As war rages in Gaza, West Bank routine of violence and arrests unabated
Haaretz 24 Aug by Amira Hass — Arrests, expulsions, home demolitions, land seizure and settlers harassing Palestinians continues: Since the beginning of the fighting in the south on July 8, soldiers and police have injured 2,139 Palestinians in the West Bank — …This past Friday, as on every Friday, IDF soldiers attempted to suppress West Bank demonstrations against the theft of their lands and the mass killing in Gaza. One young man in Kafr Qaddum was injured when he was hit in the head by a gas canister. In the other villages – according to reports – demonstrators choked on teargas. Between August 12 and 18, IDF troops injured 139 Palestinians at demonstrations in the West Bank. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 37 of them, or 27 percent, were wounded by live fire. The others were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets or teargas. Since the beginning of the fighting in the south on July 8, soldiers and police have injured 2,139 Palestinians in the West Bank.Since the beginning of this year, IDF troops have injured a total of 3,995 Palestinians in this part of the occupied territory. In all of last year, soldiers injured 3,736 Palestinians. Since July 8, IDF soldiers have killed two children in the West Bank and 15 adults, mostly at demonstrations in support of Gaza. A trifling matter. The expulsion order may not be routine, but army raids into homes are. Boy are they. Children awake in panic in their homes from pounding on the door, rifles drawn and soldiers who are either masked or have black face paint. Between August 12 and 18, a total of 91 such raids were carried out in various villages and neighborhoods. That’s an average of 13 per night, and according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, last week IDF soldiers and police arrested 111 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including 20 in Jerusalem. From the beginning of August, the IDF and police have arrested 477 Palestinians in the West Bank. And that’s without even considering home demolitions, the seizure of land and harassment by Israeli settlers.
Child dies of a serious injury suffered Friday
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources in the West Bank have reported that a Palestinian child died Monday from a serious injury suffered after the army opened fire at Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus last Friday. The sources said Hassan ‘Ashour, age 15, was shot by several rounds of live ammunition in the chest and liver, and was later declared clinically dead until he passed away on Monday morning. Local sources said that the child was wounded during clashes which took place at the Beit Forik Israeli military roadblock, east Nablus, after the soldiers assaulted several Palestinians.
In related news, dozens of soldiers invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped one Palestinian. Local sources said the kidnapped Palestinian has been identified as Ra’fat Na’im Abd Aker, 46 years of age. Also, a Palestinian from Nahhalin village, west of Bethlehem, was kidnapped in occupied Jerusalem for “not holding an entry and work permit”. The Palestinian has been identified as Nassar ‘Aqel Najajra, 21.
Israeli police shoot Palestinian in Shu‘fat camp
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — A young Palestinian man from Shu‘fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem sustained serious wounds Saturday evening after he was struck by two gunshots fired by Jerusalem police. Thaer al-Fasfous told Ma’an that 20-year-old Yahya Alqam was hit twice in the abdomen by live fire fired from the nearby settlement of Pisgat Zeev. Al-Fasfous said that fire was opened from Pisgat Zeev on Palestinian houses in Shu‘fat allegedly in response to fire from Shufat at the Israeli settlement. Alqam was evacuated to Hadassah hospital where he was placed in intensive care. Al-Fasfous said that Israeli officers were deployed outside the intensive care room where Alqam was being treated, indicating that he was considered under arrest. The officers, he added, questioned young Palestinian men who went to check on Alqam in the hospital. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that a suspect “opened fire” at Pisgat Zeev on Friday, and on Saturday police saw him open fire a second time. He “was shot by border police when he opened fire,” Rosenfeld added. Although Shu‘fat refugee camp is located in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, it is surrounded by the separation wall and movement between the camp and neighboring areas of East Jerusalem is regulated by military checkpoints. Its 20,000 residents are among the poorest in East Jerusalem. At least 550 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been arrested in the last six weeks amid rising tensions over the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians.
In pictures: Masked forces assault the sick young man Haitham Qwider after raiding and damaging his family’s building
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 19 Aug — 21-year-old Haitham Atyeh Qweider is suffering from bruises and pains in his body after he was assaulted by the Israeli forces during their break-in to his family’s house. Haitham’s father explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the incident occurred when the forces raided the family’s house in the neighborhood of Bir Ayoub in Silwan to arrest Abed and Mahmoud Qweider. Abu Haitham explained that more than 70 masked Israeli soldiers surrounded the residential building and then broke in after damaging the main doors. They started with the house of Khader Qweider and assaulted and severely beat him on his face and specifically his eyes; note that they also assaulted his wife. Abu Haitham added: “they suddenly broke into my house and damaged some of the furniture and then detained my son Haitham who suffers from a disability and is mute. Then, they shocked him with the electric shocks in different parts of his body and the soldiers refused to let him go and did not believe that he was disabled.” Abu Haitham also said: “they also broke into the roof of the building and damaged it and assaulted me. They requested the arrest of 18-year old Mahmoud and 25-year old Abed and I informed them that they are in Kufor Aqab but they refused to listen and continued their assault. They left the building after handing me an order for investigation at Al-Maskobyeh for my two sons.” Qweider pointed out that the forces raided his house ten days ago to confiscate the surveillance cameras and when he told the forces that the cameras do not have anything recorded, they arrested and assaulted him and he was then released with a financial bail and was informed that he will be called up to court.
Schoolboys clash with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar, 2 injured
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Aug – Two young Palestinian men suffered minor wounds Sunday afternoon after they were hit by rubber-coated bullets in the feet during clashes with Israeli troops in the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, a local spokesman said. Muhammad Ayyad Awad of the Beit Ummar popular committee against Israel’s separation wall and settlements told Ma‘an that clashes with Israeli forces broke out in Asida neighborhood after school pupils rallied in the area protesting the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers, he said, fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters haphazardly at the protesters and at houses in the town. As a result, many residents and bystanders were hurt as a result of inhaling tear gas.
Separately, Israeli soldiers smashed the rear windshield of a Palestinian private car at the northern entrance to Beit Ummar after they stopped the car and questioned the driver Muhammad Ahmad Younis al-Alami, 25.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians in Nablus, Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Sources at the Nablus office of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed Balata refugee camp east of Nablus and detained Mahmoud Shteii and Rami Murshid. The sources added that Israeli troops stopped a vehicle at a flying checkpoint on the main road in Nablus to Wadi al-Bathan and detained its driver after inspecting the vehicle. The man had not yet been identified. In Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers detained 25-year-old Wajih Abd al-Fattah Awwad after ransacking his family’s home in the city. Separately, Israeli forces stormed Beit Fajjar town south of Bethlehem and detained 25-year-old Musab Muhammad Jarad Thawabtah from his home.
Israel to close Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims Monday
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — The Israeli authorities will close the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers on Monday for a Jewish holiday, the Hebron office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments said Sunday. In a statement released Sunday, the ministry’s office quoted the chief guard of the Ibrahimi Mosque as saying that the mosque will be “completely at the disposal of settlers who will perform religious Jewish rituals” to mark the beginning of the new Hebrew month of Elul.
West Bank students start school year in solidarity with Gaza peers
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — The Palestinian Ministry of Education has decided to dedicate the first day of the academic school year to solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip, where around 500,000 students are unable to attend classes due to the ongoing Israeli offensive, a local official said. Issam Dabaseh, secretary-general of the teachers’ union in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, told Ma‘an that the ministry had decided to dedicate the first day of the 2014-15 academic year, which begins Sunday, to discussing the assault on Gaza with the estimated 700,000 Palestinian students in West Bank schools. He added that classes would be suspended at 11:00 a.m. and students along with their teachers would head to the centers of their towns and villages across the West Bank to protest in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.
Israeli teens’ kidnappers evaded army, hid in cesspool after murders
Haaretz 24 Aug by Chaim Levinson — Indictment against captured collaborators reveals details of how kidnapping was planned and how the two main suspects avoided capture — Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, the suspected kidnappers and murderers of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June, managed to change their hiding place undetected five days after the kidnapping, despite the presence of large military forces in the area, according to an indictment presented to a military court last week. The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service are still searching for the two suspects, some two-and-a-half months after the kidnapping. Their capture is a major goal of the IDF Central Command, both in order to bring them to justice and out of a concern that they will strike again. Others involved in the kidnapping have been apprehended and are standing trial. Those proceedings, in open court, have shed some light on the kidnapping. Even though it was first thought that the kidnappers were professionals who had left no trace, the investigation shows that they were amateurs who made many mistakes. This only sharpens the puzzle of how they are managing to elude capture, despite the enormous resources invested in their apprehension. Following the arrest of Hussam Qawasmeh, who organized and funded the kidnapping, security officials learned that the kidnappers had intended to kill the teenagers all along. A plot of land had been purchased and Hussam, together with Abu Aisheh, transferred the bodies there for burial, in Hussam’s car, after the shooting. Marwan, meanwhile, burned the vehicle used to kidnap the abductees….
3 Palestinians killed as airstrikes continue across Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Three Palestinians were killed overnight Sunday as Israel’s air force targeted over 30 sites in the Gaza Strip, medical officials said. Farhana al-Attar was killed in Beit Lahiya after a missile struck her home after midnight, medics said. Yasin al-Biltaji and Yahya Abu Daqin were killed at dawn when Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a group of people in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City. Dozens were injured in the strike.
In Rafah, two Palestinians were injured by an Israeli airstrike near the crossing terminal, while seven people were injured in Jabalia when an Israeli strike destroyed the al-Kahlut family home. The al-Ghoul, Nuthur, Karaja, and Abu Aun family homes were destroyed in targeted strikes overnight, witnesses said.
The Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz mosque was destroyed in Beit Hanoun, together with the Ali Ibn Abu Talib mosque in Gaza City.
5 including three children killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Five Palestinians were killed Sunday afternoon including three children when an Israeli airstrike hit a house in the Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll since midnight to 13. Witnesses told Ma‘an reporter that an Israeli missile hit a house without any warning. As a result, five members of the family were killed. Earlier in the afternoon, an Israeli airstrike at the Courts complex in Gaza City injured four people. Israeli warplanes also fired more than 11 missiles at Abu Maaroof neighborhood in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip injuring ten people.
7 Palestinians including baby girl killed in Israeli airstrikes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Seven Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Sunday and dozens more wounded as Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip continued for the 48th day, while rockets fired from Lebanon and Syria into Israel threatened to escalate the conflict. The airstrikes early Sunday on Gaza brought the total death total in Israel’s massive assault to 2,111 with more than 10,500 injured, as the United Nations said that more than 460,000 Palestinians were still displaced and living in shelters across the densely packed coastal enclave. Five Palestinians were killed and dozens others were injured around noon as airstrikes continued to pound Gaza after two were killed overnight.
An Israeli airstrike killed a teenage boy and a baby girl and injured five others in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip. Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed that the bodies of 2-year-old Zeina Bilal Abu Taqiyya and 17-year-old Muhammad Wael al-Khudari were taken to al-Shifa hospital.
Medical sources said that Muhammad al-Luqa was killed and another was injured in an Israeli airstrike on a motorcycle near al-Atatra Square in Beit Lahiya.
At least one man was killed and 10 injured after an airstrike hit the home of the Tallini family in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip around noon. Medical sources said more bodies are believed to be buried under the wreckage of the house and rescue teams are still working in the area.
An Israeli airstrike on a car in the vicinity of the Palestine Stadium in central Gaza, meanwhile, left the driver dead. A Ma‘an reporter in Gaza quoted eyewitnesses as saying that a fire broke out in the car after it was hit directly by an Israeli missile. The driver was killed instantly and a number of bystanders were injured.
Shortly before that, rescue teams recovered a dead body of a man from the rubble of Tallini family home in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
Separately, an Israeli airstrike hit home of Nabhan family in the northern Gaza Strip injuring four.
Early Sunday, witnesses said that Israeli aircraft targeted a group of people near the Fayrouz Towers in northwestern Gaza City, killing two and injuring 10. Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra identified the two casualties as Badr Hashim Abu Mnih and Yahya Abu al-Omareen, both in their twenties. They were taken to al-Shifa Hospital.
Israeli aircraft also struck the largest commercial center in the southern city of Rafah, completely leveling a building with dozens of shops, two weeks after an office in the same building was hit.
In western Gaza City, an Israeli airstrike hit the home of the al-Ghulayni family. No injuries were reported in the first strike, but a second strike that occurred soon after left six injured after it struck a crowd that gathered to survey the damage.
An Israeli airstrike also targeted a house in the al-Barka neighborhood of Deir al-Balah without warning, leaving a number injured, in addition to a home in the al-Maghazi refugee camp which was also destroyed. Another Palestinian was injured after an Israeli airstrike hit the Beit Lahiya sports club.
Israeli aircraft also launched dozens of air strikes on agricultural lands and open areas in different regions of the Gaza Strip.
Watch: Israeli airstrike levels 12-story building in Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an/AFP) — An Israeli airstrike on Saturday evening leveled a 12-story apartment building in the heart of Gaza City, wounding at least 18 people, 10 of them children, and leaving dozens of Palestinian families homeless. Residents in the 12-story Zafer 4 building were called by the Israeli military 10 minutes before the attack and told to evacuate, sparking a stampede as dozens of people ran down to the street, neighbors said. Two missiles then slammed into the complex, reducing it to a pile of dusty rubble and sparking panic in the area as the tower collapsed on top of itself amid a massive cloud of smoke and debris, witnesses said. An Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP a Hamas military operations room had been located in the building. Veiled women wept as they stumbled down the street, cradling young children. “They called some residents and said ‘evacuate, the tower will be shelled’. We escaped to my neighbor and in minutes they destroyed it,” said Sanaa Joda, who lived in the building. A video from Shehab News Agency that could not be verified appeared to show the destruction of the building from a number of angles: Dozens of families were said to live in the building, adding to the 460,000 people already displaced by the war in Gaza — more than a quarter of the enclave’s 1.8 million population. The United Nations estimated on Friday that around 103,000 people have been left homeless in the besieged coastal enclave, as around 17,000 homes have been completely destroyed or severely damaged.
This got mainstream media coverage in the US, at least in print
Israeli airstrike collapses Gaza apartment tower
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 23 Aug by Karin Laub & Peter Enav — Israel bombed an apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the 12-story building in an unprecedented strike, while Hamas kept up heavy rocket fire that sent more Israelis fleeing border areas close to Gaza. The violence signaled that a speedy resumption of truce talks is unlikely, despite another appeal by mediator Egypt. Gaps between Israel and Hamas on a border deal for blockaded Gaza remain vast, and repeated rounds of talks have ended in failure. In the Gaza City strike, a huge fireball followed by a black column of smoke rose into the sky after two Israeli missiles toppled the Zafer Tower, one in a group of several high-rises in the upscale Tel al-Hawa neighborhood. Neighboring buildings shook from the blasts. The Israeli military said the missiles targeted a Hamas operations room in the building, but did not explain why the entire tower with 44 apartments was brought down. Gaza police said a warning missile had been fired five minutes earlier and that some residents were able to rush out of the building in time. Still, 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women, according to Gaza hospital officials. Maher Abu Sedo, an area resident, said the two strikes came within seconds of each other. “People started shouting Allahu Akbar, and women and kids were screaming,” he said. “This is crazy. The state of Israel has resorted to madness. In less than a minute, 44 families have become displaced … They lost everything, their house, their money, their memories and their security.” Some 100,000 Gazans have become homeless, with more than 17,000 homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair, according to U.N. figures. However, the Saturday strike marked the first time an entire apartment high-rise was destroyed…
Meanwhile, Gaza militants fired over 100 rockets and mortar shells at Israel on Saturday. The barrage came a day after a mortar shell from Gaza hit a farming village in southern Israel, killing a 4-year-old boy. Israeli media said large numbers of residents of southern Israeli communities near the Gaza border were leaving their homes and heading for safer areas following the death of the boy in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Photos: Aftermath of Israeli bombing of Gaza apartment complex
Aljazeera America 24 Aug – 1: Palestinian men watch as an Israeli bomb (top left) falls onto an apartment complex in Gaza City, August 23, 2014
Palestinian fighter injured in Israeli airstrike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — The National Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said on Saturday that one of its fighters was injured in an Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza. The Brigades said in a statement that a fighter was injured in the airstrike with moderate injuries. The group, along with al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, also claimed responsibility for firing three 107 missiles at the Sufa Israeli military base outside of Gaza. The Israeli military said on Saturday around 5 p.m. that 60 rockets had been fired into Israel since midnight.
4 killed in airstrikes across Gaza as death toll surpasses 2,100
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Four Palestinians were killed on Saturday afternoon and dozens injured as Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued into its 47th day, as fears grew that Israel was planning to intensify its assault a day after a child was killed in mortar fire in southern Israel. The deaths in Israeli airstrikes brought the total number of deaths in Gaza on Saturday to 12, including five members of one family, and the total death toll since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to 2,105. Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that a 10-year-old Palestinian named Hussein Ahmad and his mother Nisreen Ahmad were killed and two others injured in an airstrike that hit a house in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip. The body of Suheir Abu Mdein was also recovered from under rubble in Deir al-Balah.Witnesses told Ma‘an that an airstrike hit the house of Abu Anwar Saliha near Yaffa mosque.
Earlier, 64-year-old Muhammad Sabir al-Ijlah was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Juhr al-Dik in the northeastern Gaza Strip that also injured seven others.
Additionally, medical sources said a man was killed and several others were injured by Israeli airstrikes in al-Jneina neighborhood in Rafah in the south. Another unidentified man was killed in the central Gaza Strip in an air strike, while Salah Isleim succumbed to wounds he sustained three weeks ago in Khan Younis.
The deaths on Saturday began with the killing of five Palestinians including three children in an airstrike on the home of the Abu Dahrouj family in the al-Zawayda neighborhood of the central Gaza Strip. Al-Qidra named the victims as 4-year-old Abdullah Hayil Abu Dahdouh, 49-year-old Hayat Abed Rabbo Abu Dahdouh, 27-year-old Huda Muhammad Abu Dahdouh, 26-year-old Hayil Shihdeh Abu Dahdouh and 3-year-old Hadi Hayil Abu Dahdouh.
Gaza border towns all but abandoned, with 70% of residents relocating
Haaretz 25 Aug by Nir Hasson — The death of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman from a mortar shell fragment on Friday marked a turning point in the state’s attitude towards evacuating residents of communities near the Gaza Strip. In contrast to policies in place from the start of Operation Protective Edge until now, Friday’s fatal attack set the Defense Ministry’s National Authority for Emergency Management looking for solutions for families wishing to evacuate the area. Over the last three days, some 400 families have requested assistance in finding arrangements far away from the border. In contrast to earlier stages of the fighting, such families no longer have to depend on non-governmental agencies or private donations. The state is now committed to financing their stay away from areas at risk. All sides are careful to note that this does not constitute an evacuation. “This isn’t 1948,” clarified an employee at one local authority. “Don’t label it an evacuation. These are arrangements for living away from home,” said another employee. “We’re not evacuating any community.” However, semantics cannot hide the fact that most residents living in high-risk areas chose to leave their homes again. “We were told not to call it an evacuation, only a breather, but we should call a spade a spade. We left the kibbutz since it’s impossible to remain there,” says Yael Stadin, community head at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. Yesterday, with the assistance of the Authority for Emergency Management and the Eshkol Regional Council, most kibbutz members left, moving into a youth hostel in Jerusalem. One family, a mother and two adult daughters, decided at the last minute to stay. A few hours later, a mortar shell landed near their house and one of the daughters suffered slight head injuries.
Erez crossing closed after mortars injure 4 civilians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 24 Aug — Israeli authorities on Sunday closed the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel to injured Palestinians seeking medical care outside of Gaza after five mortars hit the area and injured four civilians. The Israeli Ministry of Defense said in a statement that as a result of the “direct and continuous fire purposely aimed at the crossing,” authorities had decided to close the crossing. Although the Erez crossing is generally tightly restricted by Israeli authorities, in recent weeks patients injured during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza have been transferred through the crossing to hospitals in East Jerusalem, Turkey, and other places Gazans are unable to reach due to the Israeli blockade. The ministry said that 50 people including injured and their escorts were supposed to cross today. The ministry added that the crossing would be closed for the rest of the day, except for “life-saving action.” Police told AFP that three were injured in the mortar strikes and that they were all Arab public transport drivers waiting in the crossing’s car park, two of them Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Rahat and one a Palestinian from Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.
Exclusive: Militants, weapons transit Gaza tunnels despite Egyptian crackdown
AL-SARSOURIYA, Egypt (Reuters) 21 Aug — A third of the houses on the main street of this Bedouin town near Egypt’s border with Gaza look derelict, but inside they buzz with the activity of tunnel smugglers scrambling to survive a security crackdown by the Egyptian army. Smugglers and tunnel owners, who once publicly advertised their services, have taken over the nearly two dozen single-storey concrete structures and boarded up their doors and windows to avoid the attention of the authorities. While tunnels used by Gaza’s dominant Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel were a priority target of an Israeli offensive in the Palestinian enclave this summer, many smuggling conduits into Egypt have skirted detection. That has allowed transports of weapons, building materials, medicine and food to continue to and from the small, coastal territory that is subject to blockade by both Israel and Egypt, tunnel operators say and Egyptian security sources acknowledge. “During the Gaza war, business has flourished,” said a Bedouin guide who gave Reuters access to one of the tunnels and a rare look at how the illicit, lucrative industry has evolved since Egypt began trying to root out the passages in 2012 … Egypt accuses the Islamist Hamas of supporting the Sinai insurgents, which Hamas denies. For its part, Israel has long wanted Egypt to end arms smuggling from Sinai to Gaza militants.
Israeli army drop leaflets inciting against Palestinian resistance in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 24 Aug — The Israeli army on Saturday dropped new leaflets on different residential areas in the Gaza Strip, threatening the Palestinian residents that it will target their homes and farms under the pretext that they allow the Palestinian resistance to use them to launch rockets on Israel. The Israeli leaflets threatened residents and their properties and incited them against the Palestinian resistance and the Hamas leadership in particular. Apart from the leaflets, the army dispatched voice messages and SMS messages to the enclave’s residents.
IDF wary of new ground war
Haaretz 25 Aug by Amos Harel — Army still believes that reoccupying Gaza would cost hundreds of Israeli lives, take several weeks and would need to be followed by months-long systematic campaign of clearing out the terror networks — Hamas is now investing most of its energy in massive mortar-shell and short-range rocket barrages for two reasons: This is its most readily available offensive capability, and the organization sees Israel’s difficulty in defending itself against it. Since the cease-fire collapsed last Tuesday, Hamas has been maintaining a pace of more than 120 rockets and mortars fired at Israel daily, the overwhelming majority of them at the Gaza border communities, a few at southern cities like Ashdod and Ashkelon and only a handful at the center of the country. Military Intelligence believes that Hamas has slightly more than a hundred rockets with a range of more than 40 kilometers, which is why the organization is strictly limiting their use … It’s possible that it has suffered from the series of attacks on its command structure. Six days after the attempt to assassinate him, there still is no sign of life from military commander Mohammed Deif. Israel has seen no signs that Deif has resumed any activity and it seems that his replacement is Marwan Issa, the No. 2 man in the group’s military wing, who previously was the intermediary between the armed forces and the group’s political leadership….
Schools shut for 500,000 Gaza students as Israeli bombing continues
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Half a million schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip will be unable to start the fall semester this week as the coastal enclave reels from the effects of an ongoing Israeli assault that has damaged at least 277 schools so far. Although schools were scheduled to open on Saturday, nearly one-third are still being used shelters for some of the 485,000 Gazans displaced by Israeli bombardment, including 100,000 who have been left homeless. Palestinian Minister of Education Khawla al-Shakhshir told Ma‘an on Friday that the although the new school year will begin on Sunday for 700,000 students in the West Bank, it has been “delayed until further notice” in Gaza.
How the IDF turned a Palestinian house into a military post
972blog 23 Aug by Alexandr Nabokov — Shattered televisions, clothes and food scattered everywhere, clogged toilets, walls covered in drawings, stolen jewelry. These are the scenes that awaited Palestinians in Gaza upon returning to their homes that were used as IDF military posts — The devastation is total. Furniture is overturned, clothes are torn out of the closets and scattered around. Though I try to avoid it, I trample on them as I walk over broken glass, food scraps and cartridge cases. The walls are scribbled with Hebrew writing; large maps of the surrounding houses, along with guard schedules. I am inside a house that seems to be the one from which Salem Shamaly was shot dead in Shejaiye, the young man who died a few meters in front of me when he tried to evacuate his relatives during what was supposed to be a humanitarian ceasefire. It’s not the first time I’ve seen destruction inside a house like this.
It is one of four houses I have walked through that was used by Israeli forces during Operation Protective Edge, and the destruction in them is similar. I guide a TV crew around the house, pointing at the ‘X’ spraypainted outside the windows; a signal to fellow soldiers not to attack. I show the the crew the sandbags in the windows, how the soldiers made use of pillowcases belonging to the house’s inhabitants and filled them with sand; that is why the floor tiles are broken – to gain access to the sand beneath.
Evidence of the soldiers’ presence is everywhere: the empty packages of underwear and the used ones scattered on the floor, the empty tins of food with Hebrew labels, wrapped sandwiches, two military shirts and a dark blue beret that were left behind, the shattered TV screen with a hammer beside it, the empty jewelry box. It is customary to give gifts of gold jewelry at Palestinian weddings. In one of the other four houses also used as a military outpost the owner showed me his wife’s empty jewelry box, along with a valuation certificate. When I mentioned this to my contact at the UN she confirmed that similar reports had been received all along the border areas between Gaza and Israel, where Israeli soldiers had set up military posts in private Palestinian homes. But don’t worry, this is the world’s most moral army.
Those in the TV crew recoil when they see and smell the stench from the toilets. I can only confirm that it’s the same in all the houses I’ve been to; flushing toilets doesn’t seem to be part of military training. I show the crew the cover of a Koran that has had all its pages torn out, a family album with all its photographs missing. Erasing the memories of Palestinian history has long been part of Israeli warfare; history is what builds national identity….
PHOTOS: Losing your home twice in one war
Activestills 24 Aug photos and text: Basel Yazouri — Sixty-year-old Ibrahim Abu Odeh, otherwise known as Abu Alaa, lives in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. He was forced to flee his house with his family and the rest of the residents of Beit Hanoun, who ran in search of “anywhere close, safe, and provides shelter” when the Israelis began striking it. Abu Alaa lives in a three-story building with six apartments. Each one is occupied by one of his five married sons and their families. That makes 33 people in total, 21 of them children. “We were all gathered on the ground floor,” he says, “to escape the top floors that are more vulnerable to shelling. We were in the last days of Ramadan, we heard heavy explosions all over town and the surrounding areas. The next morning, the shelling got stronger, we heard the neighbors shouting and we saw houses around us hit directly by missiles, which forced everyone to flee in search of safer places, leaving behind everything we own.” Abu Alaa and his family took refuge in a secondary school for boys in the Jabalya refugee camp, where he said living conditions were unbearable. After two weeks there, when the first humanitarian ceasefire came into effect, some of Beit Hanoun’s residents, including Abu Alaa and his son Alewa, were able to return to the neighborhood. “We found a horrific sight,” he says. “Houses were destroyed on top of each other and you couldn’t tell them apart. At first I thought that our house was ruined, but as we moved forward we saw four houses that partially survived. One of them was ours.” The house was severely damaged from continuous shelling for days. Last week, Abu Alaa and some of his family members returned to the house again, “because living in the school is no life.” … This story was originally published on August 17, 2014 on the Heber website. Since its publication, the family has had to flee once again due to the renewal of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Poll: Majority of Gazans support peace, oppose disarmament
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — An overwhelming majority of Gaza residents support a long-term truce with Israel and oppose the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance, a poll released on Saturday showed. The poll, which surveyed 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza from Aug. 14-19 and was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, also found that a vast majority [85%] opposed the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, which Israeli leaders have claimed maintains support in Gaza. More than 90 percent of Gazans surveyed thought that resistance was either “well prepared” or “somewhat prepared” for the Israeli assault, and more than 93 percent opposed the disarmament of Palestinian militant groups, which Israel has said is a condition of any long-term truce. At the same time, despite an Israeli assault that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians — overwhelmingly civilians — in the last six weeks, nearly 88 percent of those surveyed also supported a long-term truce, and another 10 percent supported an unspecified “medium-term” truce. 80 percent rated US President Barack Obama’s stance on the conflict, which has been decidedly pro-Israel, as “negative,” while 65 percent said they were “very” or “fairly” content with Egypt’s role as a mediator in indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians. More than 80 percent, meanwhile, were in favor of International Criminal Court intervention against Israel for prosecution for war crimes committed during the offensive.
Hamas executes 4 alleged collaborators in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Hamas executed four alleged collaborators with Israel in the courtyard of a mosque in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that armed men brought the group of four into the court and opened fire at them while dozens of locals gathered. The Hamas-affiliated Al-Majd website quoted security sources as saying that the four were executed in a “revolutionary” way after “legal measures were completed.” Hamas reportedly declined to release the names or pictures of the executed for the sake of social stability. The reports come after the Palestinian Authority’s presidential office denounced the 18 executions of alleged collaborators on Friday and three the day before, calling them “extrajudicial” and condemning Hamas for failing to abide by existing legal procedures for dealing with the cases.
Israel agents in Gaza surrender
Middle East Monitor 23 Aug — The Palestinian resistance said that a number of agents collaborating with the Israeli occupation handed themselves over after execution sentences were carried out against 18 suspected collaborators on Friday. In a statement distributed on mass media, the resistance said: “After the execution sentences issued by the revolutionary courts against a number of agents, and carrying out the execution openly, a group of agents handed themselves over and announced their repentance.” According to the statement the Palestinian resistance activated a system of detention for agents who do not surrender, in order to bring them before revolutionary courts for conviction. “Every sentence will be proportionate to the crimes,” the statement said. The statement also said that the door for agents who would like to repent is still open. The agents only have to disclose their identities to the resistance. “The resistance will be merciful to any agent who repents. We pledge to protect him and the reputation of his family,” the statement said. “Anyone who surrenders will not be punished.”
Former Israeli AG: Our government staged the assassination of Al-Daif
Middle East Monitor 24 Aug — In the biggest blow to Israeli propaganda which claimed that Hamas broke the ceasefire, former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben Yair has said that “it was Israel who staged the alleged Hamas breach of the ceasefire in order to create the conditions for assassinating Muhammad Al-Daif, Commander-in-Chief of Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades. The website of Makor Rishon newspaper said that Ben Yair, who also worked as a judge in the Israeli supreme court, tweeted on his twitter account the following: “There is no agreement and hostilities have been renewed, but who is the culprit? Hamas who wants an agreement with accomplishments or Israel who staged the breach of the ceasefire in order to justify the assassination of Muhammad Al-Daif?”
Iran to send aid to Gaza Strip via Egypt
TEHRAN (AFP) 23 Aug — Iran plans to send aid to beleaguered Gaza after Egypt said it would allow the shipment to enter the Palestinian territory, an Iranian diplomatic source said Friday. The official IRNA news agency said Cairo had agreed to transfer humanitarian aid bound for the coastal enclave, citing a Foreign Ministry source in Tehran. The source said a first Iranian Red Crescent shipment of 100 tons of medicine and food would be flown “soon” to Cairo. “The package weighs 100 tons and consists of food and medication,” IRNA quoted the source as saying. Tehran said at the end of July it had sent a first shipment of aid to Cairo that was awaiting authorization to enter the enclave via Rafah in southern Gaza, the only crossing point not controlled by Israel.
Video: The Gaza rubble challenge
Ynet 24 Aug by Roi Kais –Attempting to attract attention to their own plight, Gazans publish spin off of ALS’ ice-bucket challenge — Gazans have decided to put their own spin on the Ice Bucket Challenge – popular internet campaign to raise awareness for ALS. Videos going viral online show Palestinians buckets of rubble on their heads instead of the ice water used in the viral campaign. [Water is too scarce to pour over the head, and ice requires electricity.] The rubble challenge, with rubble taken from the wreckage of buildings bombarded by the IAF during Operation Protective Edge, is meant to raise awareness for the plight of Gazans who’ve faced heavy Israeli bombardment over the past several weeks as Hamas fired rockets into Israel.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for ‘Gaza massacre.’ call for boycott
Haaretz 23 Aug — In response to Elie Wiesel advertisement comparing Hamas to Nazis, 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants publish New York Times ad accusing Israel of ‘ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people’. According to the letter, the condemnation was prompted by an advertisement written by Elie Wiesel and published in major news outlets worldwide, accusing Hamas of “child sacrifice” and comparing the group to the Nazis. The letter, signed by 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors and sponsored by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, accuses Wiesel of “abuse of history” in order to justify Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip: “…we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.” The letter also blames the United States of aiding Israel in its Gaza operation, and the West in general of protecting Israel from condemnation. “Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the letter reads. The letter ends with a call to bring the blockade of Gaza to an immediate end, and for a full boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!,” the letter concludes.
Palestine supporters block Israeli ships in Washington [state] and Los Angeles
IMEMC 24 Aug by Celine Hagbard — Following a four-day long port blockade action in Oakland, California, in which activists delayed and blocked an Israeli ship from unloading its goods, Palestine supporters in Tacoma, Washington and Los Angeles, California have continued the action on Friday and Saturday by blocking two ships from the Israeli Zim line … Protesters coordinated their actions with the start and stop times of the shifts of dockworkers, most of whom are unionized with the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse workers Union). They hoped that, by forming a picket line in front of the port entrances, they would be able to create a situation in which the unionized workers would be able to say that crossing the picket could endanger their safety. If that condition exists, the union workers are permitted to go home without carrying out the work of unloading the ship. This happened on a number of the shifts during the four-day long blockade in Oakland and, apparently, occurred for several of the shifts at the port of Los Angeles and the Port of Tacoma as well … Following the successful actions in Oakland, Tacoma and Los Angeles, Palestine supporters in other cities say they are preparing for potential blockades of Israeli ships from the Zim line in Seattle, Washington, Dublin, Ireland (August 29th), and Valencia, Spain (August 24th).
Activists hold symbolic birthday for Gazan wounded children
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Aug – The SAND Youth group held on Sunday a symbolic birthday celebration at Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, for the wounded Gazan children having survived the Israeli aggression on Gaza. Bashar al-Mashni, an activist with the group, said the activity aims at refreshing the psychological state of the wounded children who had experienced the horrors of the Israeli massacres in Gaza. A grandparent who was accompanying her wounded grandchild in the hospital said that this initiative contributes in healing the psychological state of the children whose childhood was violated after having lived through the worst times of shelling, displacement and panic. She said that her grandchild, Sharif al-Namleh, does not sleep nor eat, and constantly asks for his parents, who were also critically injured during the Israeli aggression and are currently hospitalized in the West Bank, where doctors were forced to amputate their hands and feet in order to save their lives.
Massive march in London against arming Israel
LONDON (PIC) 25 Aug — Thousands of demonstrators assembled outside British Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence at 10 Downing Street on Sunday in protest against the continued arms sales to Israel. The protesters held up banners and pictures of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu with blood-stained face in an indication to the Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza. The participants confirmed during the march that British arming to Israel is still continued despite the fact that British government declared it will freeze arms exports to Israel. During his speech at the rally, the British Labor Party MP Jeremy Corbyn confirmed that Israeli and British military ties are still continued. We came here not only to stop arming Israel but also to stop all the British and European arms export licenses to Israel, he said speaking to Al-Jazeera Net. He revealed that British MPs have submitted a request to their government to review its policies regarding Palestinian cause and a number of Middle East issues. We have recently witnessed a growing awareness among the British society of what is exactly happening in Gaza, MP Corbyn said. For his part, head of the Palestinian Forum in Britain Ziad Aloul confirmed that London protests will be continued as long as Israeli aggression on Gaza is continued. Aloul revealed that a pro-Palestine day would be organized on Tuesday 9 September in the British Parliament as part of efforts to mass-lobby the British Parliament for Palestine.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/
Oxfam urges world to suspend arms sales to Israel
LONDON (WAFA) 21 Aug — The international humanitarian organization Oxfam urged Thursday in a press release the world to suspend arms sales to Israel to protect civilians as Gaza violence escalated anew. Oxfam said that the all states must immediately suspend transfers of arms or ammunition to Israel given the serious risk that they could be used to violate international humanitarian law. The organization said the widespread killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure over the past six weeks was the worst it has seen in 20 years of working in Gaza … Head of Oxfam in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel Nishant Pandey said: ‘Now more than ever, the international community should exert maximum diplomatic pressure, including suspending arms and ammunitions transfers, to show that the world will not tolerate the violence and civilian suffering for a moment longer.’ “This humanitarian crisis is being fuelled by weapons. Suspending arms and ammunition transfers is vital to ensure no more civilians are harmed. This conflict cannot be resolved militarily. Civilians on both sides deserve an enduring ceasefire and a credible, inclusive peace process,” Pandey added.
Palestinian campaign for Israel arms boycott takes aim at Italy
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched a campaign to pressure Italy to pull out of joint military exercises with the Israeli military in September, as a global movement for an arms boycott of Israel gained strength in the wake of the recent assault. Dozens of Gazans took pictures of themselves holding signs across the besieged coastal enclave demanding Italy end its military cooperation with Israel in the exercise, which is expected to take place on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in September. The pictures, taken across Gaza with backgrounds that include destroyed homes, hospitals, and the tiny coastal enclave’s bombed seaport, include signs asking Italy not to “train the pilots who bomb us,” and show “solidarity” by standing with “the oppressed.”
Hamas signs proposal to join ICC
AFP 12 Aug — Hamas has signed a proposal for the Palestinians to apply to join the International Criminal Court at which legal action could be taken against Israel, a senior official of the Islamist movement said Saturday. “Hamas signed the document which (Palestinian) president (Mahmoud Abbas) put forth as a condition that all factions approve, before he goes to sign the Rome Statute, which paves the way for Palestine’s membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC),” Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq wrote on his Facebook page. The Palestinian declaration came after two days of talks in Qatar between Abbas and Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that the Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful force in Gaza, “is currently the only Palestinian faction that has not signed” the document. “They are studying the possibility of signing,” he added. According to Erakat, “the document calls on president Abbas to sign the Rome Statute to join the ICC, and indicates all the signatories assume responsibility for this membership.” Based in The Hague, the ICC opened its doors in 2003 and is the world’s first independent court set up to try the worst crimes, including genocide and war crimes. Since the July 8 outbreak of the latest war in and around Gaza, Israel and Hamas have accused each other of war crimes. Joining the ICC would also expose Palestinian factions to possible prosecution.
Abbas to leave Cairo for Amman along with negotiation team
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to leave Cairo for Amman Sunday after finishing a series of meetings with Egyptian president Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi and other top officials including chief of Egyptian intelligence Muhammad al-Tuhami. Abbas also met in Cairo with representatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Chief of the Palestinian negotiations team Azzam al-Ahmad and director of the Palestinian Authority’s general intelligence service Majid Faraj, who is also a member of the team, will also leave Cairo Sunday. Palestinian officials are visiting Cairo amid an impasse in indirect negotiations with Israel for a lasting ceasefire. The Israeli delegation left Cairo mid-week and has refused to respond to a Palestinian offer that would involve lifting Israel’s crippling eight-year siege.
Five rockets fired from Syria into Israeli-held Golan
JERUSALEM (AFP) 24 Aug — Rocket fire from Syria slammed into the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights Sunday but there were no reports of casualties. “At least five rockets fired from Syria hit different locations across the Golan Heights,” the Israeli army said in a statement. An army spokeswoman told AFP that it was not known who launched the rockets and the Israeli military did not return fire.
Rocket fired from Lebanon hits northern Israel: army
JERUSALEM (AFP) 23 Aug — A rocket fired from Lebanese territory hit northern Israel late Saturday, the army said on the 47th day of a war against the Islamist movement Hamas in and around Gaza. “The rocket that was fired from Lebanon hit the Upper Galilee,” the army said in a statement, correcting a previous communique that said the rocket had hit east of Acre. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the launch or reports of damage or injuries. A Lebanese security source said the rocket was fired from Dheira, three kilometres (nearly two miles) from the border with Israel. The same source noted that Israeli helicopters were seen flying around the border area.
Iran says its Revolutionary Guard has shot down an Israeli spy drone near Natanz nuclear facility
Reuters 25 Aug — Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has claimed it has shot down an Israeli drone trying to approach the Natanz nuclear zone in the centre of the country. “The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” Iran’s state news agency ISNA said. If confirmed, an aircraft built by Israel’s state-owned Aerospace Industries known as the Heron, or the more powerful Heron TP, is likely to have been involved for such a long-range mission. Military commanders in Israel have described both as a possible means of monitoring Iran and other countries.
Opinion / Analysis
The difference between children / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 24 Aug — It is human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children — After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares. Then came our first child and Israel went into shock. And indeed, the heart weeps at the picture of 4-year-old Daniel Tregerman, killed Friday evening in his home in Sha’ar Hanegev. A beautiful child, who once had his picture taken in an Argentinean soccer team shirt, blue and white, number 10. And whose heart would not be broken at the sight of this photo, and who would not weep at how he was criminally killed. “Hey Leo Messi, look at that boy,” a Facebook post read, “you were his hero.” Suddenly death has a face and dreamy blue eyes and light hair. A tiny body that will never grow. Suddenly the death of a little boy has meaning, suddenly it is shocking. It is human, understandable and moving. It is also human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children … We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects. This is a horrific statement, but there is no other way to describe the mood in Israel in the summer of 2014. When for six weeks hundreds of children are destroyed; their bodies buried in rubble, piling up on morgues, sometimes even in vegetable refrigeration rooms for lack of other space; when their horrified parents carry the bodies of their toddlers as a matter of course; their funerals coming and going, 478 times – even the most unfeeling of Israelis would not allow themselves to be so uncaring. Something here has to rise up and scream: Enough. All the excuses and all the explanations will not help – there is no such thing as a child that is allowed to be killed and a child that is not. There are only children killed for nothing, hundreds of children whose fate touches no one in Israel, and one child, just one, around whose death the people unite in mourning.
Twilight Zone: Behind the IDF shooting of a ten-year-old boy / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 21 Aug — It’s not clear why an Israeli soldier shot Khalil Anati in the Al-Fawar refugee camp. What is clear is that the shooter didn’t stay around long enough to offer assistance, or to watch the boy die — The picture on the mourning poster shows the beautiful, sad face of a boy, his head wrapped in a keffiyeh, his skin sallow, his eyes wide open. In the photograph, one of two images used for the posters, the boy is already dead. Only his open eyes give the impression of life. In the other poster, the eyes are already closed for all time. Khalil Anati was 10 years and eight months old and came from the Al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the West Bank, when he was killed. An Israeli soldier had opened the door of his armored jeep, picked up his rifle, aimed it at the upper body of the boy, who was running with his back to the soldier, and cut him down with one bullet, fired from a distance of a few dozen meters. It was early morning on Sunday, August 10. The street was almost empty – the idleness, the unemployment and the heat in this squalid refugee camp leave people in their beds late – and the soldiers were apparently in no danger. According to testimony, there were only another three or four young children in the street; they were throwing stones at the jeep. There were no “riots” and no mass “disturbances.”
Interview — The Dahiya Doctrine: Evidence of Israel’s intentional mass slaughter in Gaza / Michael Ratner
MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Good to be with you today, Jessica. DESVARIEUX: So, Michael, what are you working on this week? RATNER: You know, this week, of course, I think a lot of us are concerned by many issues, from the Middle East to Ferguson. And I’ve been focusing mostly on Gaza and the Israeli assault. And I wanted to bring to the viewers’ attention a doctrine and an Israeli practice that probably a lot of people are not familiar with. I’d like to call this segment Gaza, the Dahiya doctrine, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange. And they’re all related. Most of us probably have never heard of what Israeli generals call the Dahiya doctrine–that’s D-A-H-I-Y-A. I only know it because WikiLeaks exposed it in the cable, a United States State Department cable from 2008, that summarized an Israeli general’s statement on approved war plans, the plans that were used in Lebanon in 2006 in the Israeli war against Lebanon and are to be used in the future. Dahiya, which is the name of the doctrine, refers to a civilian neighborhood of Beirut that was leveled, utterly destroyed by Israel in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
In Israel’s war planning, the Dahiya doctrine refers to Israel’s intentional and massive killing of civilians and destruction of civilian villages, the intentional disproportionate use of force constituting collective punishment of a population. The Dahiya plan leaves no doubt, none, that it involves the knowing and intentional commission and carrying out of war crimes. The killing of civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, whether in Lebanon then or Gaza today, is no mistake. It’s on purpose, a purpose that is flagrantly illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Israeli soldiers, Israeli leaders, and Israeli generals could be tried for the crimes that the Germans were tried for in Nuremberg, for carrying out the intentional killing of civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure. When you look at the continued war and devastation in Gaza today, we’re seeing the manifestation of the Dahiya doctrine. It’s carried out to its barbaric extreme. Israel attacks Gaza from the air, the sea, and the ground with a force that is meant to obliterate civilians and destroy Gaza. It’s carrying out the Dahiya plan.
The figures are astoundingly awful. These are from the Palestine Committee on Human Rights in Gaza. Two thousand eighty-six Palestinians killed as of August to 21, three-quarters (75 percent) civilians–that’s 1,602 out of those 2,000 killed were civilians, one out of every thousand people in Gaza. Almost 25 percent of them were children, almost 500, 494. People should be screaming about this. Ten thousand wounded, mostly civilians, one out of every 200 people in Gaza. And this just today from United Nations: 350,000 people displaced out of their homes, homeless in what was already an outdoor refugee camp. UN spokesperson Pernille Ironside said that it was going to take 18 years to rebuild the housing in Gaza. Think about that–18 years. And that’s if they ever get the materials to rebuild it, which the Israelis don’t allow in. It was dire before this recent onslaught for children.
Half of Gaza’s population are children, half of the 1.8 million people. They’ve grown up with trauma of war, devastation, killing of their families and relatives. The purpose, of course, of what Israel is doing is to try and end resistance to the occupation. You can see by the fact they’ve had to go to war every few years against the people of Gaza and other occupied territories that the resistance will not stop. What they’re doing makes the resistance even stronger. But perhaps the hopes of Israel are to make Gaza uninhabitable over the years to drive the Gazans out.
I want to read some of the key parts of the WikiLeaks-released cable about the Dahiya doctrine, because it really fits exactly with what Israel is doing in Gaza, an open and notorious admission by Israel of a plan to commit war crimes. I don’t want there to be any doubt about it. That was the plan, and that’s what is happening. It’s a cable from Israel, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. And it’s not like the U.S. wasn’t put on notice. This is in 2008….
Israeli teenagers: Racist and proud of it / Or Kashti
Haaretz 23 Aug — Ethnic hatred has become a basic element in the everyday life of Israeli youth, a forthcoming book finds — “For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.” The student’s comments appear in a chapter devoted to ethnicity and racism among youth from a forthcoming book, “Scenes from School Life” (in Hebrew) by Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz. The book is based on anthropological observations made by Dr. Yaron, a sociologist, over the course of three years in a six-year, secular high school in the Israeli heartland – “the most average school we could find,” says Harpaz, a professor of education.