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Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught (Updated)

Israel/Palestine
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Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli military strike east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 1, 2014. (Photo: SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli military strike east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 1, 2014. (Photo: SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Update:

Between 9 and 10 pm last night, Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing and the trapped group was allowed to enter. The group received bread, water and slept on chairs at the Egyptian gate hall.

I spoke to Nalan al-Sarraj via Facebook video chat while she was at the Egyptian gate hall early this morning. The internet connection she was using repeatedly cut out, so I have edited those sections out of the recording. I have transcribed her words below, however I suggest listening to the recording.

Nalan al-Sarraj testimony by Dancohen3000 on Mixcloud

Nalan al-Sarraj: Most of the people with us, their phones died. My phone was already dead. My sister’s phone was already dead. The whole situation was getting even scarier. Then it got worse because most of the people started fearing that there is no hope for us to enter the Egyptian border. We started thinking of leaving and we actually felt that we were in grave danger because we heard that a car had been targeted by the Israeli forces. From the radio, we were very positive that the Israeli forces were in Rafah. The only source we had, which wasn’t all that clear, that it was really bad over there.

The airstrikes got even worse. They were even closer. There was no electricity or water. There were children and women. We were trying to survive over there by ourselves. The number of people got a little bit smaller. We were trying to encourage each other. Then when the airstrikes got worse and it became dark, that’s when I really can’t remember because the horror that we saw was unbelievable. We started holding each other. We started praying and just calling. It felt like our last minutes. For the first time throughout almost the whole month in Gaza I hadn’t felt that, where I’m totally out of hope that I would live. And that is exactly what I felt. The scene that I can’t forget, is when we started running for our lives, just doing whatever we can because we had to evacuate the Palestinian border. We were running and running and we found out that they had already evacuated and the Egyptian border was closed. That feeling — the number of people that were running on foot. I just remember my sister saying “Go, go!” Everyone just encouraging each other to go and not look back. That feeling in her voice, that is basically what I was hearing with every explosion. Everyone was just holding each other. We were out of hope, just totally out of hope. Then the airstrikes were near and far. We didn’t expect anything from the Israelis, of course. We were completely out of connection. We thought the media had forgot about us — nobody cared and nobody knew if we were still alive.

They were saying from some sources that they might open the border so we have this little tiny hope. Around 9 or 10 pm, they opened the border. The Egyptians were really nice, actually. They let us in and were trying to help us as much as possible. Everybody was just crying. None of us believed that we actually survived. That feeling is just unbelievable. People were just cheering for each other, holding each other and crying. Like you’re alive, you know?

We entered the Egyptian hall. They were doing all of the necessary paperwork. There is no traveling from Rafah border to Cairo because of the dangerous situation in Sinai. So we need to wait for the next day which is today. Hopefully we’re going to have a better trip than what happened last night.

Most of the people, around 50 or 60, we slept on the chairs. We didn’t care because we felt that it’s safer over here. The [Israeli military] can’t really target us over here.

Dan Cohen: Did you get anything to eat? Did they give you any water?

Just some bread and some water. We had a chance to go to the restroom, clean up and talk to our friends and family — just to tell them that we are still alive. Then we heard that exactly where we were was targeted and there was a fire over there. Everybody was just in shock that we could have been dead. We felt really blessed, of course.

Original Post:

Friday morning, before before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into effect, the Israeli military clashed with Hamas fighters in Rafah.  Israel alleged that Hamas captured a 23-year-old Israeli soldier named Hadar Goldin, 23. Gaza’s ruling political party expressed conflicting sentiments, eventually denying responsibility.

In response to the alleged capture, Israel nullified the ceasefire and began heavy bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing 50 and wounding more than 220 people.

A group of at least 70 Palestinian civilians, dozens of whom have foreign passports, attempted to flee to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, only to find it closed and deserted. Unable to cross into and Egypt or return to Gaza, the group is currently trapped in between.

Since the military coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing almost entirely closed. While collaborating with Israel to destroy cross-border tunnels, the Egyptian coup regime has allowed a tiny number of the more than 8,000 Gazans wounded in Israel’s assault the last weeks to enter Egypt.

Throughout the day, Lia Tarachansky of The Real News Network and I spoke to Nalan al-Sarraj, a blogger and commentator who is among the stranded group.

“My mother has a Libyan passport. Based on that, my sister and I may be able to enter Egypt,” al-Sarraj said.

She described an extremely dangerous and unpredictable scene where they had little water, no food and no access to shelter.

“The situation over here is very scary. We’re more than 70 people, mostly women and children, and mostly they have foreign passports, half of which are Egyptian. I can see smoke and fire, and we can see the explosions very close to where we are. Israel has declared Rafah a closed area so we can’t even get out of this place,” she said.

Al-Sarraj told us that among the trapped are dozens of foreign nationals, including Jordanians, seven Norwegians, and one Bulgarian.

In numerous telephone calls with Jordanian, Egyptian, Norwegian, German, Israeli, and American embassies, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations, Tarachansky and I informed them of the emergency. Twice, I was told by Egyptian authorities to “call back on Sunday.”

In a conversation with the Jordanian embassy in Cairo, Lia Tarachansky spoke with a representative who, in fluent English, identified himself only as “Muhammad.” When Tarachansky informed the representative of the emergency, he claimed that he does not speak English and told her to “call back on Sunday.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s office was unaware of the situation and did not comment.

After hours of futile phone calls with embassies, we spoke to Nalan al-Sarraj again at 6:30 pm. The group was witnessing explosions from airstrikes and tanks shells only 100 meters away. As Nalan al-Sarraj described the ordeal, she informed us that a private car who had left the Rafah crossing in an attempt to drive back to Gaza was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

At one point, al-Sarraj told us, an Egyptian representative spoke to the trapped group. He informed them that Egypt takes no responsibility for their situation before he again locked the crossing.

Both Nalan al-Sarraj and her sister’s cell phone batteries have died since our last communication. While it remains unclear what the fate of the group trapped between the two borders will be, al-Sarraj pleaded with anyone who could hear her message:

“Talk to people, talk to media, talk to embassies! Maybe that will change something!”

Dan Cohen
About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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91 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 1, 2014, 3:33 pm


    Since the military coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing almost entirely closed. While collaborating with Israel

    Finally someone at Mondoweiss that know what going on.
    Just as Abbas and the rest of arab dictators, they are puppets to Israel.

    • annie
      annie
      August 1, 2014, 4:05 pm

      Finally someone at Mondoweiss that know what going on.

      Egypt closes Rafah crossing to Gaza indefinitely
      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/egypt-closes-rafah-crossing-to-gaza-indefinitely.html

      ‘Maybe it’s better not to dream,’ says Gaza student stopped at border
      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/maybe-its-better-not-to-dream-says-gaza-student-stopped-at-border.html

      Foreign citizenship is dream ticket for Gaza residents as Egypt squeezes harder in wake of coup
      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/foreign-citizenship-is-dream-ticket-for-gaza-residents-as-egypt-squeezes-harder-in-wake-of-coup.html

      these are just 3 of the articles we’ve published about the rafah border crossing being closed by egypt. it took me a nano second to find them.(we have archives too!) you also may want to check fidaa alabussi’s articles. seriously, if you think you’re endearing yourself to us by your slagging criticism of the site. think again.

      anyone who reads mondoweiss who is not aware egypt closed the border and getting in and out of gaza via rafah is hugely challenging is simply not paying attention.

      you might also be interested in this article by max which discusses “Sisi and the regime that overthrew the elected President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup on July 3.”

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/egyptians-rally-in-dc-for-general-sisi-rattling-off-conspiracy-theories-recycled-from-islamophobes.html

      actually the archives for july and august 2013 each have dozens of posts discussing egypt.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07
      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08

      • American
        American
        August 1, 2014, 4:23 pm

        Yes it has been covered numerous times.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 1, 2014, 5:51 pm

        I guess the Palestinian people don’t get to have an Anne Frank? How white-looking do you have to be? I mean poor Anne doesn’t look like a Shiksa from the Big Band Theory.

      • ivri
        ivri
        August 2, 2014, 9:48 am

        @citizen
        Not as long as they rely on terror as their main tool

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 2, 2014, 7:12 pm

        Not as long as they rely on terror as their main tool

        Israel has relied on it for 67 years.

      • ezra greenberg
        ezra greenberg
        August 2, 2014, 4:58 pm

        This comment about Anne Frank is ridiculously offensive on at least 2 levels: (1) Anne Franks torment and death was not self inflicted. As has to be repeated over and over again, Hamas can stop the carnage IMMEDIATELY by ceasing the indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. For some reason, I don’t know why!!!, Israel does not like being attacked. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think Anne Frank and people like her were posing a security threat to the German regime; (2) What does Anne Frank’s skin color have to do with this? This is not a black/white issue, it’s an between good and evil, between the genocidal psychos of Hamas (please read their charter) and a modern progressive society. Israel has alot of “people of color” by the way. Just check out their current Miss Israel, who is black (obviously just Zionist propoganda I am sure!!!)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2014, 10:11 pm

        Everybody is understandably pretty wrought. I know that I’m spending a lot of time biting my tongue. People are very frustrated. And, again quite understandably we get a little snappish.

      • Pixel
        Pixel
        August 1, 2014, 10:48 pm

        @Mooser

        +1

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 1, 2014, 11:08 pm

        ” People are very frustrated. And, again quite understandably we get a little snappish.”

        I’ve noticed that, too. It’s a struggle to express our outrage and disgust without it spilling over onto innocent commenters*. I’m trying to take a few deep breaths before I hit the keyboard, but I’m not sure it worked every time.

        I gather that the moderators are overwhelmed with comments, and feeling the strain too.

        (*Though I’d rather be hit by a sharp comment than a flechette shell.)

      • American
        American
        August 2, 2014, 5:59 pm

        Well I am feeling murderous and at wits end, thats why I am not saying much.

    • talknic
      talknic
      August 1, 2014, 7:15 pm

      @ Justpassingby “Finally someone at Mondoweiss that know what going on”

      That someone wouldn’t be you. It’s not in an Israeli propagandists brief.

      Israel is the Occupying Power over Gaza. As such it has the final say as to what, who and when anything or anyone goes in or out of Gaza! Under the Peace Treaty, Egypt is expressly forbidden to allow anything harmful to Israel to cross the Egyptian border!

      “Just as Abbas and the rest of arab … “

      Uh oh .. http://talknic.wordpress.com/category/the-guardian-cif/lower-case-syndrome-a-for-arabs-p-for-palestinians/ bigots for Israel just can’t seem to help themselves!

  2. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 1, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Obama just spoke and blamed palestinians again – surprise not, aipac wrote the speech?

    • ezra greenberg
      ezra greenberg
      August 1, 2014, 5:06 pm

      excellent comments by Obama. Only problem is, he failed to state the stupefyingly obvious STOP SENDING ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL AND ISRAEL WILL HAVE NO NEED TO RETALIATE. End of story. Sorry, folks, this carnage raining down on the Palestinians is 100% self inflicted. I know this does not jibe with the victim narrative the Palestinians like to portray, but it is the truth.

      • just
        just
        August 1, 2014, 5:11 pm

        “Sorry, folks, this carnage raining down on the Palestinians is 100% self inflicted. I know this does not jibe with the victim narrative the Palestinians like to portray, but it is the truth.”

        ezra, you’ve brought nothing resembling truth to this site. Israel is responsible for the genocide/massacre/ and terrorism of the Palestinian people. Mr. Obama is wrong– tragically wrong. Please take your GoI talking points away.

      • Kris
        Kris
        August 1, 2014, 5:28 pm

        Just, do you suppose hasbarists like ezra greenberg, who starting posting here in July, 2014, get paid extra when people reply to their comments? I know that in the past, people have written on other sites, “don’t feed the trolls.” Is a hasbarist a troll?

      • just
        just
        August 2, 2014, 12:30 pm

        “Is a hasbarist a troll?”

        Yes. The very worst of Trolldom. Thankfully they get struck down regularly here when they pop up and pop off. Sadly, many of our selected leaders have been infected with hasbaratrollery.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        August 1, 2014, 5:30 pm

        Of course it is the fault of the Palestinians. It is ALL the fault of the Palestinians. See, they love to live under that brutal occupation, be blockaded, have their lands stolen, water controlled, feel the wrath of Israel when they are collectively punished, and enjoy seeing their people blown up, homes, mosques, and shelters bombed. The Palestinians enjoy living in open concentration camps, and the true victims are those poor Israelis who have to keep occupying Palestinians and shooting them near the fences using the aid we keep sending them.

        You sound really informed like your friends.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2014, 6:02 pm

        Ezra, landsmann, when you are reduced to lobbing an un-aimed comments and then and fleeing immediately, completely incapable of responding to any of the rejoinders based on facts to your comments, all you are doing is proving how crazy and dumb Zionists are. You do see that, don’t you?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2014, 6:03 pm

        “I know this does not jibe with the victim narrative the Palestinians like to portray,”

        Unlike, of course, Jewish victimology. That’s always genuine.

      • french_jew
        french_jew
        August 2, 2014, 9:49 am

        This kind of comment shows that with all the zionism, jews haven’t completely entered whiteness yet… I haven’t really seen comments on wasp or american “victimology” (for 9/11) after the US and allies destroyed the Iraqi state, killing hundreds of thousands on the way and delt a horrifying blow to Iraqi society by doing so. Yet “victimology” would have been a perfect word the describe the American crocodile tears in the 2000’s used to justify the imperialist wars that followed.
        Nor has the french financial, military, ideological (because they were francophones) and labor support to the genocidal Hutu power regime in Rwanda in 1994 been an opportunity to talk about french “victimisation” or anything along those lines. Yet the french also pretended that they, and their francophone african lakeys, were being the victims of the big bad anglo-saxons (the rwandan patriotic front, fighting against the hutu power regime at the time, was anglophone).

        It is generally when the non-whites commit crimes, colonial or not, when this crime will be attributed to their essence one way or another. Even leftists do this. Crimes committed by ISIS will be attributed to islamic “extremism” and “fundamentalism” while political and economical factors will be discarded. Jews have entered this blurry intermediate area, with others such as the serbs. Not completely white, not completely indigenous either.

        Anyways, this comment on jewish victimilogy was unnecessary.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 2, 2014, 6:02 pm

        FRENCH JEW- “This kind of comment shows that with all the zionism, jews haven’t completely entered whiteness yet….”

        Still the victims, eh? In view of disproportionate Jewish success and influence, methinks that this is a gilded victimhood.

        French Jew says: “Anyways, this comment on jewish victimilogy was unnecessary.”

        Funny, I thought that it was quite to the point what with perceived Jewish victimhood such a critically important feature of Zionism and the defense of Israel.

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 1, 2014, 6:31 pm

        >> ezra greenbergeee: … STOP SENDING ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL AND ISRAEL WILL HAVE NO NEED TO RETALIATE. End of story.

        Stop…
        – oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians;
        – stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land;
        – refusing to honour your obligations under international law;
        – refusing to accept responsibility and accountability for past and ON-GOING (war) crimes;
        – refusing to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace,
        …and Palestinians will have no need to retaliate. End of story.

        >> Sorry, folks …

        You’re not the least bit sorry.

        >> … this carnage raining down on the Palestinians is 100% self inflicted. I know this does not jibe with the victim narrative the Palestinians like to portray, but it is the truth.

        The blowback suffered by Israelis is 100% self-inflicted. It doesn’t jibe with the victim narrative Zio-supremacists have been portraying since their campaign of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder began over 60 years ago, but it is the truth.

      • talknic
        talknic
        August 1, 2014, 7:20 pm

        @ ezra greenberg “Only problem is, he failed to state the stupefyingly obvious STOP ..” … Israel from occupying other folk, stealing their territory, illegally settling, illegally selling non-Israeli territory to illegal Israeli settlers.

        Save your bullsh*t pal, it doesn’t work here! Israel has been illegally acquiring territory “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” for the last 66 years.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2014, 10:20 pm

        Will we ever see a map on American TV showing that, the extent to which Israel has expanded beyond any reasonable demarcation of the land allotted them?
        Of course, there is the fact that I don’t think they ever exactly got permission to form a racist armed state on that land. But I suppose we’ll have to let that point go for now.

        You know, it seems like many of our gold-standard Zionist explainers have made themselves scarce, lately, I think they dropped out around the second school or hospital, and all that’s left is pure brass.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        August 2, 2014, 7:19 am

        Strange that map is never seen on US tv, but then no one discusses the occupation and blockade at length either. All no-no by the zio bosses.

      • Light
        Light
        August 1, 2014, 10:22 pm

        Bombing women and children, schools and hospitals is always a crime. End of story.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 1, 2014, 10:35 pm

        It’s the Palestinians fault for existing in the first place. If they had shown a bit of forethought, they wouldn’t have done it.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        August 2, 2014, 7:20 am

        Yes really, they are such an inconvenience for the occupier.
        They make land grabbing so difficult for the thieves.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 1, 2014, 10:39 pm

        Only problem is, he failed to state the stupefyingly obvious STOP SENDING ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL AND ISRAEL WILL HAVE NO NEED TO RETALIATE.

        EXCEPT THAT ISRAEL IS NOT RETALIATING!!!! ISRAEL STARTED THE WAR BY ATTACKING GAZA, JUSTIFYING THE ATTACK ON THE BASIS OF A LIE.

        THEREFORE, UNDER THE NUREMBERG PRINCIPALS, ISRAEL HAS COMMITTED THE MOTHER OF ALL WAR CRIMES AND BECOME COLEY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE WAR CRIMES THAT STEM FROM THEIR AGGRESSION.

        Sorry, folks, this carnage raining down on the Palestinians is 100% self inflicted.

        The only thing self inflicted is that they are not Jewish. Israel have been dying to attack Gaza and kill the unity deal ever since it was signed.

        I know this does not jibe with the Jewish victim narrative the that Israeli apologists like to portray, but it is the truth.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 2, 2014, 1:36 am

        Absolutely, horribly correct.

      • Qualtrough
        Qualtrough
        August 2, 2014, 1:17 am

        ezra greenberg: “…this carnage raining down on the Palestinians is 100% self inflicted.”

        I have read this kind of justification before. It was in German, and the Jews were the victims.

      • Theo
        Theo
        August 2, 2014, 9:10 am

        ezra
        What kind of truce is, wenn one party is allowed to continue with destroying the defenses of the other, the tunnels, while the second one must stand still? This was construed by zionist influenced individuals in Washington, to allow Israel unhindered access to its claimed aims. Came the truce plan from AIPAC or direct from Mossad?

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 2, 2014, 1:20 am

        You can’t be serious. That’s not reality at all. How can a captive population without basic necessities for life, with no army, just the determination to live, be responsible for their own genocide? That’s what has Bibs and co. waking up in a cold sweat each night. I’m sure someone said this back in about 1941 ‘Sorry, folks, this carnage raining down on the JEWS is 100% self inflicted. I know this does not jibe with the victim narrative the JEWS like to portray, but it is the truth.”

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 2, 2014, 7:47 am

        ezra, this is a caps free zone.

        Go shout at your j post buddies.

  3. gamal
    gamal
    August 1, 2014, 4:00 pm

    “they are puppets to Israel” no that is is to entirely underestimate the malevolence of the Arab ruling classes, Israel is their puppet, their hostility can not be over estimated, Israelis are typically neurotic westerners our rulers are untroubled by humanitarian or moral considerations, they are with out equal in inhumanity and venality.

  4. mondonut
    mondonut
    August 1, 2014, 4:29 pm

    At 6:30 am, 90 minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into effect, Israeli authorities alleged…

    Where are you getting that Israel said it happened before the cease-fire?

    • Jon66
      Jon66
      August 1, 2014, 4:37 pm

      Every report has the time as 90 minutes AFTER the cease fire began and holds Hamas responsible for the breach.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        August 1, 2014, 5:36 pm

        Jon. This is the Mondoweiss universe.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 2, 2014, 2:54 am

        This is the Mondoweiss universe.

        As opposed to the parallel Zionist one.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 1, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Except that Hamas deny it, which they would never do, since capturing a live soldier is PR gold.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        August 1, 2014, 10:50 pm

        They denied knowledge of the Shalit capture for several weeks as well.
        They are saying their men were the ones responsible, but they haven’t heard from them.

        http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/gaza-conflict-escalates-as-israeli-soldier-is-seized-by-hamas-1.1885403

      • annie
        annie
        August 2, 2014, 2:13 am

        They are saying their men were the ones responsible, but they haven’t heard from them.

        jon, they also contest the time frame. said it took place before the ceasefite. and there are (timely) tweets to confirm that.

        http://www.alternet.org/who-broke-ceasefire-obama-blames-hamas-against-all-evidence

        http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/did-israeli-army-deliberately-kill-its-own-captured-soldier-and-destroy-gaza

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 2, 2014, 2:56 am

        They denied knowledge of the Shalit capture for several weeks as well.

        Funny how your link says no such thing.

        They are saying their men were the ones responsible, but they haven’t heard from them.

        No they are not.

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 2, 2014, 7:55 am

        “They denied knowledge of the Shalit capture for several weeks as well.
        They are saying their men were the ones responsible, but they haven’t heard from them.Hamas said it had no clear indication on the soldier’s whereabouts, adding he may have been killed during an ambush, Reuters reported last night.” jon 666

        Why do you provide a link that shows you to be a liar.

        “A statement by the group said it had no contact with militants who were operating in the area in the southern Gaza Strip where Israel said Second Lieutenant Goldin went missing on Friday, and it feared all had been killed.

        “We have lost contact with the group of fighters that took part in the ambush and we believe they were all killed in the [Israeli] bombardment. Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident,” the statement said.
        ” IT

        Show us where they claimed responsibility.

        Incidentally , your first two lines are contradictory

        Hasbara fail/.

  5. Boomer
    Boomer
    August 1, 2014, 4:40 pm

    “At 6:30 am, 90 minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into effect, Israeli authorities alleged that Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier. Though Israel claims that Hadar Goldin, 23, was captured by Hamas, Gaza’s ruling political party issued conflicting statements, eventually denying responsibility.

    In response to the alleged capture, Israel nullified the ceasefire and began heavy bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing 50 and wounding more than 220 people.”

    The clearest explanation of the beginning of today’s events that I’ve seen or heard. Thanks.

  6. joer
    joer
    August 1, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Here is a twitter feed from a woman who seconds ago escaped over the Egyptian border from Rafah. I have been following her since the beginning of the assault, and now the inferno has engulfed her and almost took her life.

    https://twitter.com/NalanSarraj

  7. just
    just
    August 1, 2014, 7:03 pm

    “HEBRON (Ma’an) More than 90 Palestinians were injured by live fire during clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron on Friday, medics said.

    Wilid Zaloum, director of Hebron Governmental Hospital, told Ma’an more 90 Palestinians arrived at the hospital with bullet wounds after being shot by Israeli forces.

    Three of the Palestinians were critically injured, Zaloum told Ma’an. Many others were in moderate condition after being shot in the lower extremities.

    Organizers said 50,000 people marched in central Hebron in protest against Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip.”

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=717427

    “GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Israeli response to the capture of a soldier in Rafah will be “crushing,” Israeli media quoted the army as saying on Friday.

    Israeli news website Walla said on Friday that the Israeli army threatened to call up to 80,000 reservists and to “re-occupy” Rafah.”

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=717385

  8. bilal a
    bilal a
    August 1, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Who Is Behind Gaza’s Mass Execution?

    Piled in one room in the Gaza war zone are rotting bodies—and shell casings marked “IMI,” short for “Israel Military Industries.”

    – See more at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/01/who-is-behind-gaza-s-mass-execution.html#sthash.JR4OEDRj.dpuf

    from

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 3h
    Reporter @JRosyfield finds clear evidence of mass executions of civilians in Khuzaa by Israeli soldiers: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/01/who-is-behind-gaza-s-mass-execution.html

    Max Blumenthal ‏@MaxBlumenthal
    Don’t get it twisted. If you support Israel’s actions in Gaza in any way, you help make genocide permissible. pic.twitter.com/OsSUGixxdK

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/495280353532051457

  9. dahaalamnafa
    dahaalamnafa
    August 1, 2014, 8:08 pm

    To the Zionist trolls who continue bringing up their top four most absurd arguments to justify these latest atrocities:

    1) “Hamas fired 1,394 rockets at Israel!”

    How many rockets, missiles, tank shells, cluster bombs, white phosphorous bombs, bullets, cannons and grenades has Israel unleashed on the Palestinians? It’s a sad situation and only reflective of the evident bias when you can count to the 3rd decimal point the number of Hamas projectiles but be completely clueless about Israel’s arsenal.

    2) “Israel is defending itself. What would you do if someone was firing rockets at your country?!”

    A: If I occupied a people, placed a crippling trade and economic embargo on them, placed them under siege, humiliated them daily via military and police checkpoints, controlled their water and electricity, constructed apartheid “Jewish-only roads”, shot their children, bombed their schools, mosques and businsses, illegally seized their lands, destroyed their crops, demolished their homes, threw thousands of them in dungeons and treated them like sub-humans and they fired rockets at me – I would probably stop doing all of the above.

    Secondly, Israel has been mass murdering the Palestinians for over 60 years – long before any rockets were fired and long before Hamas was even in existence. So this is nothing but a fallacy designed to deflect the reality of the situation and mislead others. Finally, Israel’s indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry in civilian areas is a war crime, not self defense.

    3) “This is Hamas’s fault, they use human shields. Israel doesn’t target civilians!”

    A: Excuse me, when you launch an unbridled, indiscriminate attack from warships, fighter jets, tanks, artillery and helicopters on a CIVILIAN AREA – what do you expect to find there – breakdancing hobbits? When you attack civilian areas, you kill civilians. It’s not Advanced Chinese Mathematics.

    Gaza is the most densley populated place on earth. It’s an open air prison. So when Israel fires into these areas it is going to kill and maim people every time.

    Secondly, according to the Israeli Human Rights group, Beit Selem which tracks both Israel and Palestinian deaths, dozens of children as young as 4 years old were killed with gunshot wounds to the HEAD AND CHEST. Not to mention the videos coming through showing snipers killing rescuers. Bombing ambulances and hospitals also has to be the most cowardly thing a military could do. So I’m afraid this “doesn’t target civilians” statement doesn’t hold up the facts.

    4) “Israel is the most moral and humane army in the world. Who else calls/texts people and drops leaflets warning them to evacuate before a pending attack?”

    I love this one.

    “Please be notified in 5 minutes, we are going to destroy your home.”

    In other words, Israel publicly announces to thousands of civilians their full intent to perpetrate yet another war crime and you’re asking us to somehow acknowledge this as some type of humane gesture? The gall.

    How about a rapist or murderer “notify” their victims by sending them text messages/leaflets that they’re coming shortly to rape and murder them – does it make it any less perverse? If this is the level of desperation Zionists and their sympathisers have stooped to, then it’s little wonder public opinion is God willing, starting to turn against them.

    As for “evacuating”…

    Have you seen a map of Gaza? If so, could you please explain to me where the Palestinians are supposed to “evacuate” to? To the north and east, they are blocked by Israeli walls and military checkpoints. To the south is Egypt’s closed crossing thanks to Israel’s slave, Sissy. To the west is the Mediterranean Sea. So what do they do, swim for it and hope they can make it to Cyprus or Turkey before Israel “defends itself” again and machine guns them all in the water?

    Go to a UN shelter? Wait, they tried that already TWICE – once in Qana, Lebanon and once in Gaza a few years ago and Israel “defended itself” by bombing the shelters massacring a total of 352 civilians. Add to this, Israel’s naval and air forces who have killed thousands of people are constantly patrolling the areas. They are surrounded from every imaginable direction and you sit from the comfort of your sofa sipping $8 coffee then froth at the mouth demanding they evacuate.

    Have a nice day.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      August 2, 2014, 7:42 am

      Thank you for extremely valid points. I wish the US media would challenge the liars when they bring up these lame justifications. If these were some British journalists we would have seen that happen.

      It is even more disgusting to see the zio slaves in congress and pundits come and spew the same excuses, in almost robotic fashion.

  10. Roberto
    Roberto
    August 1, 2014, 8:14 pm

    Palestinians are like the Na’vi of the movie Avatar, fighting against a brutal invasion.

  11. ahmed
    ahmed
    August 1, 2014, 8:27 pm

    Hi, it would be useful if you could you cite your sources for the 6:30 am time for the clashes, in order to rebut NYT and others who are following the Israeli account that the clashes and capture took place after the cease-fire. Though for a change, Hamas’ version is higher in the story than usual.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-conflict.html

    • JaapBo
      JaapBo
      August 2, 2014, 2:27 am

      Please Dan Cohen, substantiate the 90 min BEFORE claim. Is there any evidence Israel claimed capture bofore 7 am????

  12. michelle
    michelle
    August 1, 2014, 10:17 pm

    .
    Israel is unhappy they didn’t have the chance to kill their ‘soldier’ (thug)
    how many Palestine defenders has Israel captured
    .
    the world still doesn’t seem to understand
    the media and world leaders are still painting false pictures
    .
    it’s too bad the Palestine people don’t/didn’t post
    ‘a day in the life’ type clips
    or ‘neighbors from he!!’ clips
    that show how badly the Israel people/police treat the Palestine people everyday
    (kind of like the real life tv programs ‘what would you do’
    to help people better understand why
    there is an urgent need for enough to be enough
    esp. since the world/ media /leaders only seem to notice
    when there are bombs going toward Israel
    .
    as the world leaders/media ‘defend’ Israel by lies and arms
    i hope they understand that the eyes of the people are opening
    and we will all look at their actions knowing the truth
    they will fail and they might also ruin Israel and us the people of the world
    .
    interesting that the Arab people have no problem with the lies being told
    about not only the Palestine people not only the Hamas people but all Arabs
    to these liars you are all dogs
    when next they come after you (and they will) remember this moment
    when you chose wrong over right
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  13. Shingo
    Shingo
    August 1, 2014, 10:26 pm

    A group of at least 70 Palestinian civilians, dozens of whom have foreign passports, attempted to flee to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, only to find it closed and deserted. Unable to cross into and Egypt or return to Gaza, the group is currently trapped in between.

    The legacy of Egypt’s democracy just keeps snowballing.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      August 2, 2014, 4:44 am

      Shingo

      After Sisi murdered 1000s of the opposition the Sisi dictator could do anything, including working with israel.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 2, 2014, 6:57 pm

        After Sisi murdered 1000s of the opposition the Sisi dictator could do anything, including working with israel.

        What do you mean could? He’s already acting as a contractor for Israel and Saudi Arabia.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        August 3, 2014, 3:39 am

        Shingo

        I meant that aslong as the MB is either killed or jailed Sisi would not face too much opposition from his workings with israel.

  14. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 1, 2014, 10:37 pm

    The human animals have now hit the Islamic University of Gaza.

    What a malicious assault of an already decimated city. What evil dwells in the minds of these murderers, as they keep sending precision bombs into everything that stand up and houses civilians. The so called pro zionist pundits who keep cropping up on CNN and other stations, are all singing the same song, praising Israel for what it is doing, while ignoring the fact that the UN has condemned this massacre and that it is breaking international laws. I am sick of hearing the lies, justifications, and the constant whining about rockets, when the rockets have only kill 3 Israelis so far, and the real victims the Palestinians have lost 1600 people, and thousands are injured by deadly precision bombs, 500 pound bombs, and other deadly weapons, that makes those home made rockets look like child’s play.
    What kind of logic is this? We are supposed to believe that aggressor is “careful” when it sends their deadly missiles into children, and the casualties mount into high numbers? Enough of the stupid statements of Israel being careful, we know better.
    We have heard enough of blood thirsty statements from the zionist leaders, and their deadly actions show, it is not simply words, but they are carrying out their death threats too.

    If it is turns out that Hamas did not capture the IDF soldier, would Obama, and all those zio supporters apologize to those they now blame, and would Israel be condemned for it aggressive reactions, like they did when the 3 kids were killed?
    That turned out to be a lie too.
    Right now on CNN Lanny Davis, Bobby Gosht and some unknown military guy are all showing Israel the love and singing kumbaya.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      August 2, 2014, 1:34 am

      If you’re in the army, besides being killed, getting captured is one of the dangers a soldier faces. The IDF feels no need to capture a Hamas fighter, just kill them. Besides, they have superior weapons and plenty of funds, thanks to the rich uncle across the pond, and what could they hope to achieve with a captured fighter? To get Hamas to return the 1000s of israeli citizens they’ve (not) captured?
      To get Hamas to stop sending the millions of bottle rockets that have killed, maimed and damaged the infrastructures of Lod, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv, Sderot and Hadera?
      To get Hamas to stop shooting bottle rockets and destroying police departments, hospitals, clinics.
      To get Hamas to stop killing ambulance crews, doctors, nurses, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents and entire families? (sarcasm)

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      August 2, 2014, 4:45 am

      Kay24

      Some footage
      http://presstv.com/detail/2014/08/02/373697/israel-bombs-gaza-university/
      Is there anything they havent bombed yet?

  15. RobertB
    RobertB
    August 1, 2014, 11:00 pm

    Ole Obama gets up there and makes a little AIPAC speech…just wondering which zionist mole wrote that “zionist narrative” for Obama…!

    What a damn disgrace … the US is NOT on the side of the oppressed… where thousands of Palestinian civilians…infants, children, women…are all under Apartheid Israel brutal killings….murder… massive bombs … all possibly made by American made weapons … all given “free” to Israel’s IDF killers.

    Obama & his Apartheid Israel/AIPAC crew…Just watching from the sidelines…watching the carnage…the slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians….and nothing is done to stop it…nothing!

    The US is on the side of Apartheid Israel … a terrorist state…who has committed massacres, genocide and war crimes! Over and over again and again!

    And they re-supply the IDF killers with free American made weapons…to continue the genocide of the people of Gaza….

    The buffoons in the state dept. are AIPAC/Israel’s servants! They are all shackled, muffled… and in a deep state of paralysis!

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      August 2, 2014, 7:44 am

      Hard to imagine that the world greatest superpower is on it’s knees when it comes to Israel.

  16. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    August 1, 2014, 11:38 pm

    Believing that the ceasefire would begin at 8 am, Rafah civilians sought to take advantage of the humanitarian ceasefire to gather possessions, or see what happened to their homes. That’s when Hamas attacked and kidnapped the IDF officer.
    The civilians of Rafah, hit in the bombardment, are truly the victims of Hamas. They trusted the group’s declaration of a ceasefire, took to the streets, and got caught up in the fighting which was started by Hamas.

    Human animals, Kay24?
    Sounds like you’re trying to dehumanize the Jews.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      August 2, 2014, 7:11 pm

      That’s when Hamas attacked and kidnapped the IDF officer.

      Acccording to Israel BS propaganda. I just heard an interview with Meshaal and he pointed out that Hams made clear that they would not agree to a ceasefire that allowed Israel to continue operations inside Gaza, like destroying tunnels. Makes perfect sense. After all, if there were Hamas troops in Southern Israel at the time of the ceasefire, Israel would certainly have attacked them.

      The civilians of Rafah, hit in the bombardment, are truly the victims of Hamas.

      That would mean the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto where the victims of the Jews.

      Sounds like you’re trying to dehumanize the Jews.

      No need to. Israel have already demonstrated they are devoid of humanity.

  17. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    August 2, 2014, 1:20 am

    You know what is really sick? Obama used the word ‘barbaric’ to describe the alleged capture of a soldier. A soldier captured by the opposing side during a time of conflict. Nothing could be more normal in war. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall him using anything like that harsh word to describe the killing of over 300+ children by Israel. It really tells you where his heart lies.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      August 2, 2014, 7:47 am

      I agree, killing 1600 Palestinians, mostly civilians, by Israeli, using weapons and ammo we give them, is really the most “barbaric” act. It makes the missing soldier, who no one really knows exactly what happened, NOTHING.

  18. piotr
    piotr
    August 2, 2014, 2:10 am

    The composite version of the events is that a soldier was captured and for the second time during this campaign IDF executed “Hannibal directive”, obliterating the captor, the captives and the population in the vicinity. British media at least are inclined to believe that, Hamas said that with some hedging: clearly, they cannot know for sure, and IDF did not deny.

    Apart from legality and humanity, this is truly weird. There is no “everybody would do the same” about it. The rationality of Israeli leadership may be seriously doubted.

  19. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 2, 2014, 3:55 am

    For those that support Sisi
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4463578,00.html
    But you will of course deny egypt works with netanyahu on Gaza.

  20. Taxi
    Taxi
    August 2, 2014, 4:03 am

    I just watched an hour long debate over Gaza between two Egyptians on Aljazeera Arabic TV. They were often at each others’ throat with program hostess unable to get a word in edgeways or stop the rising tempers.

    The gist of the debate:
    Young Egyptian guest: we need to rebuild Egypt before we can get involved in intractable conflicts.
    Older Egyptian guest: we need to protest en mass on the streets and demand Sisi help the Gazans even if it means dumping the Camp David Accords.

    The hostess kept asking both guests if a rapprochement between Hamas and Sisi was to Egypt’s advantage – and finally, after going round and round in heated circles, both guests answered a ‘yes’ and both said that it would need to happen organically and not because there’s a crisis in Gaza. This was about the only thing that both Egyptians agreed on.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      August 2, 2014, 6:42 pm

      Young Egyptian guest: we need to rebuild Egypt before we can get involved in intractable conflicts.

      In other words, never. Egypt is an economic black hole and the worst days are ahead it. It’s having to buy gas from Israel, which will be at full market prices, not the discounted price they sold it to Israel under Camp David. The population is unskilled, uneducated and largely illiterate. It has no natural resources and tourism is going to die a painful death as the country becomes even more unlivable.

      It’s only choice will be to become a slave state to the Saudis. Maybe they can sell the pyramids and the Suez to the them to buy food for a decade.

      The hostess kept asking both guests if a rapprochement between Hamas and Sisi was to Egypt’s advantage – and finally, after going round and round in heated circles, both guests answered a ‘yes’ and both said that it would need to happen organically and not because there’s a crisis in Gaza.

      Hot air being spouted by clueless hot heads with no influence. El Sisi is a corrupt, murderous, tyrannical, ideological dictator in the pocket of Saudi Arabia. He’s scared sh*tless of the Muslim Brotherhood, and scared sh*tless of upsetting the Saudis and Israel.

      He’ll continue fellating Saudi Arabia and Israel.

  21. Taxi
    Taxi
    August 2, 2014, 5:09 am

    Why Israel’s blockade of Gaza was a mistake:

    [Hamas in 2007]… the organization sent messages to Israel via official representatives and tradesmen from Gaza. These people conveyed the message that if Israel would open the border crossings, Hamas would stop all terrorist acts against Israel.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/israel-gaza-strip-blockade-policy-hamas-weapons-civilians.html

  22. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 2, 2014, 7:03 am
  23. Xpat
    Xpat
    August 2, 2014, 7:41 am

    As a former Israeli who served in the military, my perspective is a little different.
    It has been widely reported that the bombing of Rafah was the implementation of the “Hannibal doctrine.” This calls for bombing the site of a kidnapping of an Israeli soldier to prevent his removal to another location. But the kicker is the final line, “even at the risk of killing the soldier.” I know the most wonderful army in the world most likely copied this from other armies, but that’s not the story Israeli boys are told. We were promised that every soldier was special and would be brought back from captivity. Now, it appears, that once you are taken captive, you become a liability. For the Israeli authorities, better a dead soldier than a POW.
    What a monstrous betrayal of Israel’s young men by their own parents and leaders.

  24. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 2, 2014, 7:43 am

    A Palestinian minister in Ramallah told Al-Monitor on the evening of July 31, “The humanitarian truce was announced to pave the way for the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to look into a permanent truce in Gaza and into an amended version of the Egyptian initiative, following Saudi and US interventions to convince Cairo to accept the amendments approved by all parties. I am expecting an official announcement of a truce at the beginning of next week.”

    This announcement came after both sides publicly hardened their positions ahead of the cease-fire announcement. The news conference held by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 28 seemed to shatter all hopes of reaching an immediate truce, as he declared that the army still has long days ahead of it as military operations against Hamas in Gaza continue.

    The cease-fire announcement also followed the remarks of al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Deif, who said in a July 29 statement aired on Al-Aqsa TV station that there would be no truce without the lifting of the siege on Gaza.

    The cease-fire negotiations had reached a deadlock because of the divergent and uncompromising positions of the two parties. In a telephone interview with Al-Monitor, a Hamas official said, “Hamas has announced that lifting the blockade on Gaza must be concurrent with any truce with Israel, while the Egyptian initiative said that the conditions of the resistance will be met after the truce, whereby a cease-fire is immediately declared followed by a discussion on the outstanding issues.”
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/gaza-truce-israel-violent-clashes-rafah.html

    • Walid
      Walid
      August 2, 2014, 1:15 pm

      Gracie, all talk about going to Cairo to discuss a truce is absurd because Israel refuses to sit face to face with Hamas, The US doesn’t want anyone from Hamas anywhere close to where the negotiations are taking place and the Egyptians are refusing to let in anyone from Hamas come to Egypt.

      Under these conditions, with no one from Hamas negotiating anything, what’s to expect in Cairo?

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        August 2, 2014, 4:49 pm

        Gracie, all talk about going to Cairo to discuss a truce is absurd because Israel refuses to sit face to face with Hamas, The US doesn’t want anyone from Hamas anywhere close to where the negotiations are taking place and the Egyptians are refusing to let in anyone from Hamas come to Egypt.

        Actually, they’re not even allowing anyone from the PA take part either. What a farce!!

  25. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 2, 2014, 7:51 am

    Last night Dermer made an appearance on CNN and looked sad that the world is now accusing them of “genocide” he seems quite hurt about it.

    It is the truth and what the world sees that makes them come to that conclusion.
    Dermer must be disappointed the Israeli lies are being believed.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      August 2, 2014, 8:05 am

      Congress dutifully passes resolution to pay millions for defense system that is desperately needed by our 51st state, after all it keeps making enemies like a candy factory, millions an hour, and we have to pay so that they can keep “defending” itself.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      August 2, 2014, 8:09 am

      Seems the UN won’t term what’s going on Gaza “genocide.” Maybe because 22% of direct funding of the UN comes from USA? I think the next biggest chunk comes from Japan. As with our Aipac controlled Congress, always follow the donor cash.

  26. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 2, 2014, 8:11 am

    The harrowing effects of the broken Gaza ceasefire…..

  27. Peace2All
    Peace2All
    August 2, 2014, 9:01 am

    Hamas stands against oppressor alone without any help from fellow muslim leaders who have sold their soul to the devil.

  28. globalconsciousness
    globalconsciousness
    August 2, 2014, 9:05 am

    Hello, I have been lurking for a long time and finally decided to join the fray..
    Isn’t this article about a group of women and children trapped outside the border crossing at Rafah – what has become of them? Has there been any update?
    Worried sick about them…has anyone spread the word to the media, etc, as she requested?

  29. just
    just
    August 2, 2014, 9:32 am

    Hi globalconsciousness — I wish I had an answer for you.

    • globalconsciousness
      globalconsciousness
      August 2, 2014, 10:42 am

      Thanks just
      Just found out via Globalvoicesonling.org and joeyayoub and dancohen3000 on twitter that Nalan Al-Sarraj and the group of now 120 civilians have managed to enter Egypt through the Rafah border crossing – they will be sleeping at the gate tonight – now sure what their fate will be but at least they are safer than in Gaza.
      One of her messages via twitter (@NalanSarraj) asks us to “find our humanity and stop Israel”
      Perhaps we should all try to find ways to spread that message instead…

  30. Schatterjee
    Schatterjee
    August 2, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Racism among the Israeli population is either stronger than ever, or simply more visible today thanks to social media and the proliferation of online means of expression. Some Israelis are openly thrilled that Gaza is being leveled. A Danish reporter came upon a cheery group of people who gathered outdoors in the southern Israeli town of Sderot with folding chairs and popcorn to watch the air war, clapping each time a bomb dropped on Gaza. Other Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to celebrate the killing of Gaza’s children. They were videotaped singing a song whose words included, “In Gaza there’s no studying; No children are left there,” and calling for violence against two of the Israeli Knesset’s Arab members. The verbal vitriol is also flowing strongly. Early on in Israel’s operation, writer David Sheen compiled a list of what he called “Terrifying Tweets of Pre-Army Israeli Teens,” which included such gems as “Death to these fucking Arabs” and “We wage war so this will be our land without any Arabs.”

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