel in recent years, Lerner said: “We struck just over 3,000 rockets; they launched over 3,300 rockets and we expect that they still have about 3,000 rockets left. This is a challenge we have to address.”

Israeli negotiators arrive in Cairo
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — An Israeli negotiations delegation arrived at Cairo airport on Tuesday evening and was greeted by Egyptian intelligence officials, high-ranking Egyptian sources said. The 3-member delegation arrived at the airport under heavy protection in order to start indirect negotiations with Palestinians on the Egyptian ceasefire initiative and discuss Palestinian demands.

Palestinian negotiators in Egypt for truce talks
CAIRO (AFP) 5 Aug — Three remaining members of a Palestinian delegation negotiating a longer-term truce in Gaza were on their way to Cairo Tuesday after entering Egypt through the Rafah crossing, state media reported. Israel and Hamas halted their fighting in Gaza from 8 a.m. Tuesday after a three-day temporary truce brokered by Cairo went into effect. Israel also withdrew its troops from the coastal enclave. The three Palestinian leaders who entered Egypt were Islamic Jihad member, Khaled al-Batsh, and senior Hamas officials Khalil al-Haya and Emad El-Elmy, said the official MENA news agency. A joint Palestinian delegation representing president Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been in Cairo for the past few days at Egypt’s invitation. Israel earlier refused to send its negotiators, but an official said Tuesday that a team representing it was on its way to Cairo. The main demands proposed to Egyptian mediators by the Palestinian delegation are a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the end of the siege of the enclave, and opening its border crossings. They have also demanded fishing rights up to 12 nautical miles off Gaza’s coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and Abbas. Egyptian mediators are to forward these demands to the Israelis.

Gaza border town in ruins after Israeli attack
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) 5 Aug by Hamza Hendawi — Asmahan Ismail Abu al-Rous started wondering a year ago about the cause of the cracks on the walls of her Gaza home. When she asked some of her more savvy neighbors, they told her: Militants were digging an attack tunnel not far away. “I did not think much about it then. I thought that was the resistance’s business, not mine,” the widowed mother of four said Tuesday, standing amid the ruins of her two-story home in the Shawkah district, an eastern section of Rafah near Gaza’s border with Egypt. Barely 50 meters (yards) away, according to villagers, is an entrance of the tunnel where Hamas fighters emerged Friday to attack Israeli soldiers. Two Israelis were killed and a third was initially believed to be captured by the militants. That attack drew what was by far the heaviest Israeli shelling in the Gaza war, killing nearly 100 people that day alone and instantly unraveling a cease-fire shortly after it came into force. A day later, Israel determined the missing soldier, a 23-year-old infantry lieutenant, had been killed in the initial attack. On Tuesday, when a new 72-hour truce took hold, residents returned for the first time to see the extent of the destruction — the worst in a single district anywhere in the Gaza Strip in four weeks of fighting. The consequences of living near the tunnel were clear. Everything within about a 1-kilometer (half-mile) radius of the opening was badly damaged or outright flattened. Buildings and homes were hollowed out and punctured or reduced to concrete slabs with metal rods and furniture scattered around. All that was left of the tunnel entrance, located in a field once dotted with fruit trees, was a cavity the size of a volleyball court. Hundreds of trees and date palms lay flattened or partially knocked over, their roots sticking out, in a dusty landscape shattered by shelling and covered with tank tracks … The Israeli military said Friday the shelling was part of intelligence and security operations to find the missing soldier. Rafah residents said the death toll was so high because the shelling took everyone by surprise since they thought a truce was in force.

Child found alive 4 days after family members killed in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Aug —  Family relatives of four-year-old Yamin Abu Jabir found him alive in hospital after they spent four days looking for his dead body with the belief that he was killed along with the rest of his family. The relatives were killed by an Israeli airstrike at their home in al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Muhammad Jabir Abu, a cousin of Yamin’s father, said he believed that the child was dead under the rubble, but he was confused as bulldozers failed to find the child’s body after digging in the rubble for four days. Moving from one hospital to another across the Gaza Strip, relatives finally found Yamin on the fifth day at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. His face was wrapped with a white cloth and his hand was set in plaster, but fortunately a relative approached him and recognized him. Muhammad highlighted that his cousin’s family were gathered on Tuesday, the second day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attempt to create a positive atmosphere which could soften the tension and fear caused by the ongoing Israeli airstrikes everywhere in the coastal enclave. However, he added, the good moments were interrupted by an Israeli missile which killed 22 members of the family leaving four-year-old Yamin alone as he turned out to be the only survivor. Neighbors and ambulance service officers who hurried to evacuate the victims took Yamin to the Al-Aqsa Martys Hospital in Deir al-Balah where he was admitted to an intensive care unit. He was then transferred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City by a young volunteer Muhammad Abu Zeid who escorted him and remained attached to him hoping that some relative would recognize him … Abu Zeid highlighted that medics wrote the word “unidentified” on Yamin’s file because nobody came to ask about him.

Red Cross president headed for Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross was to begin a “three-day mission” to Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel Tuesday as a 72-hour ceasefire came into effect, a statement said. The ICRC said in a statement that president Peter Maurer is traveling to the region “to see for himself the human cost of the on-going conflict.” Maurer is to hold talks with senior Palestinian leaders and Israeli leaders in addition to volunteers for the Palestine Red Crescent and Israeli Magen David Adom societies. He will also meet with people “directly affected by the conflict.”

Palestine FM meets ICC reps in Hague
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs met with officials of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands to discuss the Israeli offensive on Gaza on Tuesday, a statement said. During his visit, Riyad al-Maliki inquired about the legal procedures necessary for Palestine to join the ICC and sign the Rome Statute in order to take action against possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza, the statement said. Al-Maliki said he would consult members of the Palestinian Authority government on the matter after his visit. A 2009 attempt by to join the ICC in 2009 failed because of Palestine’s lack of statehood.  But Al-Maliki said Tuesday that Palestine should now quality for ICC membership due to its status as a UN nonmember observer state, AP reported. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize its authority, but the UN Security Council could call for an ICC investigation into potential Israeli war crimes. International human rights organizations have over the course of the 28-day offensive condemned various Israeli actions in Gaza as violations of the laws of war.

Body of Islamic Jihad leader found in Gaza rubble
GAZA (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Medics on Tuesday recovered the body of an Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades leader from under the rubble of a destroyed building in Gaza City. Shaabaan Suleiman al-Dahdouh, 34, was killed in an airstrike on al-Israa tower on July 21, which killed 13 others. Al-Dahdouh was a leader in al-Zaytoun group in al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.

Gaza youth succumbs to wounds in Jerusalem hospital
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — A Palestinian who was injured during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip succumbed to his wounds early Tuesday in al-Maqasid hospital in Jerusalem. The body of Huthaifa Abu Elayan, 20, was taken back to the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing in an ambulance. Abu Elayan was injured in an airstrike that targeted his house in Khan Younis, and was taken to al-Maqasid Hospital on Monday. Some 30 injured Palestinians from Gaza are being treated in al-Maqasid, and the hospital expects dozens more to arrive during the coming few days.

Gazans succumb to wounds sustained in Israeli offensive
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Three Palestinians have succumbed to wounds sustained in the Israeli offensive on Gaza since the start of a 72-hour ceasefire Tuesday, a health ministry spokesman said. Fayiz Ismail Abu Hammad, 34, succumbed to wounds he sustained during an Israeli shelling on Khan Younis, Ashraf al-Qidra said. He said Salah Ahmad al-Ghouti, 22, succumbed to wounds sustained during shelling on Rafah on Monday. And 12-year-old Nidal Raed Eleiwa also succumbed to his wounds. The latest deaths brought the death toll of the Israeli assault on Gaza to 1,875, al-Qidra said. Some 9,567 Palestinians have been wounded throughout the offensive.

7 bodies recovered as medical teams rush to eastern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Palestinian medical teams rushed to areas in the eastern Gaza Strip to search for bodies and survivors on Tuesday immediately after a ceasefire went into effect at 8:00 a.m., an official said. Ministry of Health sources say seven dead bodies have been recovered so far, five of them from rubble in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and two of them from Juhr al-Dik southeast of Gaza City. Two of the bodies have been identified as Hamza al-Qadi and Khamis Hamdan. Earlier on Tuesday, Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said two bodies were recovered in Juhr al-Dik southeast of Gaza City. Rescue teams had been unable to access areas hit by Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling in eastern Gaza before the ceasefire, al-Qidra said. Except during humanitarian truces, Israeli forces rarely granted access to eastern areas, and often fired upon ambulances and civil defense crews, he added. Locals told Ma‘an several people were still missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Israel withdraws troops from Gaza as 72-hour truce begins
JERUSALEM (AFP) 5 Aug — Israel on Tuesday completed the withdrawal of all troops from Gaza as a 72-hour humanitarian truce went into effect following intense global pressure to end the bloody offensive. Army spokesman Peter Lerner told reporters troops would be deployed outside Gaza in defensive positions throughout the ceasefire. Shortly before the start of the 8:00 a.m. truce, militants in Gaza fired some 17 rockets at Israel, the Israeli army said in a statement. “Eleven of them hit and six were intercepted by the Iron Dome over the area of Gush Dan, Ashdod, and Be’er Sheva.” Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement that it had fired rockets toward Israeli cities at 7:50 a.m. Four M75 missiles were launched at Jerusalem and one missile at Kiryat Malachi, the statement said.Similarly, the military wings of Islamic Jihad and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said their fighters fired homemade projectiles at Ashkelon. In Gaza, Israeli warplanes staged at least five air strikes, none of which caused death or injury, before the truce took hold. Meanwhile, two Palestinians succumbed to wounds sustained in earlier Israeli attacks, a health ministry spokesman said.

Beit Sahour: Rocket hits house
IMEMC 5 Aug — Just before the ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday morning, Palestinian resistance groups fired several dozen rockets toward Israeli targets in retaliation of Israeli bombardment of different areas of Gaza. Some reports indicate that a longest-range rocket, apparently aimed toward the settlement of Gush Etzion, instead hit a Palestinian home in the town of Beit Sahour, near the southern west Bank city of Bethlehem. However, while investigations are ongoing, initial reports indicate that it is likely that the rocket that hit the home in Beit Sahour is an Iron Dome missile fired by Israeli to intercept the Palestinian rocket. Five family members of the Jobran [Ma‘an: Attoun] family were injured by the rocket, which was fired by the resistance groups in the Gaza strip. The family house sustained significant damage, in addition to the neighborhood power grid, phone lines and internet. The five family members, three children, two adults, were taken to a local clinic for treatment. If the rocket was fired from Gaza, it would be the third time that a rocket fired by the Palestinian resistance toward Israeli targets has landed in Palestinian areas. One of the three civilians killed by Palestinian rockets during the nearly-month-long assault was a Palestinian Bedouin living in a makeshift tin house in an unrecognized village in the Negev that had been destroyed by Israeli authorities on multiple occasions.

VIDEO: ‘Nothing short of a massacre’
Information Clearing House posted 5 Aug — NDTV reports from Rafah in South Gaza: The targets are young children, women, entire families, even a UN shelter. [interviews with injured people and medical personnel]

Israel, Palestinian factions agree to 72-hour ceasefire
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 4 Aug — Palestinian factions and Israel have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting from 8 a.m. on Tuesday, sources close to talks in Egypt said Monday. “Egypt’s contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations,” a senior official in Egypt told AFP. “The Palestinians have agreed to a ceasefire proposed by Egypt,” Azzam al-Ahmed, leader of the Palestinian delegation, told reporters in Cairo. Earlier, sources close to the talks told Ma‘an that Palestinian factions agreed to a three-day ceasefire which they said is likely to pave the way for a full cessation to fighting. Representatives from Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, held their first official meeting on Monday after a Palestinian delegation agreed Sunday to joint demands to present to Egyptian mediators. “There is a consensus among all the Palestinian factions that Gaza can’t return to a blockade … it is a natural right of the people of Gaza to live (freely) as any other people in the world,” senior Hamas official, and member of the Palestinian delegation, Ezzat al-Rishq, said. Azzam al-Ahmed also expressed hope that Israel may still send a team to Cairo. This could help “Egypt perform its role in halting the (Israeli) aggression and achieving the Palestinian demands through negotiations it is conducting with the two sides,” he told reporters.

2 Palestinian children killed in airstrike on Rafah home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Two children were killed Monday evening in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, with at least 21 Palestinians killed across the besieged enclave during the day. Mohammad Amjad Oweida, 12, and Amal Amjad Oweida, 5, were killed after an Israeli airstrike hit their house in the al-Barazil neighborhood in Rafah while they were playing on a rooftop. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said 32 bodies were recovered on Monday and at least 21 Palestinians reported killed. Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “the campaign in Gaza is continuing” following the end of a seven-hour humanitarian lull,

Israeli strike kills 8-year-old girl despite truce
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an/AFP) 4 Aug — Israeli forces targeted a home in Gaza City early Monday, killing a young girl and injuring dozens of Palestinians just minutes after a humanitarian ceasefire came into effect, health officials said. Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said an airstrike hit the home of the al-Bakri family in al-Shati camp, killing eight-year-old Aseel Muhammad al-Bakri and leaving 30 people injured. The wounded, among them children, were taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Witnesses and several AFP correspondents reported hearing the whistle of a missile fired from an F16 warplane before it crashed into a house wedged between two tall buildings inside the camp. An AFP correspondent said the strike hit at 10:06 a.m., six minutes into the lull. With only a narrow alley leading to the house, it was not possible to get rescue equipment to the scene, with a long line of people passing out chunks of rubble by hand, an AFP correspondent said.  The strike cause the house to pancake, leaving only a very narrow gap for rescuers to get inside, some of whom were bloodying themselves in the effort, he said. From within, they managed to pull the body of a young girl wearing pajamas whose spine appeared to be broken in several places, with rescuers struggling to get her onto a stretcher, he said. Less than an hour later, Israeli forces shelled a house in al-Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip, causing injuries, a Ma‘an reporter said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the last airstrike took place “at approximately 10:00 am.” She said the target of the strike was “operatives.” All other attacks after 10:00 a.m. came in response to rocket fire or militant ground attacks, the spokeswoman said. Israel unilaterally announced a humanitarian ceasefire from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Monday. The ceasefire was to apply across the Gaza Strip, excluding areas east of Rafah. But Hamas officials told Palestinians in Gaza to be wary of the truce.

Palestinians decry Gaza journalist killings
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 5 Aug by Mohammed Omer & Dalia Hatuqa — Hala Hamad first received the news of her husband Khaled’s death in a television report. “My family were telling me, ‘No, it’s not him,’ but I knew [from] his camera and his vest written Press on it,” she told Al Jazeera, breaking down in tears. Twenty-four-year-old Khaled Hamad worked for a local media company in Gaza City called ‘Continue’ Production Films. He was killed alongside 28-year-old ambulance driver Fouad Jaber when an Israeli tank shell struck the ambulance in which they were travelling. The two were in the hard-hit neighbourhood of Shujayea, as Jaber’s ambulance was one of the first to arrive to evacuate the wounded, and collect the dead bodies … Since the war began, at least 11 Palestinian media workers have been killed: Three at different times in the Shujayea neighbourhood, a driver for Gaza news agency Media 24 in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, and another five were killed while not on duty. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is still investigating the cases of another three reported deaths of journalists …
In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians marched through Ramallah on Tuesday carrying symbolic coffins in memory of the 11 journalists and media workers killed in Gaza since the war began about a month ago. Cameramen, TV presenters, and photographers headed towards the United Nations building carrying banners calling for the media’s right to safety during war coverage, and holding pictures of their fallen colleagues. Another group of demonstrators carried a large placard bearing the names of medical staff who were also killed in Gaza.

In fatal flash, Gaza psychologist switches roles, turning into a trauma victim
GAZA CITY (NY Times) 4 Aug by Anne Barnard — Hassan al-Zeyada has spent decades counseling fellow residents of the Gaza Strip who suffer from psychological trauma. Now, as he prepares to aid his neighbors after a new round of combat and carnage, he has a challenging new patient: himself. An Israeli airstrike demolished Dr. Zeyada’s family home on July 20, killing six close relatives, including his mother and three of his brothers. “You try to help the people with their suffering,” the doctor said recently in his Gaza City living room lined with psychology textbooks. “It’s totally different when you have the same experience. You lose six from your family — three brothers, your mom, one of your nephews, your sister in-law. It’s really” — he paused, red-eyed — “unexpected.” He took a mental step back, to diagnose the hallmarks of trauma in himself: He was exhibiting dissociation, speaking in the second person to distance himself from pain, as well as denial. When he heard about new shelling near where his family lived in the Bureij refugee camp, he picked up the phone to call his oldest brother there. He had forgotten that the house was already gone, his brother already dead. Dr. Zeyada, 50, works to destigmatize mental health care for a Palestinian population exposed repeatedly to war and displacement, practicing at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, which was led by the pioneering Palestinian psychiatrist and human-rights advocate Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj until his death from leukemia in December. Dr. Zeyada is not the only Palestinian caregiver to become a trauma victim. In the three weeks of attacks that Israel has said are meant to root out militant rocket fire and destroy clandestine tunnels into Israel, one of Dr. Zeyada’s colleagues at the program lost a brother, and their boss, Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, lost 26 members of his extended family, including 19 children, in a single bombing.

Prisoners’ Club calls for intervention to reveal fate of Palestinians arrested since Israel’s Gaza offensive began
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 Aug – Head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) Qadora Faris called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other relevant parties to intervene in order to reveal the fate and identities of Palestinians arrested by Israel in Gaza during the Israeli aggression on the strip which started on July 8th. Faris said that until now there is no information about the number of Palestinians arrested throughout the offensive, nor any information about their place of detention, expressing fear that a number of them were executed.

Israeli army summarily executed fleeing civilians in southern Gaza
Electronic Intifada 5 Aug by Charlotte Silver — Even before a short-lived ceasefire allowed journalists to enter the besieged southern Gaza Strip town of Khuzaa on 1 August, desperate reports of an Israeli massacre — including execution-style shootings — had emerged from survivors who had escaped to nearby Khan Younis … Deliberately firing on civilians On Saturday, Ali Abunimah reported on a video apparently made by Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade on 30 July, recording their dedication of the destruction of a mosque in Khuzaa to fallen Israeli soldiers. Now, after conducting its own investigations into the events between 23 and 25 July, Human Rights Watch has accused the Israeli army of deliberately firing on and killing civilians in the southern Gaza town of Khuzaa, violating several laws of war. After interviewing surviving witnesses in Khan Younis, Human Rights Watch was able to chronicle the war crimes committed by the Israeli army. Such crimes include firing on civilians carrying white flags in an attempt to flee the village; shooting at medical workers attending to a mortally wounded Red Crescent paramedic volunteer; denying medical care to Palestinians in Israeli custody; and shooting at civilians after they were ordered to exit their homes.

Video: Israeli soldiers destroy Gaza mosque, dedicate explosion to dead comrades
Electronic Intifada 2 Aug by Ali Abunimah — This video uploaded to YouTube on 31 July is titled in Hebrew “Israeli army forces detonate a mosque with 11 tons of explosives.” The Israeli soldiers apparently from the Givati brigade dedicate the mosque destruction to their fallen comrades and cheer as a massive explosion obliterates it. “Long live the State of Israel!” a voice exclaims. According to the narration by the videographer, the detonation took place on 30 July in Khuzaa, which is east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip … This video, which suggests soldiers may have intended to destroy the mosque as a reprisal, could be evidence of a specific war crime that the soldiers documented themselves … This is the full transcript and translation, by Dena Shunra, of what the videographer says: Khirbat Khuzaa, 30 July 2014, Operation Tzuk Eitan. We’re waiting for the explosion of something like eleven tons of explosive above – and below – the ground….

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

UK activists shut down Israeli arms factory
5 Aug — Victory to the Palestinian struggle! Stop arming Israel! #StopElbit — For nearly a month, Israel has bombarded Gaza from land, sea and air. More than 1800 Palestinians have lost their lives and war crimes have been committed. To our collective shame, the UK government has not only failed to take action to pressure Israel to stop its massacre, but has refused to take steps to end the material support it provides to Israel’s brutal regime of apartheid and colonialism. When governments support crimes against humanity, grassroots movements must take direct action. A group of activists from the London Palestine Action network have today (5/8/14) chained the doors shut of an Israeli weapons factory based near Birmingham in the UK and are now occupying the roof. As part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and in response to calls for action from Palestinian movements, we are demanding the permanent closure of the factory and an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel. The factory that we are occupying produces engines for drones and is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drones producer. Drone engines manufactured at this factory have been exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Elbit Systems drones are being used in Israel’s ongoing massacre. Any claims that components manufactured at this factory are not being used in Israel’s current attack on Gaza are not credible. The factory is also a key part of the Watchkeeper program under which Elbit Systems is leading the manufacture of a new generation of drones for the UK military. The Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450, documented as being used to kill Palestinian civilians during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Elbit Systems markets its drones as ‘field tested’ – by which it means that their drones have been proven to be effective at killing Palestinians. The UK government is importing technology that has been developed during the course of Israeli massacres.

Spain freezes arms exports to Israel over Gaza
MADRID (WAFA) 5 Aug – The Spanish Government has declared it will freeze arms exports to Israel as a preventive measure, in light of the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. According to state sources, the decision was made last Thursday during a session of the inter-ministerial committee on arms manufacturing. Spanish arms exports to Israel are estimated at €4.9 million (in 2013), which constitutes only 1% of the overall exports in Spain, a signal that the decision was politically driven. According to the Spanish Ministry of Commerce’s statistics, Spanish arms exports to Israel range from SUV vehicles, bomb fuses, mortar power systems, among others.

London Times refuses to run Elie Wiesel ad denouncing Hamas’ human shields
JTA 6 Aug — The ad, which specifically refers to children, has run in The New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, among other U.S. newspapers — … The London Times refused the ad because “the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers,” according to a statement from a representative of the newspaper, the Observer reported. Headlined “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas turn,” the ad began running last week. It reads, in part: “In my own lifetime, I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire. And now I have seen Muslim children used as human shields, in both cases, by worshippers of death cults indistinguishable from that of the Molochites. “What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”

UK MPs demand end to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian land
LONDON (AFP) 6 Aug — Excessive Israeli restrictions on Palestinian territories cannot be justified on the grounds they protect Israel, a British parliamentary committee said on Wednesday. “We challenge the assertion that restrictions which curtail economic development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are based on Israel’s security needs and can be justified on security grounds,” the report by the International Development Committee said. The paper expressed particular concern about the situation in Hebron, the Palestinian city in the southern West Bank.  “We were shocked by what we saw during our visit to Hebron. While we fully appreciate Israel’s security concerns, these in no way justify the present restrictions on Palestinians in Hebron, which affect their livelihoods, economic development, and security,” the report said. The group, which monitors the British government’s ministry of international development, called for London and Europe to speak out against restrictions that prevent economic development “as a matter of urgency.” … The lifting of an eight-year blockade of Gaza has been a key demand of all Palestinian factions. But West Bank restrictions in particular, such as the prevention of Palestinian businesses investing in the Israeli-controlled zone, should be opposed by Britain and other European countries, the report said.

Baroness Warsi quits as Foreign Office minister over Gaza
BBC 5 Aug — Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has resigned from the government, saying its policy on the crisis in Gaza is “morally indefensible”. She wrote on her Twitter feed that she was leaving with “deep regret”. Lady Warsi, who was previously chairman of the Conservative Party, became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron took office in 2010. The prime minister said he “regretted” that she had not discussed her decision to quit with him before announcing it. Labour backed Lady Warsi’s comments, but Chancellor George Osborne called her resignation “disappointing and frankly unnecessary” … Several backbench Conservative MPs have called on Mr Cameron to take a more robust line with Israel amid concerns its actions in Gaza are “disproportionate”.

Palestine FM meets ICC reps in Hague
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs met with officials of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands to discuss the Israeli offensive on Gaza on Tuesday, a statement said. During his visit, Riyad al-Maliki inquired about the legal procedures necessary for Palestine to join the ICC and sign the Rome Statute in order to take action against possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza, the statement said. Al-Maliki said he would consult members of the Palestinian Authority government on the matter after his visit. A 2009 attempt by to join the ICC in 2009 failed because of Palestine’s lack of statehood.  But Al-Maliki said Tuesday that Palestine should now quality for ICC membership due to its status as a UN nonmember observer state, AP reported. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize its authority, but the UN Security Council could call for an ICC investigation into potential Israeli war crimes. International human rights organizations have over the course of the 28-day offensive condemned various Israeli actions in Gaza as violations of the laws of war.

Analysis / Opinion / Personal narratives

Never ask me about peace again / Asmaa al-Ghoul
Al-Monitor 4 Aug — A first-hand account of the aftermath of an Israeli strike that killed nine members of the author’s family — Tears flowed until my body ran dry of them when I received a telephone call on Aug. 3, informing me that my family had been targeted by two F-16 missiles in the city of Rafah. Such was the fate of our family in a war that still continues, with every family in the Gaza Strip receiving its share of sorrow and pain. My father’s brother, Ismail al-Ghoul, 60, was not a member of Hamas. His wife, Khadra, 62, was not a militant of Hamas. Their sons, Wael, 35, and Mohammed, 32, were not combatants for Hamas. Their daughters, Hanadi, 28, and Asmaa, 22, were not operatives for Hamas, nor were my cousin Wael’s children, Ismail, 11, Malak, 5, and baby Mustafa, only 24 days old, members of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Fatah. Yet, they all died in the Israeli shelling that targeted their home at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday morning. Their house was located in the Yibna neighborhood of the Rafah refugee camp. It was one story with a roof made of thin asbestos that did not require two F-16 missiles to destroy. Would someone please inform Israel that refugee camp houses can be destroyed, and their occupants killed, with only a small bomb, and that it needn’t spend billions to blow them into oblivion? If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas … On the fifth day of the war, when I went to write my Rafah report about the shelling of the Ghannam family, I stopped by to visit my cousin’s house. I saw my relatives and we took photographs together. During the war, my cousin Wael’s wife had given birth to twins, Mustafa and Ibrahim, who were like two tiny angels, harbingers of hope and joy. How could I have known that this would be our last meeting? I wish I had stayed longer and talked to them some more … Endings are so strange, as are living moments that suddenly become relegated to the past. We will never see them again, and the pictures that I took of the twins are now so precious, as one of them, Mustafa, was killed, while the other, Ibrahim, remained alive. I wonder how they could differentiate between them, for they looked so much alike. Who identified them when their father died and their mother lay wounded in intensive care? Who was Mustafa, and who was Ibrahim? It was as if they had merged upon one twin’s death … I was born in 1982, in that same house in Rafah’s refugee camp, where the family’s large household expanded. I grew up there, and everything else grew with us: the first intifada, the resistance, my nearby school that I walked to every day. There, I saw my first-ever book library. There, I remember seeing my grandfather fall asleep as he listened to the BBC. And there, I laid eyes on the first Israeli soldier in my life, striking my grandfather to force him to erase the national slogans that adorned the walls of our refugee camp home. Now, the house and its future memories have been laid to waste, its children taken to early graves. Homes and recollections bombed into oblivion, their inhabitants homeless and lost, just as their camp always had been. Never ask me about peace again.

Jimmy Carter: World powers should rethink approach to Hamas
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Former US president Jimmy Carter said in an op-ed Monday that in order for the Israel-Gaza status quo to change, the international community needs to recognize Hamas as a “legitimate political actor.” “Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise,” an op-ed written by Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson said. “Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” the op-ed, published in Foreign Policy, said. “Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.”  Carter and Robinson called for an “partial lifting” of the eight-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip, and said an international force should be put into place to monitor border crossings.  The presence of an international force is also necessary to hold both sides accountable for ceasefire violations, they said.

Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel / Michael Lerner 4 Aug — I’ve always been proud of Israel, but the brutal Gaza assault requires Jews worldwide to be honest, not nationalist —  My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis. All my life I’ve been a champion of Israel, proud of its many accomplishments in science and technology that have benefited the world, insistent on the continuing need for the Jewish people to have a state that offers protections from anti-Semitism that has reared its head continuously throughout Christian and Islamic societies, willing to send my only child to serve in the Israeli Army (the paratroopers unit-tzanchanim), and enjoying the pleasures of long swaths of time in which I could study in Jerusalem and celebrate Shabbat in a city that weekly closed down the hustle and bustle of the capitalist marketplace for a full 25 hours. And though as editor of Tikkun I printed articles challenging the official story of how Israel came to be, showing its role in forcibly ejecting tens of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and allowing Jewish terrorist groups under the leadership of (future Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir) to create justified fears that led hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians to flee for their lives, I always told myself that the dominant humanity of the Jewish people and the compassionate strain within Torah would reassert itself once Israel felt secure. That belief began to wane in the past eight years when Israel, faced with a Palestinian Authority that promoted nonviolence and sought reconciliation and peace, ignored the Saudi Arabian-led peace initiative that would have granted Israel the recognition that it had long sought, an end to hostilities, and a recognized place in the Middle East, refused to stop its expansion of settlements in the West Bank and imposed an economically crushing blockade on Gaza. Even Hamas, whose hateful charter called for Israel’s destruction, had decided to accept the reality of Israel’s existence, and while unable to embrace its “right” to exist, nevertheless agreed to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority and in that context live within the terms that the PA would negotiate with Israel. Yet far from embracing this new possibility for peace, the Israeli government used that as its reason to break off the peace negotiations, and then, in an unbelievably cynical move, let the brutal and disgusting kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens (by a rogue element in Hamas that itself was trying to undermine the reconciliation-with-Israel factions of Hamas by creating new fears in Israel) become the pretext for a wild assault on West Bank civilians, arresting hundreds of Hamas sympathizers, and escalating drone attacks on Hamas operatives inside Gaza…. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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7 Responses

  1. Kay24
    August 6, 2014, 12:06 pm

    The arrogance of the war criminals. After slaughtering nearly a 2 thousand civilians, injuring thousands more, destroying homes, schools, hospitals, and even UN shelters, they dare make demands as to how the Palestinians must react to their butchery.
    They show such arrogance because they KNOW the world biggest superpower is behind them, aiding them and supporting them. If this was North Korea or Russia, we would have been shouting our outrage at them, and urging even more sanctions.

    Israel is getting strongly condemned at the UN right now, and it is not only the Arab nations, even the EU strongly condemned the brutality of this crime. Over to you America, are you going to strongly condemn the war criminal too, or give a half hearted whisper of something resembling condemnation. Will AIPAC be writing your statement today?

  2. just
    August 6, 2014, 12:16 pm

    If anyone is listening to the whitewash on MSM: read Kate’s compilation and then go here:

    “Never forget” is supposed to MEAN something.

  3. michelle
    August 6, 2014, 3:07 pm

    that’s rich
    i think i’ll go tell my neighbor
    to get rid of any and all of ‘his’
    weapons … what a maroon Israel is
    while i’m at it i will build a fence
    you know so i’ll be safe
    but i will build it on my neighbors property
    it’s alright right …. what a maroon Israel is
    i think i’ll build a home on that hill over there
    it’s inside the fence i built so it’s alright right
    what a maroon Israel is
    G-d Bless

  4. lysias
    August 6, 2014, 4:24 pm

    Zionist stooges in Congress want to go after the UN and UNRWA.

    New item on Congressional Quarterly news ticker:

    Sens. Mark S. Kirk, Benjamin L. Cardin and Marco Rubio want an independent investigation into the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which administers social services to Palestinian refugees. According to reports, in three recent incidents in Gaza, Hamas rockets were discovered on UNRWA premises and returned to Hamas.

  5. ritzl
    August 6, 2014, 7:51 pm

    And if “it” doesn’t disarm?…

    And all the related questions like, “Who decides if it is disarmed?” Moshe Feiglin?

    Thanks, Kate. As always.

  6. kma
    August 7, 2014, 12:26 am

    wow. how is Gaza going to get rid of all those rocks after Israel reduced their homes into rubble?
    zionism is genocide.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    August 7, 2014, 2:16 pm

    israel should be forced to rebuild all that which it has destroyed. What goes around, comes around…

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