West Bank / Jerusalem
Teens detained by soldiers after being assaulted by Israeli settlers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces assaulted and detained two teens after they were attacked by settlers near the Ibrahimi mosque in the Old City of Hebron late Friday. A Palestinian who lives near the mosque told Ma‘an that “Israeli forces last night detained Mutaz Adnan Qfeisheh, 14, and Muhammad Hussein al-Sharif, 14, after a group of settlers assaulted them.” “When they tried to defend themselves from the settlers’ assault, soldiers beat them, detained them and took them to the Israeli police (station),” Najeh al-Muhtaseb added, “The police said they will interrogate the children and then release them.” Al-Muhtaseb added that the two were still with the police on Saturday morning, and that the police had called their parents after midnight informing them that they had to pay a 2,000-shekel fine. “Their parents refused to pay the bail and demanded that they release the children. They demanded the police arrest the settlers who attacked them instead,” al-Muhtaseb added.
Child in coma after being shot by Israeli forces near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Israeli forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian child during clashes near Hebron on Sunday, medics said. Hazim al-Shalalda, the directer of al-Mizan hospital, told Ma‘an that 11-year-old Moheyeddin Salah Idriss was shot in the chest with a live bullet during the clashes. The boy is currently in a coma and undergoing a complex medical procedure, al-Shalalda said. Moheyeddin was shot during clashes near Kiryat Arba settlement east of Hebron, where protesters threw rocks and Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas at Palestinians.
3 injured in clashes in Rafat after funeral of youth killed Friday
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Three Palestinians were struck by rubber-coated steel bullets on Saturday during clashes in Rafat village north of Jerusalem following the funeral of a Palestinian youth slain by Israeli forces the day before. Clashes erupted after the funeral march of Odai Nafiz Jabr, 19, as several youths headed towards the separation wall separating the village from Jerusalem near the Ofer Israeli detention center. Jaber’s mother Um Muhammad said that the youth was an activist with local popular committees and that he often participated in marches against the Israeli occupation in Ramallah and al-Bireh. Jaber was killed on Friday after being struck by three Israeli bullets, two in the chest and one in the arm, during clashes in Safa village west of Ramallah. He was the second Palestinian killed in protests in solidarity with Gaza on Friday, bringing the three-week death toll in the West Bank to 15 since Israel launched its assault on the Strip. More than 1,660 have been killed in Gaza in the same time.
Palestinians tear down apartheid fence
[with photos] RAFAT, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Ramallah Team) 2 Aug — Today at approximately 1 PM on Saturday 2nd August, Palestinians from across the West Bank gathered in the village of Rafat near Ramallah to mourn the death of Ada Naafz Jabr. [or Odai Nafiz Jabr]. Ada was killed by Israeli forces on the 1st of August near Saffa while protesting against Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip. After the funeral, Palestinians spontaneously marched to and proceeded to destroy a section of the Apartheid fence. Israeli police arrived after several minutes and clashed with Palestinian youths.Palestinians threw stones while the police fired large amounts of tear gas, which caused numerous fires to break out amongst Palestinian olive trees and crops. Palestinians and international activists attempted to extinguish the fires, but their work was impeded by the Israeli police who continued to fire tear gas. After around 20 minutes the Palestinian fire brigade arrived to help extinguish the fires.
Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians in al-Jalazun
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces stormed al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah in the central West Bank early Saturday morning and detained three Palestinians. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers ransacked several homes before they detained Nur Salah Ulayyan, Eyhab Munthir Ulayyan, and Thaer Samadia.
March in Ramallah to express gratitude to those supporting Palestine
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Dozens of Palestinians participated in a march in Ramallah to express their gratitude to countries supporting Palestinians against the Israeli offensive on Gaza. Participants held the flags of countries that supported Palestine politically or with humanitarian aid, especially South America countries as well as several European, Asian and African countries.
Earlier in the week, Bolivia declared Israel a “terrorist state” and ended visa-free travel for Israelis, while other leftwing Latin American states have taken strong stands as well.
Thousands march in Gaza solidarity protests in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Demonstrations against the ongoing Israeli assault the Gaza Strip continued in East Jerusalem Friday night as thousands of Palestinians marched in solidarity protests that have become a nightly occurrence across the region.
The rallies and protests came after Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in solidarity marches Friday afternoon, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank since the Israeli assault on Gaza began to 15. Witnesses said clashes with Israeli forces broke out in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shu‘fat refugee camp, al-‘Issawiya, Silwan, al-Tur, Al-Suwwana, Abu Dis, al-‘Eizariya, al-Ram, Qalandia, and ‘Anata. A young man was struck in the abdomen by a bullet in Abu Dis while many others across East Jerusalem were hit by rubber-coated bullets, including a baby girl sitting in her home.
Al-‘Issawiya: Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in several areas in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya. Member of a local committee Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma‘’an that a baby girl was hit by a rubber-coated bullet while she sat inside her family home. He said Israeli forces “deliberately” fired gunshots and tear gas canisters toward homes. A protester was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the jaw and another in the neck, added Abu al-Hummus. Israeli soldiers, he said, smashed vehicles parked in front of houses as “acts of revenge.” …
Al-Tur and al-Suwwana In al-Tur and al-Suwwana neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, clashes broke out near an illegal Israeli settlement outpost where Israeli forces sprayed a foul-smelling chemical called Skunk at Palestinian homes. The soldiers also blocked a main street in al-Tur. Locals told Ma‘an that soldiers beat 48-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Abu al-Hawa while he walked along al-Shayyah street trying to reach his home.
Al-Ram and Qalandia: On Friday afternoon, clashes broke in the town of al-Ram and the nearby Qalandia checkpoint. A paramedic said 14 young men were hit by rubber-coated bullets in al-Ram. He added that a young man was hit by a tear-gas canister in the head while he was standing on the seven-meter high section of the separation wall as it passes through the village. As a result, the young man fell on the ground and broke his hand and sustained scratches and bruises in the head. In addition, Israeli forces hit a Palestinian paramedic with two tear gas canisters near Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. He was evacuated by an ambulance of the Palestinian Red Crescent to Ramallah Hospital.
‘Anata: In the village of ‘Anata, undercover Israeli forces detained three young Palestinian men during clashes with Israeli troops. The detainees were identified as 23-year-old Mahmoud Hamdan, 25-year-old Ahmad Ulayyan, and 17-year-old Mahmoud Haykal. Israeli officers attacked the three with rifle butts during detention. Witnesses said soldiers tried to assault Palestinian cameramen and smash their cameras.
Clashes were also reported in Bab Hatta, Saadiyya, and Qanatir Khdeir neighborhoods in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Palestinians protest in solidarity with Gaza
[with photos] BETHLEHEM, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Vern) 3 Aug — On Friday August 1st, Palestinians in Bethlehem demonstrated against Israel’s massacre Gaza. Between 3,000-5,000 people protested, men, women, and children. The demonstrators marched to the checkpoint, where they faced an Israeli guard tower. People were chanting and singing, and no one was throwing any stones. Approximately 20 Israeli soldiers came out and shot tear gas into the crowd. People in the front were suffered very badly, and a few had to be taken away by ambulance due to excessive tear gas inhalation. A small group of Palestinian youths responded by throwing rocks at the soldiers, who shot more tear gas into the crowd. After that, most of the crowd dispersed, and approximately 20 youths confronted the army, who opened fire with rubber-coated steel bullets. More people were injured.
Israeli army causes fire in Palestinian house
[with photos] HEBRON,Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 3 Aug — On Friday the 1st of August, at approximately 19:30 in the Gabal Gohar area of H2 (under full Israeli military civil and security control) in al-Khalil (Hebron), solders from the Israeli military caused a fire in a Palestinian apartment. The solders were shooting tear gas at Palestinian youths during clashes, when five tear gas canisters burst through the window of a Palestinian’s home and exploded inside. The family living in the apartment consists of two adults and five children, who were all located inside when the tear gas broke the apartment and the fire started. The family managed to escape, however most of their furniture and other valuables were ruined in the fire. Soot still covers most off the walls of the apartment, even after neighbours gathered to help the family clean. Electricity went out in part of the apartment and the damage is extensive, the full costs still unknown. The army has continued to shoot tear gas and stun grenades in the area for the past days, causing many problems for the local residents.
Palestinians block settler road in solidarity with Gaza
AL-KHADER, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 2 Aug — On the 30th July, approximately 40 Palestinian and international activists marched from al-Khader gate on the outskirts of Bethlehem and blocked Road 60, which connects all the illegal settlements in the area to Jerusalem, in protest over Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza. The group peacefully marched up the road leading to the junction connecting the Palestinian road and the settlement road, chanting slogans against the occupation. When the group reached the junction, they blocked one of the roads for a short time, which involved standing in front of an army jeep, blocking its path. Around five soldiers saw the demonstration and called for reinforcements. After a few minutes, more soldiers arrived and pushed the demonstrators, first onto the pavement and then back down the road. Some of the soldiers were very aggressive and violent towards the Palestinian protestors. The soldiers then closed the military barrier at the end of that road so Palestinian traffic was obstructed. Palestinians continued to chant peacefully from the other side of the barrier and the soldiers stood and watched for a few minutes. Then suddenly, without warning, soldiers threw and fired multiple stun grenades directly at Palestinians, in breach of military rules. Palestinians were forced to run backwards as three Israeli soldiers positioned themselves on an adjacent area and aimed sniper rifles at the demonstrators. With the non-violent demonstration having been violently dispersed, a number of Palestinian youths went to another junction nearby and clashed with the Israeli army. The Israeli army fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and ‘skunk’ (chemical) water while Palestinians responded by throwing stones, launching fireworks and burning tires. The military also occupied a number of local houses, from which they fired weapons at youths and protesters.
Israel arrests 7 in West Bank, Jerusalem
HEBRON (WAFA) 3 Aug – Israeli forces on Sunday arrested five Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, in addition to two others in Jerusalem, while handing a summons to a youth to appear for interrogation, according to local and security sources. Israeli army arrested a Palestinian, 43, from Hebron while he was passing through ‘Container’ checkpoint, to the south of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, 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, and arrested two youngsters, ages 21 and 23. In the meantime, army broke through the village of Nahalin, to the west of Bethlehem, and arrested two teenagers, 17 and 18, after raiding and searching their houses. Army also handed summons to a youth, 25, in the village to appear for interrogation at a nearby military outpost. Furthermore, Israeli police and intelligence in Jerusalem arrested two Palestinian residents after raiding their houses. They were taken to a nearby interrogation center.
Gaza (just a fragment of the overwhelming amount of information available)
Health ministry: Israel breaks truce by targeting home in Shati camp
Ma‘an 4 Aug 10:18 (Jerusalem) Health ministry: Israel breaks truce by targeting home in Shati camp
Israel declares 7-hour Gaza truce after fury over school strike
JERUSALEM (AFP) 4 Aug — Israel announced it would be holding its fire in most of Gaza for seven hours Monday, amid world outrage over a deadly strike on a UN school in the Palestinian territory. The unilateral truce, four weeks into fighting with Hamas, came after world powers fiercely condemned the attack that left 10 Palestinians sheltering at a school dead, as Israel was pulling some of its troops from Gaza. The Israeli army said the seven-hour “humanitarian window” would take place between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.in all of the Palestinian enclave except the area east of southern city Rafah, “where clashes were still ongoing and there was Israeli military presence.”
Israeli forces kill 16 Palestinians ahead of humanitarian truce
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Aug — Sixteen Palestinians have been killed in attacks on Gaza since midnight on the 28th day of Israel’s offensive on the Strip, a health official said Monday. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement that the death toll in Gaza since the beginning of the assault had risen to 1,822. The lethal attacks came ahead of an Israeli-announced humanitarian ceasefire that was to begin at 10:00 a.m and continue until 5:00 p.m across the Strip, except for areas east of Rafah, where heavy clashes between militants and Israeli forces have been raging for days. However, it was not immediately clear whether Hamas and other militant factions would respect the unilaterally declared truce. “The unilateral ceasefire announced by Israel is an attempt to divert the attention from Israeli massacres,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, calling on Palestinians to proceed with caution. The Hamas movement “doesn’t trust such a ceasefire,” Abu Zuhri said. [details of killings follow]
70 bodies found in Rafah as death toll hits 1,830
GAZA CITY 3 Aug — The death toll on the 27th day of Israel’s offensive on Gaza hit at least 120 on Sunday as health officials reported that over 70 bodies had been recovered in Rafah, a day after the city came under fierce, prolonged bombardment by Israeli forces. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that the bodies of 70 Palestinians had been recovered from the city in southern Gaza, while 55 other Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks across the Strip Sunday. The continuing attacks brought the total death toll in the assault to 1,830 with nearly 10,000 injured. Israel began targeting Rafah with airstrikes and shelling Friday, killing dozens in the city hours before a 72-hour ceasefire was to come into place. When the ceasefire collapsed, Israel continued its bombardment on Rafah throughout Friday and into Saturday, killing more than hundred Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israeli shelling and airstrikes did not let up on Sunday even as ground forces withdrew from major cities in Gaza. An afternoon strike on the al-Majdalawi family home in Beir al-Naaja in northern Gaza left four dead, two of whom were identified as Mahmoud and Rawan al-Majdalawi. Additionally, Mohammad Shaldan was killed and two others injured in an airstrike on the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. In another attack, a Palestinian was killed in a strike on a car in the Janeina neighborhood of Rafah, which has been hit heavily in the Israeli assault. The attacks come after Israeli forces shelled a UNRWA school where thousands were taking refuge earlier in the day, killing at least ten. UN chief Ban Ki-Moon condemned the attack as “a moral outrage and a criminal attack.”…
Ongoing arrest campaign Meanwhile, the Ministry of Prisoner’s Affairs said on Sunday that the number of Palestinians held in Israeli jails had risen dramatically throughout the assault on Gaza and the month leading up to it. Abd al-Nasser Farwana, director of the ministry’s statistics bureau, said in a statement Sunday that more than 1,500 Palestinians had been arrested by Israeli forces since June across the Palestinian territories. Many more than 200 have been arrested in Gaza, although not all of them were still being held. Not all of the arrests have yet been accounted for, Farwana added. An Israeli army spokeswomen did not have information about the number of Palestinians arrested in Gaza throughout the offensive. She said Palestinians had been “taken to facilities for questioning,” but refused to say whether they had been imprisoned or released. The arrests bring the number of Palestinians in Israeli jails up to around 6,500, among whom are 250 children, 37 members of parliament, and 75 prisoners who were freed in the 2011 Shalit deal but rearrested, many of them in June. Israeli forces arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, throughout its search for three youths who were kidnapped and killed in June. The stated goal of the campaign was to “crush Hamas,” and militant factions in Gaza heavily increased rocket fire on Israel as Hamas members were arrested and airstrikes on the Strip became a regular occurrence. Then, on July 7, Israel began its military offensive on Gaza.
7 dead in Jabaliya strike after residents told safe to return north
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Seven Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, a day after Israel said it was safe for residents of the north to return home. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement that an Israeli airstrike that targeted a house killed seven people in Jabaliya. He identified six of them as Bilal Abd al-Karim Najim, Abd al-Karim Najim, Ahmad Abd al-Karim Najim, Raghad Najim, Suha Najim, Shayma Wael Qasim. The seventh body is yet to be unidentified. Another 30 Palestinians were injured in the strike. Israeli officials said Saturday that it was safe for residents of the northern Gaza Strip, with the exception of Beit Lahiya, to return to their homes. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed to Ma‘an Sunday that residents of northern Gaza had been informed it was safe for them to go back to their homes. Asked why the army was continuing to strike the north, the spokeswoman said: “We never said there would be no activity in the north.”
Fresh Israeli shelling kills 10 in UN shelter for displaced in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 3 Aug — 10 Palestinians were killed on Sunday after Israeli shells hit a UN school in Rafah where thousands of people were sheltering from the ongoing Israeli offensive. At least 30 were injured in the strike, according to Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra. Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, said the school had been housing thousands of internally displaced people who had been forced to flee their homes by the ongoing violence in Gaza. “Shelling incident in vicinity of UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering almost 3,000 IDP. Initial reports say multiple deaths and injury,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. The strikes brought Sunday morning’s death toll in Gaza to 50, as Israeli forces have pounded the besieged coastal enclave relentlessly by land, sea, and air. More than 1,752 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 10,000 injured since Israel launched its assault. The deaths on Sunday include 10 members of the Al-Ghoul family in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, killed in a strike on their home. Israel has shelled UN shelters for the displaced at least six times so far since the conflict began four weeks ago, killing dozens. The UN has condemned the strikes repeatedly, highlighting that they have given the exact coordinates of each shelter to Israeli officials repeatedly in order to ensure that civilians taking shelter are kept safe.
Israel, meanwhile, charges that Palestinian militants have in the past launched rockets from near the shelters.
Over the course of the 27-day Israeli assault, a quarter of all Gazans — more than 475,000 people — have been displaced. Israel has kept all borders shut with Egyptian help, however, meaning that the displaced have been unable to escape the assault and instead must shelter within the Strip. More than 259,000 of the displaced have taken shelter in UN shelters, according to the UN. An average of 2,800 people were sheltering in each shelter, the UN said, even though they normally only have the capacity to hold 500.
Israel says missing soldier killed in battle, body still missing
GAZA CITY (AFP) 3 Aug — The Israeli army on Sunday announced the death of Hadar Goldin, a soldier who had been declared missing, as Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip killing 35 on Sunday alone. A special committee led by the army’s chief rabbi said Lieutenant Goldin had been “killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on Friday,” the Israeli armed forces said in a statement. Military radio said that no body had been recovered, adding that this made the decision to announce Goldin’s death a “very delicate” one. There was no government word on the whereabouts of the soldier’s remains. Israel had previously said the soldier had been captured in battle, and in the wake of the announcement launched the deadliest 24-hour assault on Gaza since the beginning of the 27-day operation that has killed more than 1,700 Palestinians. Israel also refused to abide by an agreed-upon 72-hour ceasefire in the wake of the attack, which Hamas said came before the ceasefire came into effect and after a night in which Israeli attacks killed 16 people and forces had deployed deep into eastern Rafah. Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, had acknowledged its militants staged an ambush early Friday in which two other Israeli soldiers were killed, but denied holding Goldin. With no resolution in sight, a senior Palestinian delegation landed in Cairo for talks Sunday on an Egyptian ceasefire initiative, but Israel said it was not sending a negotiating team.
Israel pulls out from part of Gaza, but snubs Cairo talks
AFP 3 Aug by Sakher Abu El Oun, Adel Zaanoun — The Israeli army on Saturday gave a first indication it was ending operations in parts of Gaza, while continuing to bombard other areas ahead of fresh truce talks in Cairo. As a Palestinian delegation flew to Egypt in search of a ceasefire, the Israeli army messaged residents of part of northern Gaza that it was “safe” to return home. “They have been informed it is safe for civilians to return to Beit Lahiya and Al-Atatra,” a spokeswoman told AFP, in what was understood to be a confirmation that troops had stopped operating there. Witnesses in the north confirmed seeing troops leaving the area as others were seen leaving another flashpoint area in southern Gaza. It was the first time troops had been seen pulling back since the start of Israel’s devastating 26-day operation, which has so far claimed more than 1,660 Palestinian lives and displaced up to a quarter of the territory’s population. The move came after an army spokesman told AFP Israel was “quite close to completing” the destruction of tunnels used for infiltrating southern Israel — the main objective of the ground operation.
Despite the partial withdrawal, Israel’s security cabinet decided against sending a delegation to ceasefire talks with the Palestinians in Cairo, media reports said. “Hamas has proven that it breaches any agreement reached right away, as happened five times in previous truces,” deputy foreign minister Tzahi HaNegbi told AFP, without confirming the report.. Truce deal unlikely – Chances of achieving a more permanent ceasefire nosedived on Friday after Israel said it believed Hamas militants had captured a 23-year-old soldier in a Friday morning ambush near the southern Gaza city of Rafah. [Both the US and the UN demanded the immediate release of the ‘captured’ soldier] Immediately afterwards, Israel bombarded the Rafah area in shelling that is still ongoing, with medics saying it killed 114 people in 24 hours. Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, acknowledged its militants had staged an ambush early Friday in which soldiers were killed, but denied holding the soldier, saying the attackers were missing and presumed dead.
Hunt goes on – Israel considers the capture of its soldiers a casus belli, launching a 34-day war on the Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2006 after it seized two soldiers. Around the same time, Gaza militants captured conscript Gilad Shalit and held him for five years before freeing him in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners…
With a 12-member Palestinian delegation due to arrive for truce talks in Cairo on Saturday evening, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country’s truce proposal offered a “real chance to find a solution to the crisis” but that it must be implemented quickly to stop the bloodshed.Among the delegation was senior Ramallah official Azzam al-Ahmad, Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj, senior Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuq, and Ziad al-Nakhale, a leader of Islamic Jihad. Speaking to AFP, a senior Palestinian official told AFP that Israel was not expected to attend the Cairo talks and that US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns would also not be flying to Cairo, as announced. In his place, Washington was to send Frank Lowenstein, the acting US envoy for the Middle East peace process, a State department official said.
Israel withdrawing from Gaza cities, redeploying near border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 2 Aug– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that although Israeli forces were redeploying out of Gaza urban areas, the 26-day assault on the besieged coastal enclave would continue. Netanyahu also said in a televised speech that Hamas would pay a “heavy price” if it continued shooting rockets at Israel, stressing that although troops were redeploying to areas with “less friction,” they would still be ready to strike. The comments came after Israeli media reports earlier Saturday said that Israeli forces were unilaterally withdrawing from Gazan urban centers and re-deploying near the border in a move that suggested a limited ground re-occupation of the Gaza Strip for the foreseeable future. Hamas responded said earlier that it was prepared to continue to defend Gaza, stressing that Israel would have to pay a price for its “crimes” regardless of whether it continued its operation, unilaterally withdrew, or returned to negotiations. Israeli newspaper Haaretz earlier Saturday said that Israeli forces were redeploying several hundred meters from the border, which was confirmed by Israeli Channel 2…
The move came after an army spokesman told AFP that Israel was “quite close to completing” the destruction of tunnels used for infiltrating southern Israel — which Israel has in recent days said is the main objective of the ground operation. Haaretz said that in the next 24 hours, the military would “announce that all known tunnels reaching from Gaza into Israel have been demolished,” including 31 allegedly known previously as well as a number of other newly discovered ones.
Israeli army spokesman: the coming 48 hours will be decisive
Middle East Monitor 3 Aug — The spokesperson of the Israeli army Avichay Adraee said that the Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip is “not over,” and that the coming 48 hours will be decisive. In statements to Anadolu Agency, Adraee said that no decision has been reached yet by the Israeli cabinet regarding the termination of the ground operation. He pointed out that the withdrawal of some forces yesterday and today is no more than tactical relocation of the army’s troops “based on the nature of the battle on the ground.” He added that the army has not received any ceasefire orders, and that the operations on all levels are ongoing.
The withdrawal that isn’t / Marc H. Ellis
Mondoweiss 3 Aug — Whether it is done, mostly done or just waiting for another opportunity to strike hard, Israel’s announced “withdrawal” from Gaza is a brilliant move. In one stroke, Israel at least partially removes its soldiers from the battlefield, maintains its ability to bomb from the air and sea and defies the most public aspects of international mediating efforts. Yesterday that is exactly what happened. More bombing. More carnage. More death. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t keeping his cards close to the vest. Ever the bully, Netanyahu promises Hamas that it will pay an “intolerable price” if continues firing rockets into Israel. Meanwhile, Israel’s military will “prepare for continuing action according to our security needs and only according to our security needs.” So Israel is buying time, accomplishing what it wants, even as it thumbs its nose at the international community. In its mind at least, no one in the world – not even the United States – tells Israel what it can and can’t do. The most amazing aspect of Israel’s strategy is that it works. No matter world opinion, Israel accomplishes its goal of further setting Gaza and the entire Palestinian enterprise back for years. If the fighting eventually dies down, over the next weeks the rebuilding of Gaza will begin. Gaza’s partners will return. A new incarnation of the Goldstone Report will take shape. Israel will also thumb its nose at both. Gaza will remain an open air prison.
Nightmare in Gaza / Noam Chomsky
Truthout 3 Aug — Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm. For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence. For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more. The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine. “The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.” In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.” In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas. The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years. In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment….
Israeli missile kills one of two identical Gaza twins born during war
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — One of two twin baby boys born less than three weeks ago at the beginning of the Israeli assault on Gaza was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday, while the other was left fighting for his life. The al-Ghoul twins were hit after an Israeli missile struck their home in Rafah, killing nine other members of their family and injuring twenty more. Asmaa al-Ghoul, a journalist from the family based in Gaza City, said in a post on Facebook that her uncle Ismail and his sons Muhammad and Wael were killed this morning along with Wael’s three children Malak, Mustafa, and Ismail. Two of Wael’s sons were identical twins born during the Israeli military offensive. One of them was killed Sunday morning during the strike, while the other survived. The surviving twin, was seriously injured and was “fighting for his life,” she said. When the twins were born, she had written in a post on Facebook: “In Gaza, there is always hope and new life. A door of light and happiness in the middle of this war.” Asmaa al-Ghoul added that her cousins Hanadi and Asmaa and her uncle’s wife Khadra were also killed in the attack on their home, located in the Bashit refugee camp south of Rafah near the Egyptian border. Asmaa added that the last time she had visited her uncle’s family was on the fifth day of the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. “I was destined to bid them farewell on the fifth day of the war. They were preparing Ramadan Iftar and they invited me to join them but I was in a hurry. I wish I accepted the invitation, but I didn’t know then that you were in a hurry to leave this world!” [Asmaa al-Ghoul’s articles on Al-Monitor often appear in this newslist]
Israeli airstrike massacres family of prominent physician and author
[includes happy photos of those murdered, unaware of what was to come] Electronic Intifada 2 Aug by Nora Barrows-Friedman — An Israeli airstrike on Khan Younis in southern Gaza massacred nine members of the El-Farra family, including five children, early Friday morning. The El-Farra family are relatives of physician Dr. Mona El-Farra, who has been frequently updating The Electronic Intifada on the ever worsening situation there. “The house was hit with a rocket, and the whole neighborhood started leaving, running in the street,” she told The Electronic Intifada in an interview on Saturday. “Another rocket, or missile, struck the children and the women who were running outside of the house.” The full interview can be listened to via the player at the top of this page and the full transcript is published below. Testimony at US Congress Dr. El-Farra is the aunt of author and journalist Laila El-Haddad, who testified about the massacre during a Congressional briefing Friday on US complicity in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, which at the time of publication had claimed nearly 1,700 lives there. “I woke up this morning and I learned that my tax dollars killed eight of my family members in Gaza. They were given an eight-second warning,” El-Haddad stated to members of Congress. Dr. El-Farra works at the Palestine Red Crescent Society and is the director of Gaza projects at the Middle East Children’s Alliance. She has been working around the clock treating patients — even after receiving Friday’s devastating news — and she and her colleagues receive hundreds of people needing treatment every day as medical supplies continue to run low or are completely depleted. Decimation The deadly airstrike in Khan Younis happened just three hours before a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire was supposed to begin. Reports indicate that Israel broke the ceasefire just under two hours after it was to be implemented Friday morning. Israel then began heavily bombing Rafah, in the southernmost region of Gaza, killing at least 110 people and decimating entire neighborhood blocks….
6 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike on home in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Six family members were killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted their home in Rafah on Saturday afternoon. Four of the victims were identified as Suhaib al-Bahabsa, Jumaa al-Bahabsa, Ahmad al-Bahabsa, and Fawwaz al-Bahabsa.
Gaza columnist survives Israeli airstrike on his apartment
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — A Palestinian columnist barely survived an Israeli airstrike on his apartment in the Burj al-Siddiq building in Gaza City on Sunday, he said. Fahmi Sharab told reporters that he managed to escape along with his family members minutes before an Israeli airstrike hit the building, causing serious damage. Despite the family’s luck, however, they were unable to escape with any of their belongings, leaving them with nothing except the clothes on their backs.
Palestinian journalist killed in Israeli strike on Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Aug– A Palestinian journalist was killed in an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. Abdullah Fahjan, a journalist for Aqsa TV, was killed in a strike on Rafah. [He was the 10th journalist killed in this conflict.]
UNRWA mourns loss of ninth staff member in Gaza
Press Release GAZA 3 Aug — For the third time in less than six years, violence is devastating the Gaza Strip. Along with the rest of the people of Gaza, staff members of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are in the line of fire. Since 20 July 2014, nine UNRWA staff members have been killed, humanitarian workers struck down by the pitiless conflict. “These were people who had dedicated years or decades to serving the Palestine refugees of Gaza”, said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl. “Many of them were educators, inculcating in children the hope of a brighter future and supporting them through the most difficult of times. Another, despite being displaced himself, worked to help other displaced families in the UNRWA school in Jabalia. The cruel ways in which they lost their lives has devastated families they leave behind and all of us in UNRWA.” The UNRWA staff members are: Fatma A Rahim Abu Amouna, 54, a teacher; Inas Shaban Derbas, 30, a teacher; Mohammed A Raouf Al-Dadda, 39, a teacher; Ismail A. Qader El-Kujk, 53, an environmental-health worker; Farid Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 50, a teacher; Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 51, a school principal; Munir Ibrahim El Hajjar, a teacher; Medhat Ahmed Al Amoudi, 53, a labourer, and Abdallah Naser Khalil Fahajan, 21, a school attendant. Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, said: “The loss of these nine people is a tragedy that cannot be forgotten. They faced all the challenges affecting Gaza and yet remained determined to support people in desperate circumstances. In the truest sense of the word, they were humanitarians, and their loss is a terrible blow to their families, to Gaza and to UNRWA.”
In Rafah, hospital morgues cannot hold all the bodies
Haaretz 3 Aug by Amira Hass — After more than 24 hours of Israeli aerial bombardments, at an average of five an hour, and heavy artillery fire on Rafah, the city’s medical facilities have had to place the bodies of the dead in cold storage designed for fruits and vegetables. This step had to be taken not only because of the high number of casualties, but because Rafah’s Yusuf al-Najar Hospital had to be evacuated after bombardments and artillery fire that endangered the lives of patients and staff. Because cemeteries and funeral processions are also being bombarded, people are afraid to bury their dead. After the collapse of the cease-fire Friday, about two hours after it began, Rafah residents said the Israel Defense Forces bombarded and fired on houses indiscriminately, with the inhabitants still inside. They reported that when they tried to flee they were bombarded in the street. “All the houses shook like in an earthquake, “residents told Haaretz. A few thousand people living in neighborhoods on the edge of Rafah fled to the Shabura refugee camp, considered “protected” from ground invasion. But at 3 A.M. Saturday a bomb dropped by an Israeli fighter jet on a number of asbestos dwellings in the camp killed eight people from three families, including three girls and three boys, a woman and a man of about 50. Fighter jets and gun boats also bombarded civilian neighborhoods in the west of the city, killing at least 20 civilians, most of them mainly children. Between 10 A.M. Friday and 10 A.M. Saturday about 100 air strikes and a few hundred artillery strikes were counted. In Rafah alone 123 civilians were killed, including 30 children and 14 women, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Altogether throughout the Gaza Strip in that 24-hour period, 143 Palestinians were killed – including 39 children and 16 women, according to the center.
Names of Palestinians killed in the War on Gaza since 8 July
IMEMC 4 Aug by Saed Bannoura — This list is constantly updated due to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza since July 8th. The following 1429 names have been confirmed – the actual death toll stands at approximately 1803. This site, ‘Beyond Numbers’, has pictures of many of these victims.
Killed Monday, August 4:
Dia’ ed-Deen Mohammad al-Madhoun, 23, Gaza.
Ahmad Banat, 22, Gaza.
Hamada Khalil al-Qaaq, Beit Lahia.
Ahmad Khaled al-Qaaq, Beit Lahia.
Suleiman Mohammad Ma’rouf, Beit Lahia.
Zaher al-Andah, Beit Lahia.
Abdul-Nasser al-Ajjoury, Beit Lahia.
Abdul-Hai Salama al-Qreinawi, 45, Gaza.
Mohammad Sabri Atallah, 21, Gaza.
Raghd Mas’oud, 7, Rafah.
Killed Sunday, August 3:
Fares Abu Jazar, 2, Rafah.
Maria Abu Jazar, 2, (Twins) Rafah.
Amani Abu Jazar, 23, Rafah.
In photos: Israeli bombs destroy historic al-Omari mosque in Jabaliya
Ma‘an 2 Aug — Israeli forces bombed the historic al-Omari Mosque in the northern Gaza City of Jabaliya on Saturday morning. The mosque, which is believed to have stood on the same site since 647 AD, was almost completely destroyed in the bombing. The portico and minaret dated back to the medieval Mamluk period, or at least 500 years. The mosque stood at the center of Jabaliya and was known as the “Great Mosque” by local residents. Israel said that their forces had bombed five mosques over night, claiming that “weapons caches and Hamas command and training facilities” were concealed within them. The muezzin whose job was to recite the call to prayer from the mosque’s minaret was also killed on Saturday in another strike on the mosque. His name was Daoud Zakariya Suleiman. More than 10 mosques have been completely destroyed in addition to 80 mosques and two churches that have been partially destroyed in the 26-day assault, according to PLO figures.
Israeli airstrike targets Islamic University of Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Israeli military bombed the Islamic University in Gaza early Saturday, causing extensive damage to one of Gaza’s largest and most prominent institutions of higher education. The Israeli military said in a statement that the target was a Hamas “facility that was used for research and development of weapon manufacturing” inside the university. The Islamic University has been repeatedly targeted by Israel in the past, especially in the 2008-9 offensive when Israel destroyed 74 labs in a series of airstrikes. At the time it gave the same justification for the attack, citing the existence of a Hamas research facility there. The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, also known as the “Goldstone Report,” disputed the Israeli justification, saying the facilities were “civilian, educational buildings and the Mission did not find any information about their use as a military facility or their contribution to a military effort that might have made them a legitimate target in the eyes of the Israeli armed forces.” The PLO says that 137 schools have been damaged in the 26-day Israeli assault
5,510 Gaza homes destroyed by Israel: minister
Middle East Monitor 3 Aug — An ongoing Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip has completely destroyed 5510 homes in the embattled coastal enclave, a Palestinian cabinet minister said Saturday, “Some 5,510 housing units have been destroyed and nearly 30920 others partially damaged by Israel’s military operation in Gaza,” Minister of Public Works and Housing Mufeed al-Hassayna told Anadolu Agency. The tally is preliminary as some of the enclave’s areas are still inaccessible to the ministry’s teams due to the intensity of the Israeli shelling, he added. Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip – home to 1.8 million people – for the almost past four weeks with the stated aim of halting rocket fire.
Gaza City suffers from electricity outage for fifth day
GAZA (WAFA) 2 Aug – Gaza city has been suffering since last Tuesday from electricity outage after Israel targeted Gaza’s sole power plant earlier this week. Israel has also targeted the main electric power transmission line at Baghdad Street in the city transmitting electricity to Ash-Shaja‘iya and Al-Tuffah neighborhoods, compounding the suffering of Gaza population. Israeli forces have denied electricity technicians access to repair the power failure. A recent report published by Save the Children shows that as a result of the power outage, Gaza population are facing a complete collapse of essential services as electricity and water supplies run out and that health facilities are particularly badly affected, with some hospitals warning that they only have enough fuel to run electricity generators for another four to five days. According to the organization, this could leave nearly one million children trapped in a war zone without access to electricity, water or medical services. At present, following air strikes on Gaza’s sole power plant, residents are receiving electricity for a maximum of two hours a day, if at all. No water supplies are being delivered and sewage pumps are not working, meaning raw sewage is being pumped onto the streets, raising very serious concerns about outbreaks of disease. Internet and telephony lines have been disconnected to several areas across Gaza Strip … after being deliberately targeted and leveled by Israeli forces.
Egypt to increase electricity supply to Gaza
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Egypt will increase the amount of electricity it is sending to Gaza from 27 megawatts to 32 megawatts beginning in August, the Palestinian ambassador to Egypt said. Jamal al-Shawbaki said that Egypt informed the embassy that it will also supply 15 extra megawatts to Gaza Strip and will continue to allow medical and humanitarian supplies into the Strip. The announcement comes after Israel bombed Gaza’s sole power plant earlier in the week, bringing daily electricity availability down from around eight hours a day to two, and even none in some areas…
Egypt has helped Israel maintain a severe blockade of the Gaza Strip for the last eight years that has crippled the coastal enclave’s economy by limited imports, exports, and movement of people. Despite a brief reprieve under the government of democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2012-13, after he was ousted by the military last summer the siege was redoubled from the Egyptian side.
WFP steps up emergency food assistance in Gaza as situation deteriorates
GAZA (WPF Press Release) 1 Aug — Four weeks into the conflict in Gaza, the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is responding to increased needs by stepping up provision of emergency food and other assistance. “WFP is extremely concerned about the breakdown of the ceasefire,” said WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin. “WFP and humanitarian counterparts on the ground continue to remain operational and it is crucial that we have unhindered access to the people who need our help and that civilians are protected.” Working closely with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), WFP has been providing emergency food rations to those sheltering in UNRWA schools and elsewhere. To date, WFP has reached more than 255,000 conflict-affected people in Gaza with emergency food assistance. This includes an increase of more than 50,000 people in two days. WFP, UNRWA and partners are constantly identifying new needs and are working to reach additional people. The emergency response includes:
Erdoğan accuses Israel of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers
ISTANBUL (Reuters) 3 Aug by Dasha Afanasieva and Humeyra Pamuk — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel on Sunday of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned it would “drown in the blood it sheds”, pulling foreign policy to centre stage as a presidential race enters its final week. Addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters at his biggest rally so far ahead of the Aug. 10 election, Erdoğan again likened Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, comments that have already led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse him of anti-Semitism and drawn rebuke from Washington. “Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target,” Erdoğan told the sea of cheering supporters at an Istanbul arena. “They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won’t grow up; they kill men so they can’t defend their country … They will drown in the blood they shed,” he said.
US condemns school shelling in rare criticism of Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) 3 Aug — The United States declared Sunday it is “appalled” by the “disgraceful” shelling by Israel of a United Nations school sheltering some 3,000 displaced people in southern Gaza. In language that was rare in its directness and severity, the U.S. denounced the attack that killed 10 people earlier in the day, noting that the school had been designated a protected location.”The co-ordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israel Defence Forces,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in the statement. “We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.” The U.S. condemnation follows one by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who depicted the shelling near the Rafah school as both “a moral outrage and a criminal act.” Earlier, a senior Palestinian diplomat expressed outrage over killings and bloodshed on both sides in Gaza and called for negotiations to end the savage fighting that has gone on for nearly a month. “What we need now is to stop this fighting, to address the tragic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding “these things need to be stopped.”
Ministry: Israel imposing collective punishment on prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said on Saturday that Israeli prison authorities have imposed collective punishments on Palestinian prisoners over the last two months in tandem with ongoing Israeli offensives. In a statement, the ministry quoted its lawyers who recently visited prisoners in Israeli jails as saying that the “collective punishment” which Israeli prison authorities began imposing about two months ago had intensified during the military offensive on Gaza over the last three weeks. The lawyers said that the collective punishments included fines, arbitrary inspections nearly every day, ransacking prisoners’ belongings, moving prisoners to different jails, deprivation of family visits, deprivation of access to the prison canteen, deprivation of daily breaks, and elimination of some TV channels. The statement highlighted that all prisoners affiliated to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have been deprived of family visits for the last two months. An Israeli prison services spokeswoman did not return inquiries for comment. More than 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, including 1,500 detained in just the last two months.
Analysis / Opinion
Henry Siegman, leading voice of US Jewry, on Gaza: ‘A slaughter of innocents’
Democracy Now 30 July — Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories. “When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success,” Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: “What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation.”
Millennials are over Israel: a new generation is outraged over Gaza, rejects Washington’s reflexive support / David Palumbo-Liu
Salon.com 1 Aug — Angered by the immoral and inhumane assault on Gaza, Gen Y is shaking up the conventional view of Mideast politics — It might seem counterintuitive to make the argument that Israel should no longer count on U.S. support for its policies as assuredly it has in the past. After all, hasn’t the Senate just passed not one but now two resolutions by unanimous consent declaring its backing of Israel’s deadly attacks on and invasion of Gaza? … Yet even with these unambiguous resolutions emanating from the Senate, we find more and more evidence that support for Israel from the American public is slipping. A recent report in the Washington Post noted that “A new Pew Research Center poll is the second in the past week to show a huge generational split on the current conflict in Gaza. While all age groups north of 30 years old clearly blame Hamas more than Israel for the current violence, young adults buck the trend in a big way. Among 18 to 29-year olds, 29 percent blame Israel more for the current wave of violence, while 21 percent blame Hamas.” Clearly there are a number of possible explanations for this; here are three that come to mind … International support for Israel is ebbing because the Holocaust narrative can no longer offer an omnipotent shield against a critique of the second narrative regarding the founding of the state of Israel. Israel is in fact risking losing the narrative war altogether, as more and more of the global public is asking questions that probe into that history, prompted by the evidence of Israeli’s current efforts to continue and expand Israeli power and land, efforts that are now increasingly regarded not as survival tactics but as violent colonial ones … Second, the massive attack on Gaza and its obscene civilian death toll is now delivered to a global audience via a variety of media forms that far exceed the mainstream media. Contemporary forms of social media deliver images from Gaza and opinions on the invasion as it takes place.
Gaza is not as I expected. Amid the terror, there is hope / Paul Mason
The Guardian 3 Aug — I have been reporting from Gaza all week, and, amid the stream of dead and injured civilians wheeled on trolleys before me, frantic people gesturing in my face, and nights spent in an unlit city under bombardment, I’ve come to a conclusion I did not expect: Gaza “works”. What I mean is that, given resources, connections with the outside world, and time, this narrow political entity could function normally. With its smooth sand, blue sea and skies, it could even become a tourist destination. It already has a massive pool of trained and educated human capital – though, sadly, its most expert people are trauma surgeons. As it is, hotels stand deserted along the beachfront in Gaza City. Their embarrassed waiters struggle to boil coffee on single flames. The fishermen in the port sneak out maybe 20 yards in canoes, while hostilities are on, 100 yards in motor boats during the sporadic ceasefires.Everyday life, even for those with money and friends in the west, is becoming impossible. Water queues form, petrol stations are empty. Equally unnerving, for the young, urbanised kids, the internet is sporadic … I have been to Muslim countries where there is deep conservatism, low education and suspicion of the west. This is not one of them. I constantly meet highly educated people who speak English; cheerful and friendly people – which is amazing in itself, given the level of terror the night brings. The world is not so blessed with educated, resourceful people that it can afford to waste the lives of 1.8 million Palestinians behind the iron grilles and the concrete walls that delimit Gaza.
What, it took Washington 25 days to call the Gaza war barbaric? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 Aug — The Palestinians’ famed barbarity has finally reached Washington in another Israeli public-relations feat — While Y. was crying massacre in Rafah, the White House spokesman released a statement calling the capture of the Israeli officer and the killing of his two comrades “a barbaric violation” of the cease-fire agreement. The restrained American spokesman used the word “barbaric” for the first time in this war. Nothing else was considered barbaric. Not the Israeli shell that landed two days earlier on Shujaiyeh’s crowded market killing 17 people and wounding 150 at the height of another cease-fire, not the shell that fell on an UNRWA school where 3,000 refugees were hiding, not the bombing of the Gaza power station, the bombing of the university, the bomb dropped by those excellent Israel Air Force pilots on a four-story dwelling in Khan Yunis without warning, killing 35, including 18 children and eight women – apparently the most deadly bombing in Gaza ever. Only the abduction and the killing of two soldiers. This is an American spokesman also afflicted with racism; “barbarity” is preserved only for one side. Yes, Hamas is known for its barbarity, as are all the Palestinians, and word of that barbarity has finally reached Washington in another Israeli public-relations feat. But the truth is that this war has been barbaric since it started … Relative to the size of Gaza’s population, the numbers are approaching the dimensions of the war in Syria, the one Israel bandies about to prove the Arabs’ animal nature. Last week, a record-breaking week, 1,700 people were killed in Syria. In Gaza, whose population is less than one-tenth that of Syria’s, about that same number have been killed in three and a half weeks of Israeli intoxication of the senses – not a major difference.