Three Palestinian men killed in separate West Bank protests, one outside a Jewish settlement

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West Bank

Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian man in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported that a Palestinian man died Saturday, at dawn, of a serious injury suffered Friday, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at local protesters in the city. The slain Palestinian, Nader Mohammad Edrees, 40, was shot by a live round to the heart. The sources said the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs and concussion grenades at scores of protesters in the Bab az-Zaweya area, in the center of the city, causing dozens of injuries, including 25 shot and injured by rounds of live ammunition. Doctors at the al-Mezan Medical Center in Hebron, performed a heart surgery in an attempt to save the live of Edrees, and administered 40 units of blood, but he succumbed to his serious wounds around 2 after midnight. Prayers and the burial ceremony will be held Saturday, in Hebron.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian during protest near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces on Friday afternoon during clashes at Jabal al-Tawil east of el-Bireh near Ramallah, following a protest close to the nearby Jewish settlement of Psagot. Medical sources told Ma‘an that Ahmad Mohammad al-Qatari of al-Am‘ari refugee camp was shot in the chest, before being taken to the Palestine Medical Complex where he was pronounced dead. Masked gunmen had opened fire at Psagot settlement earlier, without any injuries being reported. An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Al-Qatari was at least the 16th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis in the West Bank in the last month, as forces have repeatedly attacked tens of thousands partaking in protests in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. Also on Friday, Israeli forces injured at least 50 Palestinians in protests across the West Bank, including 40 in Hebron alone, where hundreds marched through the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood in the city center in solidarity with Gaza. Israeli forces used live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in Safa, near Ramallah, as well as in ‘Azzun, near Qalqiliya.

Palestinian killed by army fire near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources reported Friday that a young Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli army fire near the Psagot illegitimate Israeli settlement, built on Palestinian lands belonging to residents of al-Bireh City, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The sources said Mohammad Ahmad al-Qatari, age 20, from al-Am‘ari refugee camp, was killed by an Israeli live round to the chest. The army held his body for a few hours, and later handed it over to Palestinian medics. Eyewitnesses said clashes took place near the western entrance of the town, and that the army fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs. One Palestinian was also shot by a live round in his thigh, three were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets, and dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
On Friday evening, a Palestinian child was injured in the al-Lubban ash-Sharqiyya town, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after being struck by a speeding settler’s vehicle at the main junction of the town. Medical sources said Shahad ‘Oweis, 9, suffered a moderate injury, and was moved to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

4 Palestinians injured by live fire in Qalqiliya clashes
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Four Palestinians were injured with live fire on Friday during clashes with Israeli forces in the Qalqiliya villages of ‘Azzun and Kafr Qaddum. Younis Muhammad Salah Adwan, 19, was shot in the waist in ‘Azzun and critically injured, medics said. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. In Kafr Qaddum, Asaad Shteiwi was shot in the back, Ahmad Aqel was shot in the leg, and Adulrahman Shteiwi was hit in his thigh during a weekly demonstration. The victims were taken for treatment by Red Crescent ambulances at the scene.

Child seriously injured after being struck by settler’s car in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Aug — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a child was seriously injured after being rammed by an Israeli settler’s vehicle, in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. The sources said Rosy Talab Jaber, 8 years of age, suffered a serious injury, and was moved to the Hebron Governmental Hospital.  The Raya News Agency said the child was deliberately attacked while walking near the main street of the Old City of Hebron.  There have been dozens of similar incidents in Hebron, and in different parts of the occupied West Bank, some leading to fatalities among the Palestinians, including children, and scores of similar incidents causing very serious injuries.

Settlers smash doors of Palestinian stores in Hebron’s Old City
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Aug by Saed Bannoura — A number of fanatic Israeli settlers invaded, on Wednesday at noon, the “Gold Market” area, under full Israeli security and military control, in the Old City of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, smashed and removed the doors of various stores. The settlers came from the illegal settlements of Beit Hadassah, in the center of Hebron, Ramat Yeshai in Tal Romeida Palestinian neighborhood, Abraham (Abraham) Abino that was built on the ruins of the Central Fruit and Vegetables Market in the city, and Beit Romano that was installed in a local Palestinian school, The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) said. WAFA added that the settlers attacked various stores, adjacent to Osama Bin al-Monqeth School that was illegally occupied by Israel, and was turned into a Jewish religious school. The settlers used ladders, hammers, and other equipment to smash the doors of the Palestinian stores.
Army Destroys Workshops Near Jenin — In related news, Israeli soldiers invaded Barta‘a ash-Sharqiyya village, isolated behind the Annexation Wall, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and demolished a factory that produces construction bricks, and a car repair workshop. In addition, the soldiers attacked a local reporter, identified as Baha’ Qabaha, who was documenting the attack. Eyewitnesses said at least five military vehicles and a military bulldozer invaded the village, and demolished the structures.

Settlers uproot Palestinian-owned trees near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Aug – Israeli settlers on Thursday uprooted around 50 Palestinian private-owned trees in the village of Deir Nizam, to the northwest of Ramallah, according to local sources. Witnesses told WAFA that the settlers from the illegal settlement of Halmish uprooted around 35 olive trees, in addition to 15 almond and cherry trees, owned by local residents, as a prelude to seize an 8-dunum agricultural area for settlement expansion purposes. The witnesses said the area has been subjected to repeated settlers’ attacks over the past five years, noting that no less than 500 fruitful trees have been destroyed by settlers during this period.

Israel orders several Palestinians to stop construction work on their homes near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 7 Aug – Israeli forces Thursday ordered a number of Palestinians in the town of al-Khader to the south of Bethlehem  to stop the construction work on their houses under the pretext of being ‘built without a permit’, according to a local official source. Al-Khader’s mayor, Tawfiq Salah, told WAFA that Israeli forces along with a staff from the so-called civil administration handed the land owners notices ordering them to stop the construction work on their houses under the pretext of ‘being built in areas that fall under the full Israeli control’ and that they must apply to obtain building permits. The notices gave the owners until September to straighten out their legal status or else they will be held legally accountable

Number of Palestinians held in administrative detention doubled
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Eleven Palestinians have been transferred to administrative detention by Israeli courts, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Thursday, bringing the total number of Palestinians being held in administrative detention to around 450. 268 of those being held were detained during a massive Israeli military campaign across the West Bank that began after three Israeli teenagers went missing in mid-June from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion, more than doubling the number of those being held. Although Israel identified two individuals suspected of carrying out a kidnapping and murder, it arrested more than 1,000 other Palestinians in a wide-reaching campaign of raids, detentions, and a two-week blockade on Hebron that sparked anger across the country. The arrested individuals included members of the Palestinian parliament, members of Hamas’ political wing, and ex-prisoners released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit exchange deal. Administrative detention refers to an Israeli policy of detaining Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial. [list of those newly transferred to administrative detention follows]

4 Palestinians injured in overnight Hebron clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Four Palestinian youths were injured with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron late Tuesday. The injured were taken to Hebron’s public hospital for treatment after clashes broke out following protests against the killing of Muhammad Nayif Jabais, the driver of a digger who ran over and killed an Israeli civilian in Jerusalem on Monday. In Jerusalem’s Shufat neighborhood, protesters marched in solidarity with Palestinian children killed in Gaza, holding signs reading: “Despite the wounds, Gaza won’t die” and “Gaza will win despite the siege.” Israeli forces dispersed the protest, firing tear gas and Skunk water at demonstrators.

Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians overnight
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinians overnight, Palestinian security sources and an Israeli army spokeswoman said Wednesday. Security sources said Israeli forces raided Hebron and detained Abdullah Ahmad Suleiman Abu Snineh and Taleb Ahmad al-Jamal after ransacking their houses. Israeli soldiers also detained ex-prisoner and Hamas leader Hashem Taim al-Rujub in the Hebron-area town of Dura, the sources said. Meanwhile, a local popular committee spokesman said Israeli troops raided Beit Ummar and detained 25-year-old Ibrahim Ahmad Mustafa Awad and 28-year-old Safwat Samir Ayish Ekhlil. The spokesman, Muhammad Awad, added that Israeli forces entered houses and delivered notices for several other Palestinians to appear for interrogation at Israeli intelligence centers.

How money vanishes into thin air in a West Bank raid
972blog 6 Aug by Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din — One of the issues the Israeli army hardly ever discusses is looting. In the IDF’s early days, it was considered to be a grave felony. Ben-Gurion dismissed a valued officer, Uri Ben Ari, following the 1956 Sinai War, after the colonel’s driver – not the colonel himself – was caught with a looted sack of sugar. In another case during the same war, an officer by the name of Aryeh Biro threatened to shoot a fellow officer on the spot after Biro caught him looting. Journalist Nahum Barnea once documented a paratrooper captain during the First Lebanon War who ordered his soldiers to turn over their loot, lest he severely punish them. He then burned the booty before their eyes. But that was a long time ago, when the IDF still fought regular armies, rather than an occupied population. Along the years of occupation there were quite a few reports of looting, and the IDF’s latest large operation in the West Bank, Operation Brother’s Keeper, supplied Yesh Din with a series of such reports. Yesh Din recently reported a case of looting from ‘Aqraba; here is a story from Tuqu‘.

Gaza   (see also articles under Analysis / Opinion at the end of this newslist)

Renewed Israeli bombardment kills 5 in Gaza Saturday morning
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Aug – Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early Saturday left at least five Palestinians dead and dozens injured, as a series of strikes overnight hit homes, mosques, and a sports club on the second day after the end of a 72-hour ceasefire. The strikes, which come on the 33rd day of a massive Israeli assault that has left more than 1,900 Palestinians dead and more than 9,837 injured, come as negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli delegations stalled, despite reports Friday that both sides were close to an agreement. Egypt, which is mediating between Israelis and Palestinians, insisted negotiations were making progress and urged a new truce but Israel recalled its delegation and warned it would not negotiate under fire.  The head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said they were committed to achieving a truce. “We told the Egyptians (mediators) we are sitting here to achieve a final agreement that restores the rights” of Palestinians, Azzam al-Ahmed told reporters. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group had rejected another 72-hour truce, accusing Israel of stalling…
The strike on the mosque brought the number of mosques destroyed in the assault to 63 completely destroyed and more than 150 damaged, in addition to two churches that have sustained damage…
Gaza medical sources said two Palestinian men were killed in on an airstrike on a motorcycle in al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip. Three men were also killed and a number injured in an airstrike on al-Nuseirat Mosque, while another man seriously injured on Saturday morning by an Israeli airstrike on a field east of Khan Younis.

Israel and Hamas back at war as talks on new ceasefire remain deadlocked
Guardian 8 Aug by Jason Burke in Gaza City, Patrick Kingsley in Cairo and agencies — Rockets from Gaza answered with air strikes as both sides remain dug in over conditions for a lasting truce — The Israeli military has said it struck more than 30 targets through Friday night and into Saturday morning in the Gaza Strip as militant rocket fire continued towards Israel. The renewed violence followed the collapse of a three-day truce aimed at bringing an end to the deadliest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007. Gaza militants resumed their rocket attacks on Friday against Israel, drawing a wave of retaliatory air strikes that killed at least five Palestinians. The fighting shattered a brief calm in the month-long war and dealt a blow to Egyptian-led efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire. Both the rocket fire from Gaza and the Israel air strikes on Gaza have been of significantly lower intensity than at the height of the conflict, suggesting a mutual desire to avoid immediate escalation. The rockets being fired from Gaza were all short range, targeting towns close to Gaza. Israel’s military said it had hit 33 “terrorist targets” since midnight. These included several mosques and houses across the length of Gaza…
Sami al-Zohri, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told the Guardian that Hamas was “open to all options”. “We want a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The problems are on the Israeli side. They have rejected all our demands,” al-Zohri said. He added that there had been no discussions with the Egyptians over opening the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt, where movement has been tightly restricted in recent years…
Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah, Hamas’s long-term rival, blamed the breakdown of negotiations on Israel, whose delegation he said had never given “specific and clear answers” to their demands, and who only communicated with the Palestinians through mediators in Egyptian intelligence. However the Egyptian foreign ministry later released a statement saying that “there was agreement on the majority of points but there remain a few very limited issues without a final decision”. The Palestinian delegation in Cairo have demanded an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza must be lifted and about 100 prisoners held by Israel freed to secure a further truce. Israel insists that Hamas must disarm, which officials from the Palestinian group said was “inconceivable”.

3 more killed in Gaza despite unofficial ceasefire
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Israeli forces launched an airstrike on al-Qarara in the Gaza Strip that killed three Palestinians on Friday afternoon in the middle of an “unofficial” ceasefire that was due to last until 8 p.m. The deaths brought the total Palestinian death toll in the month-long assault to 1,898 with more than 9,825 injured. Sources close to talks in Egypt had told Ma‘an earlier Friday that an unofficial cessation to hostilities would be implemented until 8 p.m. as mediators attempt to reach an agreement between Palestinian and Israeli delegations. Well placed sources in Cairo said that Palestinian and Israeli delegations had “agreed to almost all main points that need a solution” through indirect talks. According to the sources, only “limited” disagreements remain and an agreement had been reached “on the majority of the subjects concerning the Palestinians.” The sources called for an end to military operations by both sides, but said negotiations could go on under fire until an agreement is reached.
Despite the apparently unofficial agreement, Israeli forces launched an airstrike on the village of al-Qarara Friday evening north of Khan Younis, killing Suleiman Abu Haddaf, Ahmad Abu Haddaf, and Mahmoud Abu Haddaf.  The deaths bring the total number of dead on Friday to five and more than 20 injured, as Israeli warplanes struck multiple targets across the Gaza Strip after a 72-hour ceasefire agreement ended at 8 a.m. Just before the announcement of the unofficial ceasefire, Ahmad Naim Okal, 22, was killed in an airstrike. Okal was killed during an Israeli air raid on the area of Musabbah in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Earlier, Israeli warplanes also launched three strikes on the home of the Suleiman family in Beit Lahiya, and three injured people were taken to the Kamal Adwan Hospital.

Child killed as Israel resumes airstrikes across Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Israeli warplanes struck multiple targets across the Gaza Strip on Friday after a 72-hour ceasefire agreement ended at 8 a.m, killing a child and injuring 15 Palestinians. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said Ibrahim Zuheir al-Dawawseh, 10, was killed and five others injured in an Israeli strike on a mosque in the Sheikh al-Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City. Six others were injured across Gaza as Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza City, northern Gaza, Rafah, and Jabaliya. There were also reports of shelling in northern Gaza by Israeli naval forces.
Israeli army officials confirmed that the military was renewing airstrikes on Gaza after rocket fire by fighters in the besieged enclave. Earlier, a ceasefire agreement ended after Palestinian factions said Israel was refusing their demands. A Palestinian official said Hamas and Islamic Jihad had agreed a ceasefire but then there was an alteration in wording of an agreement regarding the Israeli blockade on Gaza. A senior Palestinian official accused Israel of procrastinating, warning it could lead to a resumption of the fighting when the deadline runs out. Shortly after the ceasefire broke down, militants in Gaza fired at least 18 rockets at southern Israel, with Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee, and Fatah’s al-Asifah military wing claiming responsibility.

Gaza rocket hits Sderot home
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — The Israeli military on Friday said that a rocket from Gaza hit a home in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The military said in a statement that 45 rockets had been fired as of 3:45 p.m.

Gazans return in fear to UN schools as conflict erupts anew
GAZA CITY (AFP) 8 Aug — Cradling his baby daughter, Saeed Masri took flight Friday from renewed Israeli bombardment of Gaza with little faith that even a UN facility can protect his family. Three hours after a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended, a missile hit the roof of a building opposite the apartment in Jabaliya where he was staying with relatives after his own neighbourhood was shelled. “We were in Beit Hanun and were there during the war and the shelling, so after that I came to stay here with my cousins,” Masri said as he trudged down the street with his family in tow. It was only a small rocket fired by a drone, intended as a warning for civilians to leave, residents said. It shattered the roof of the building and left no casualties, but an ambulance was parked around the corner in case it was followed by more attacks. Masri heeded the message immediately, packing some food into plastic bags, gathering his wife and five children and setting off down the street to find safety … He planned to take shelter in a UN-run school to keep his family safe, but he had little hope it would guarantee protection. “The schools aren’t safe either, they hit the schools,” he said. At least 153 schools in Gaza, including 90 run by the UN, have been damaged by Israeli air strikes or shelling during the conflict, the UN children’s fund UNICEF says … As talks in Cairo aimed at reaching a lasting truce failed to achieve concrete results, Palestinian militants fired two rockets at southern Israel before the 72-hour ceasefire ended at 0500 GMT. Dozens more rocket attacks followed. Israel retaliated, saying it was targeting terror sites in the coastal enclave where the Islamist militant group Hamas is the de facto ruler. Palestinian emergency services said one of the strikes killed a 10-year-old boy. The rocket fire prompted Gazans who had gone home during the ceasefire to return to the hospitals and schools to which some 200,000 people had fled to before the three-day reprieve.In Beit Hanun, a steady stream of families trudged along the road to a school.

PHOTOS: Gaza’s half-million internally displaced
Activestills 6 Aug — Photos by: Basel Yazouri and Anne Paq/ Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler — …Gaza’s half-million displaced residents are one of the most obvious refutations of the the accusation that Hamas uses “human shields.” The Guardian has reported “large numbers of people fleeing different neighborhoods… and no evidence that Hamas had compelled them to stay.” Similarly, The Independent writes that, “Some Gazans have admitted that they were afraid of criticizing Hamas, but none have said they had been forced by the organization to stay in places of danger and become unwilling human shields.”

Man injured in Gaza assault dies in Jerusalem hospital
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — A Palestinian man injured during Israel’s assault on Gaza died on Thursday in a Jerusalem hospital. Muhammad Jumaa al-Najjar, 32, arrived at al-Maqasid Hospital in Jerusalem on Wednesday with “critical injuries,” a hospital official said. Dr. Anwar Barud told Ma‘an that al-Najjar arrived with fractures in his lower limbs and chest bones and was only partially conscious. The hospital is preparing to transfer the body back to Gaza.

Gaza war victims treated in East Jerusalem hospitals
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 Aug by Majeda El-Batsh —  Doctors and aid agencies are trying to capitalise on a truce in Gaza to evacuate more wounded Palestinians for life-saving medical treatment in east Jerusalem, Israel and Jordan. More than 9,500 Palestinians were wounded during four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, according to Gaza health officials. Ninety of some of the most serious cases have been evacuated through the Erez border crossing since the conflict began, according to Guy Inbar, spokesman for COGAT which is part of the Israeli defence ministry. He said the wounded had been sent to Israel and Jordan from an Israeli field hospital at Erez. Medics and the Red Crescent told AFP that two patients were sent to the Arab Israeli town of Nazareth and dozens of others to three hospitals in east Jerusalem. Four-year-old Shayma al-Masri has been a patient at St Joseph’s in east Jerusalem for two weeks. She is still exhausted and still in pain. Her spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestines have all been damaged by shrapnel that pierced her small chest and tore through her body, before exiting from her side.Her only companion from Gaza is her aunt. But she knows where her dead family are. “My mother, brother and sister went up to the sun, they will return to me when the clouds clear,” she says … The family were hit as they fled in terror from an attack on their neighbourhood during which their home was bombed. Her mother Sahar, 17-year-old sister Asil and brother Mohammed, 15, were killed instantly. Her father is being treated separately at hospital in Gaza. She cries out, calling for him…
Shayma’s room is full of Palestinians from east Jerusalem who have come to show their solidarity with Gaza by visiting the wounded. During the feast of Eid al-Fitr which ended the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, they bought food, sweets and new clothes, as well as dolls and games for the children.  Easing the pressure “We are trying to use the 72-hour ceasefire to get more cases from Gaza to ease the pressure there,” says Dr Maher Deeb, head of St Joesph’s hospital. His hospital is treating 25 Gazans evacuated by aid agencies in coordination with Israel, which has also set up a medical unit at Erez. “We’re working round the clock. Fifty percent of the cases are critical. Even the stable cases are complicated and need long-term treatment,” Deeb tells AFP.

7 injured Palestinians arrive in Egypt
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Seven Palestinians who were injured during the Israeli offensive arrived at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing on Thursday, security sources said. Security sources at the Rafah crossing told Ma‘an that seven Palestinians crossed into Egypt and were taken to Egyptian hospitals in ambulances on Thursday. The Egyptian authorities also allowed 40 tons of Emirati aid supplies, including clothes and food, into the Gaza Strip through the same crossing.

Mounting evidence of deliberate attacks on Gaza health workers by Israeli army
Amnesty International 7 Aug — An immediate investigation is needed into mounting evidence that the Israel Defense Forces launched apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza, which have left six medics dead, said Amnesty International as it released disturbing testimonies from doctors, nurses, and ambulance personnel working in the area. “The harrowing descriptions by ambulance drivers and other medics of the utterly impossible situation in which they have to work, with bombs and bullets killing or injuring their colleagues as they try to save lives, paint a grim reality of life in Gaza,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. “Even more alarming is the mounting evidence that the Israeli army has targeted health facilities or professionals. Such attacks are absolutely prohibited by international law and would amount to war crimes. They only add to the already compelling argument that the situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court.” Hospitals, doctors and ambulance staff, including those trying to evacuate people injured in Israeli attacks, have come under increased fire since 17 July. Some medical teams have even been prevented from reaching critical areas altogether, leaving hundreds of injured civilians without access to life-saving help and entire families without assistance in removing the bodies of their loved ones. Jaber Khalil Abu Rumileh, who supervises ambulance services in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital, told Amnesty International of a shelling attack on the medical facility on 21 July that lasted for half an hour. “It was 3pm and I was working in the emergency unit. I heard bombing that shook the hospital. It was a shelling that had hit the fourth floor, the pregnancy and caesarean unit. Then there were a few more hits. People were terrified, patients ran out, doctors could not enter to help the injured and remove the dead. Then the third floor was hit and four people were killed. I saw one women come running with the child she just gave birth to. Some women gave birth during the shelling.”

Israeli forces open fire at Gazans in Shuja‘iyya park
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Israeli forces opened fire at Gaza municipality staff while they were inspecting a destroyed park east of Shuja‘iyya, the workers said on Wednesday. The attack came on the second day of a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants and took place in the al-Qubba area of the neighborhood, which witnessed some of the most intensive Israeli bombardment over the course of the four-week Israeli assault. An official from the Gaza municipality told Ma‘an that “Israeli forces opened fire early Wednesday at the municipality staff that was checking the park of al-Qubba in eastern al-Shujaiyya,” adding that no injuries were reported. “They survived the gunfire by a miracle,” the official added.

10 bodies found in rubble as life slowly returns to Gaza streets
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — 10 bodies were removed from the rubble across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as locals took advantage of the second day of calm in the 72-hour ceasefire to assess the damage caused by more than a month of relentless Israeli assault. Medical sources said that 10 bodies were found as medical teams were able to gain access to ruins previously off-limits by Israel, which imposed a “buffer zone” over 44 percent of the Gaza Strip during the assault. Previously the zone encompassed 17 percent of the Strip. Sources at the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital al-Shifa said that five of the bodies were pulled out from under the rubble of homes in the Abu Halawa area of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and had yet to be identified…
The United Nations’ children protection agency UNICEF said on Tuesday that nearly 400,000 children were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, stressing that although they were committed to help the situation appeared “extraordinarily bleak.”
“If you were seven years old, you would have lived two previous wars and the latest escalation is worse than the 2008-2009 and 2012 aggression,” head of the Gaza field office Pernille Ironside said in a press conference. “How do we expect parents and caregivers to care for their children and to raise them in a positive and nurturing way when they themselves are barely functioning as humans? People have lost entire strands of their family in one blow,” she added in statements made to the UN in Geneva. “How can a society cope with this? This is a deep, deep, deep wound.”…
Despite the challenges ahead, most Gazans on Wednesday were focused on taking advantage of the respite from the violence and returning to normal life, at least for now. Thousands of the 485,000 people mandated to evacuate from their homes by Israel during its ground assault continued to stream home for a second day, although with PLO figures indicating that nearly 6,000 structures have been completely demolished and 32,150 homes damaged, many were returning to find devastation in place of their former lives…
In central Gaza City, meanwhile, shops re-opened their doors, markets flooded with shoppers, and taxis returned to the streets. Although shopkeepers had to stay shut during the usually busy Eid al-Fitr shopping season in mid-July, many opened again as shoppers swarmed local markets to stock up ahead of an uncertain future following the end of the ceasefire Friday morning.

Israeli assault caused $150 million damage to Gaza food industry
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — The Israeli offensive on Gaza has caused “huge losses” for the already-struggling food industry in the coastal enclave, a national industry association said Thursday. A delegation of the Palestinian Food Industries Union that visited factories that sustained damage in the month-long military assault estimated that around $150 million worth of damage had been caused, with many factories completely or partially destroyed … Al-Safadi said that “Israel deliberately targeted the infrastructure of the national economy in order to turn us into a consuming society instead of a productive one.” “They want to increase unemployment and destroy job opportunities,” he added, noting that 12,000 employees worked in the factories that had been hit. Al-Safadi added that the damaged and destroyed factories will need over a year to be re-built, increasing unemployment for the foreseeable future.

Israel reduces Gaza imports
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israel has reduced the amount of goods allowed to be shipped into the Gaza Strip for two days in a row, a Palestinian official said Monday. Raed Fattouh, an official responsible for the entry of goods into Gaza, told Ma’an that Israel only allowed 150 truckloads of goods into the Strip via Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday and Monday, down from the usual 350-450. Only a limited quantity of diesel fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant has been allowed, and only a small amount of gasoline, Fattouh added.

Gaza electricity company has fixed 6 main lines, working to repair more
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)  7 Aug — The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company has repaired six main lines supplying electricity across the Gaza Strip and is poised to fix several others, the company said on Thursday. The announcement comes as electricity availability in the besieged coastal enclave has hit two hours a day following the Israeli bombing of the region’s sole power plant as well as because of the widespread destruction of electric infrastructure over the recent 30-day assault. Company spokesman Jamal Dardasawi told Ma‘an that three main lines from Israel had resumed operation in the northern Gaza Strip as well as three other lines from Egypt in the south. Two main lines supplying Khan Younis in the south have also been connected to the Israeli grid, he added. In addition, maintenance crews are working on another line in Khan Younis as well as the only line feeding the central Gaza Strip district. One line out of three feeding Gaza City in the north has been already fixed while teams are working on another line in al-Shaaf neighborhood of the city, he added. Dardasawi said that crews would need a few days to fix internal electricity networks and main transformers which had suffered serious damage as a result of Israeli attacks. The company’s main stores, which are located in al-Shaaf neighborhood, have been targeted by Israeli attacks causing massive losses which Dardasawi predicted will cost millions of dollars to fix.

10 power generators distributed in Gaza to avoid energy ‘crisis’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — 10 new electric back-up generators have been installed across the Gaza Strip in order to avert a humanitarian crisis in the besieged coastal enclave, officials said Wednesday. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said that the generators would help ensure the provision of services in Gaza, especially in the water and health sectors, and prevent major disruptions due to lack of energy. Electricity distribution has been down to less than two hours a day across the Gaza Strip since Israel bombed the Strip’s sole power plant in on July 29, amid an assault that killed more than 1,850 Palestinians. The head of the coastal municipalities water grid and sanitation systems Mahmoud al-Qidra said the generators will avoid a “real disaster” that could have hit the Gaza Strip’s sanitation and water sectors. Al-Qidra added that the generators would be distributed evenly among all districts to operate water wells and sanitation pumps.  The company said that the generators were brought in through Kerem Shalom crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

26 Gaza detainees being held in Ashkelon prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Twenty-six Palestinians who were detained during the Israeli offensive on Gaza are being held for interrogation in Ashkelon prison, a lawyer for the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said on Friday. Dozens were released after being detained for a few days, while others were still being kept for interrogation, the lawyer said. The Israel army previously admitted that 159 Palestinians had been arrested during the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip and that they had been transferred to the Shin Bet intelligence agency for questioning. It was unclear where the remaining Palestinians were being held. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Ministry accused Israel of “withholding” crucial information on the detainees that would allow the ministry to keep track of them, including their ID numbers, locations, and conditions. Minister of Prisoner Affairs Shawqi al-Ayasa said in a statement on Wednesday that there were “growing fears that some of the prisoners have been executed.”

After 25 years to conceive first child, family wiped out by Israeli missile
IMEMC 8 Aug by Saed Bannoura — “Are you pregnant Suheila, really?” The husband asked his wife with the utmost joy and happiness. It had taken Ahmad an-Nairab, 67, and his wife Soheila 25 years of doctor visits, lab tests, and artificial insemination, until they finally had their first child, a child who brought joy and happiness to the family.  “25 years, 25 years, we will love this child more than life itself”, he said when baby Mohammad was born. As time passed, Mohammad started growing up, and went to school. The mother then gave birth to a second child, Mahmoud, and a third, Mo’men. The three children, their mother and father, became a happy joyous family, a heaven filled with children’s giggles and life, with the kids growing up loving their parents and appreciating life, and their parents loving their kids more than life itself. Every year, the family celebrated their birthdays: 13 for Mohamad, 10 for Mahmoud, and 7 for Mo’men. Now, their giggles and laughs, their vibrant and loving family has been silenced for ever. An Israeli missile struck their home, and turned the family into mutilated remains, on the 27th day of the heavy Israeli bombardment of Palestinian homes in Gaza. “This family is not just a number, they have been wiped out, their lives stolen from them, now the whole family is gone”, a relative told the Andalou News Agency.

Gazans return to what’s left of their homes and families
Haaretz 6 Aug by Amira Hass — ‘People go into every house of mourning for five minutes, shake hands, everyone lists the dead that he knows of, and then they hurry to the other houses of mourning’ — Despite the cease-fire, A. remained in her home yesterday and did not travel with her husband to the Shabura refugee camp in Rafah. She couldn’t bear the thought of the emptiness she would find there instead of the three families of relatives who had lived there in their simple asbestos dwellings until a single bomb fell on them Saturday morning. “Did you know that Fathi’s [Abu Ita] three children who were killed were geniuses? Like their father, like their uncle Yakoub, the mathematician,” she said yesterday, as she delivered a lengthy report about her relatives who were killed, her work colleague who was killed, those who were wounded, those whose houses were destroyed this time, those whose houses were destroyed for the second time, those who were buried with their bodies whole, and the children killed whose body parts had to be collected. A. heard the blast that killed her relatives, she said, and asked, “I want to understand how those soldiers are happy when they hug their own children, after they cut our children to pieces. I don’t understand how a soldier can hug his children and annihilate families. You have raised here a generation full of anger and hate. Do you think this generation will be afraid after this war? After a missile chased them in the street? This is a generation that doesn’t know what fear is.”

Palestinians returning home find Israeli troops left faeces and venomous graffiti
The Guardian 7 Aug by Harriet Sherwood in Burij — When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench. He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine. If that was not clear enough, the words “Fuck Hamas” had been carved into a concrete wall in the staircase. “Burn Gaza down” and “Good Arab = dead Arab” were engraved on a coffee table. The star of David was drawn in blue in a bedroom … Gaping holes had been blown in four ground-floor external walls, and there was damage from shelling to the top floor. There, in the living room, diagrams had been drawn on the walls, showing buildings and palm trees in the village, with figures that Owedat thought represented their distance from the border.”I have no money to fix this,” he said, claiming that his life savings of $10,000 (£6,000) were missing from his apartment … His family of 13 fled their home after seeing troops and tanks advancing at 1am on 20 July, two days into the Israeli ground invasion. Several times, during the short-lived ceasefires in the following two weeks, they attempted to return only to find Israeli troops in their home instructing them to keep away … Half an hour’s drive north, a similar picture was found at Beit Hanoun girls’ school, taken over by the IDF following the ground operation … Here too, said the school’s caretaker, Fayez, who didn’t want to give his full name, soldiers had defecated in bins and cardboard boxes, and urinated in water bottles. “You will be fucked here” and “Don’t forget it’s time for you to die” were chalked in English on blackboards.

Gaza crisis: a closer look at Israeli strikes on UNRWA schools
The Guardian 8 Aug byRaya Jalabi, Tom McCarthy & Nadja Popovich– UN-run schools acting as civilian shelters have been hit seven times during Israel’s Gaza offensive. We catalogue them in detail. — …Overview Reports from the scenes and other evidence indicate that the source of the fire in each case was Israeli, although in at least one case the Israeli military initially suggested that errant Hamas rocket fire was responsible. In multiple cases, the Israeli army said it was returning fire that had come from the vicinity of the schools. UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, said it had informed the Israeli military of the locations of the schools repeatedly, in one case 33 times. The repeated strikes on the schools drew increasingly shocked responses from the United Nations and governments around the world.

Arab foreign ministers on Gaza solidarity visit ‘soon’
AFP 6 Aug — A delegation of Arab foreign ministers, including those of Egypt and Jordan, will visit Gaza “soon” in a show of support for Palestinians, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Wednesday. The ministers will also assess reconstruction needs in the battered enclave after a nearly month-long war between Israel and Hamas, Arabi said. “An Arab ministerial delegation will go to Gaza soon in solidarity,” he told reporters. The delegation, which is expected to expand, so far includes the foreign ministers of Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco, as well as Arabi himself.

Ministry: $200 million damage to Gaza agricultural sector
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip caused $200 million worth of damage in the agricultural sector, a ministry official said Thursday. A Gaza Ministry of Agriculture representative said that the Israeli attacks targeting agricultural land caused “evident damages” throughout the sector in Gaza. Fayiz al-Sheikh Khalil told Ma‘an that the vegetation and soil sectors’ losses were $150 million dollars, while the losses of the livestock and animal production sector were $40 million. The fishing sector damages were estimated at $10 million. Khalil pointed out that these “are just the direct losses while the indirect losses will cause over $300 million” in losses.

IDF soldier: Artillery fire in Gaza is like Russian roulette
972blog 8 Aug by Idan Barir — …During my military service in the Israeli army I served in the artillery corps, and thus learned a thing or two about using shells. From the testimonies I have read and heard from the school and the marketplace bombardment, I am not sure if these were mortar or artillery shells that struck, but what’s clear from the photos and reports published by the IDF is that there was massive use of artillery fire. Artillery fire is statistical fire. It is the absolute opposite of precise sniper fire. The power of the sniper lies in the accuracy that his weapon provides him, while the power of the artillery shells being used in Gaza is based on both the extent and possibility of causing damage (impact). As someone who served as a combat soldier in the IDF I feel obligated to explain what is behind the numbers we hear about regarding the military operation in Gaza. A standard high-explosive shell weighs about 40 kg and is nothing but a large fragmentation grenade, which, at the time of explosion, is meant to kill everyone within a 50-meter radius and injure people located in an additional radius of 100 meters. It is impossible to aim the shells in an accurate manner and they are not meant to hit specific targets….

Israel’s supporters try to come to terms with the killing of children in Gaza
[with videos] New York Times 8 Aug by Robert Mackey — While the precise number of civilians killed in Israel’s monthlong bombardment of Gaza is once again the subject of a debate, outrage over the hundreds of Palestinian children killed has been expressed by partisans on both sides of the conflict. The two sides differ sharply, however, over the question of who is ultimately to blame for the Israeli strikes that killed, according to a count from Unicef, 400 children and wounded over 2,500 more. For supporters of the Palestinian cause — as well as senior United Nations officials and some foreign correspondents who observed the carnage at close range — Israel’s military bears responsibility for firing shells and missiles that took so many young lives. But many Israelis and their supporters abroad, forced to grapple with the moral implications of backing a military campaign against guerrilla fighters embedded in a densely populated area, have embraced the rationale offered by Israel’s government that Islamist militants are guilty of provoking the carnage by launching missiles from residential neighborhoods.

VIDEO: NDTV exclusive: How Hamas assembles and fires rockets
Published on Aug 5, 2014 — Minutes before the 72-hour ceasefire began, this rocket was fired from deep within a civilian zone. [Odd how they don’t use their many army bases in the spacious Strip….]

Other news

Syria war refugees allowed in Jordan, except if they’re Palestinian
Electronic Intifada 8 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — Even though they are fleeing the same violence, Jordan is discriminating in its treatment of people escaping the Syria war depending on their nationality. A report by Human Rights Watch released this week finds that Jordan’s practices of refusing entry and forcibly deporting Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria constitutes a “clear breach of its international obligations.” This is in contrast to its treatment of Syrian nationals, “upon whom Jordan has not placed any formal entry restrictions,” according to the report, titled “Not Welcome: Jordan’s Treatment of Palestinians Escaping Syria.” More than half a million Syrians have fled to Jordan since the beginning of the crisis in 2011. There were approximately 520,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria before the outbreak of the violence, “some living in refugee camps and others in Syrian towns and cities, where they enjoyed many of the same rights as Syrian citizens, including access to government services,” Human Rights Watch observes. Most Palestinians in Syria are refugees from the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine and their descendants. Israel refuses to respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land and property. Banning and deportation “Jordan has officially banned entry to Palestinians from Syria since January 2013 and has forcibly deported over 100 who managed to enter the country since mid-2012, including women and children,” Human Rights Watch states.

Send dissidents to ‘detention centers’, says Israeli columnist
Elecronic Intifada 5 Aug by Jimmy Johnson — In an article titled, “Arrest Gideon Levy and Haneen Zoabi,” Matti Golan, a columnist for the Israeli business daily Globes, has called for the establishment of camps modeled after the internment camps the United States  established in World War II. Golan wrote that Levy, a dissident Israeli journalist who writes for Haaretz; Palestinian member of the Knesset Zoabi and Amira Hass, Haaretz’s other dissenting journalist; should all be rounded up since they are “agitators.” The article is not available on the Globes English website but I have translated it in full below. It was published on 20 July, two days after Zoabi was arrested at a Haifa protest against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Soon after, she was suspended from the Knesset. Golan positively portrays the United States’ internment camps for people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast, as well as some Italians and Germans affiliated with fascist movements during World War II. However, after campaigns led by Japanese Americans, nearly fifty years later the US government paid reparations to camp survivors in recognition of their suffering. Golan’s column doesn’t appear to have a lot of traction but is part of a rising tide of extreme right-wing Israeli discourse. This trend has called for everything from returning Israeli soldiers and settlers to Gaza to outright genocide.

Israel cracks down on dissent
972mag 7 Aug by Mya Guarnieri — More than 1,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested by Israeli police during Operation Protective Edge, according to a lawyer representing a number of the detainees. While some were arrested for protesting the Israeli military incursion into Gaza, dozens were held without charge — …When the wave of arrests began earlier in July, Palestinian citizens were detained and quickly released. Some were put on house arrest, some were ordered to do community service. But as the month and Israel’s assault on Gaza has worn on, Palestinian citizens were subject to longer and longer detainments. Last week, Arshid visited a group of detainees who had been held without charge for nine days. “Each day the court is delaying their hearing,” she says, adding that hearings initially scheduled for last Sunday were pushed back to Tuesday. It’s a way of prolonging their detentions and it has a chilling effect on demonstrations against Operation Protective Edge, Arshid argues. “If people in the street know that people have been arrested for nine days, it will prevent protest.” She says that the detentions are a way to “terrorize the population” into silence. While Jewish Israeli leftists who object to the war are protected by the police when they protest, they are facing increasingly violent attacks from their countrymen.

Israel acts to head off war crimes claims
Alternative Information Center 7 Aug by Sergio Yahni — “We didn’t cooperate with the Goldstone report and in the end it disappeared from the world” — Fearful of the growing international demand that Israeli officers be tried for war crimes committed during this last offensive against the Gaza Strip, the military has ordered a comprehensive internal probe of the army’s actions during Operation Protective Edge. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has also appealed to American legislators to help Israel stave off future accusations against military and political leaders of war crimes committed during the last israeli offensive agaisnt Gaza. According to the The New York Post, during a meeting on Wednesday with members of Congress who are visiting Israel as guests of AIPAC, Netanyahu urged the American representatives to assist Israeli officials who wish to avoid trial by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The members of Congress heard the latest from the prime minister regarding the tenuous Gaza ceasefire, as well as Jerusalem’s strained relations with the Obama administration. “The prime minister asked us to work together to ensure that this strategy of going to the ICC does not succeed,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY),  to the Post. Netanyahu “wants the US to use all the tools that we have at our disposal to, number one, make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel, they were committed by Hamas. And that Israel should not be held to a double standard,” he added. According to the Israeli press the foreign ministry is considering to refuse cooperation with any international investigations into alleged Israeli war crimes during its last offensive against Gaza. Israel will claim that the UN inquiry committee is comprised of biased nations that will vote against Israel no matter what the findings.

Ecuadorian president cancels visit to Israel, Latin American countries stand against aggression on Gaza
QUITO (WAFA) 7 Aug – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa declared Wednesday night that he has canceled his visit to Israel scheduled for the second half of this year, condemning Israeli onslaught on Gaza as genocide. Correa was reported by AFP as stating: “I intended to visit Israel in the second half of this year. The scheduled visit, which included Palestine, was cancelled after these events,” he added.  Correa, who has recalled his ambassador to Israel, citing the attacks against by Palestine by the Israeli Government, condemned the killing of Palestinian civilians, particularly children and women, as ‘unjustifiable’. He also reportedly added: “We must continue denouncing this genocide.” The Latin American countries were the first to denounce the Israeli onslaught on the war-torn besieged coastal enclave and to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The Latin American countries were the first to denounce the Israeli onslaught on the war-torn besieged coastal enclave and to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales placed Israel on the list of terrorist states and renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has also joined Correa in condemning the Israeli onslaught on Gaza as genocide. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has also condemned the onslaught as ‘a war of extermination that has lasted nearly a century’ against the Palestinian people. Last week, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile and El Salvador recalled their ambassadors from Israel over its military aggression on Gaza.  Both Costa Rican and Argentinian Foreign Ministries have also summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries and expressed outrage over the Israeli onslaught. To be noted, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected calls to recall his diplomatic representative in Tel Aviv.

Arab Knesset member to Obama: Are Gaza children allowed to dream like your daughters Malia and Sasha?
NAZARETH (WAFA) 6 Aug – Ahmad al-Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli Parliament, Knesset, sent on Wednesday a letter to the U.S. President Barack Obama listing the names and ages of the Palestinian fatalities in Gaza, including children. Al-Tibi underscored the U.S. double standards in its policy towards the barbaric aggression on Gaza, including the arms supplies and financial support to Israel. “I am writing this to express our resentment over your position, and the position of the U.S. administration, towards the Israeli aggression on Gaza.”  Al-Tibi said 1881 Palestinians have been killed, of whom 80% are civilians, including 315 children, since the beginning of the Israeli aerial, ground and naval aggression.  “All Palestinian children killed in Gaza had names, faces, and families, as well as hopes and dreams just like your daughters, Malia and Sasha.” “Your echoing of the Israeli propaganda that the Palestinians hide behind their children is not acceptable. A number of human rights organizations confirmed that the Palestinians do not use their children as human shields. It is quite the exact opposite; the Israeli army always uses Palestinians as human shields during its military operations,” he added. He stressed that the Palestinian people love their children and cry over their death just like any other parents.”

Obama: No sympathy for Hamas, but Gaza cannot remain closed off
AFP/Times of Israel/AP 7 Aug — US president says Gazans need better hope for future, rebukes group for acting ‘extraordinarily irresponsibly’ — S President Barack Obama said Wednesday that while he did not care for Hamas, the Gaza Strip could not remain permanently closed off from the world. “I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza,” Obama said. Speaking at a press conference, Obama said that the United States was supportive of ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas but that “long-term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world.” Ordinary Palestinians living in the impoverished, blockaded Hamas-ruled territory need to “have some prospects for an opening of Gaza so that they do not feel walled off,” Obama said.

Analysis / Opinion

Gaza tension stoked by unlikely alliance between Israel and Egypt
Wall Street Journal 6 Aug by Adam Entous in Jerusalem and Nicholas Casey in Gaza — Israel and Egypt quietly agreed to work in concert to squeeze Hamas after Egypt’s military coup in 2013, a strategy that proved effective but which some Israeli and U.S. officials now believe stoked tensions that helped spur open warfare in Gaza — When former military chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi rose to power in Egypt after leading the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Israel found the two countries had a common interest in suppressing the Islamist group that ruled Gaza. They worked to bring pressure on their shared enemy. But a reconstruction of events leading up to the conflict over the past month found that in their determination to hem in Hamas, Israeli and Egyptian officials ignored warning signs of an impending explosion, U.S., Israeli and U.N. officials said. The U.S. encouraged Israel and Egypt to forge a close security partnership. What Washington never anticipated was that the two countries would come to trust each other more than the Americans, who would watch events in Gaza unfold largely from the sidelines as the Israelis and the Egyptians planned out their next steps. The seeds of the latest Israel-Hamas conflict were sown in 2012, when Hamas broke ranks with longtime allies Syria, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah and threw its support behind the rebels fighting to unseat President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war. Hamas, which had uled Gaza for the past seven years, came to rely on cash supplied by Qatar transferred through Egypt, with the assent of Mr. Morsi, and on revenue from smuggling goods through tunnels reaching into Egypt. As long as Hamas controlled cross-border attacks, Israel tolerated the Islamist movement at its southern doorstep, Israeli officials said. That pressure got dialed up when Mr. Morsi was deposed and Mr. Sisi rose to power. Israeli officials knew Egypt was as committed as they were to reining in Hamas when Mr. Sisi sent word earlier this year that his forces had completely destroyed 95% of the tunnels under Egypt’s border with Gaza. At first, Israeli intelligence officials said they didn’t know what to make of Mr. Sisi, a devout Muslim who in previous posts treated his Israeli counterparts coldly, a senior Israeli official said. As Mr. Sisi moved to take control of the government, Israeli intelligence analysts pored over his public statements, writings and private musings, Israeli and U.S. officials said. The Israeli intelligence community’s conclusion: Mr. Sisi genuinely believed that he was on a “mission from God” to save the Egyptian state, the senior Israeli official said. Moreover, as an Egyptian nationalist, he saw Mr. Morsi’s Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and its Palestinian offshoot, Hamas, as threats to the state that needed to be suppressed with a heavy hand, the Israeli official said. Israeli intelligence analysts interpreted Mr. Sisi’s comments about keeping the peace with Israel and ridding Egypt of Islamists as a “personal realization that we — Israel — were on his side,” the Israeli official said. The revelation that Hamas was equally abhorrent to Mr. Sisi as it was to the Israeli government spurred efforts to reward him. Israel used its clout in Washington to lobby the Obama administration and Congress on his behalf, in particular arguing against a U.S. decision to cut off military aid to Egypt, Israeli officials said….

An insane alliance: Israel and Egypt against Gaza / Khaled Diab
Haaretz 8 Aug — Despite its mediator role, Egypt is no impartial broker. It shares Israel’s view that Hamas can be crushed and suffocated into submission. Palestinians wonder how their ex-ally can leave Gaza to burn — Egypt-Israel-Gaza is possibly one of the most bizarre and perhaps twisted love-hate triangles of recent times. Washington’s credentials as an honest broker have rightly been questioned over the years, and Egypt was traditionally seen as a welcome counterbalance to U.S. bias, but Cairo has lost its pro-Palestinian credentials. It can scarcely be seen as an impartial broker. For the past year or so, ever since Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi became the de facto leader and then president of Egypt, his regime has been an enthusiastic accomplice in the Israeli-led blockade against Gaza, completely sealing off the Rafah crossing and destroying hundreds of tunnels into the Sinai which provided the Gazan economy with some respite from the siege. Taking a page out of Israel’s handbook, Egyptian officials leaked plans to Reuters earlier this year that Egypt intends to topple Hamas by, among other things, fomenting dissent in Gaza and backing Fatah. On top of that, military-aligned television presenters and hosts have been ratcheting up the rhetoric and disinformation against Hamas in Gaza. Despite the continued presence of critical voices, including normally pro-regime anchors, this anti-Hamas propaganda reached fever pitch when hostilities began in early July.!topic/newprofile/eXepSymJjOY

The Gaza Paradox: Hamas has little support, but the war has a lot / Jesse Rosenfeld
GAZA CITY, Gaza (Daily Beast) 7 Aug — For most Gazans, the struggle is not about Islamism or the destruction of Israel, it’s about ending the blockade — no matter what that takes — From the porches of their bombed-out homes to barbershops where men are getting haircuts for the first time since the war started, Gazans have been making the most of a 72-hour ceasefire while bracing for a new round of fighting if Israel doesn’t give up on its seven-year siege of the Strip. Halfway through this temporary lull, as negotiations in Cairo failed to yield any tangible relief from the blockade, Hamas announced it would resume attacks when the clock runs out on Friday morning. It demanded that Gaza borders be opened by the deadline. Israel, for its part, said it will extend the halt in fighting for another three days and continue negotiations, exchanging quiet for quiet, its stated demand of returning to the status quo. Then Hamas set out to prove it has the support of masses of Gazans after all they’ve been through by staging a mass demonstration. It was a tactic designed to force Israeli concessions before talks break down. But the masses didn’t turn out. And what’s increasingly apparent is that while Gazans, even in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, vow they are ready to keep fighting, and keep suffering, until the blockade is lifted — and support Hamas for fighting — they don’t actually like Hamas very much, blaming it for years of high-handed rule and low-quality governance. So Hamas radio spent Thursday morning playing resistance ballads and calling on people to show their support in the streets. Blue-shirted, bearded policemen were out clearing roads for protesters and directing traffic for the first time since the war started. But only a few thousand of the party faithful turned out … In the audience, a 32-year-old mother of two, Reida Zahar, told me, “We are here to tell the world that despite all that has happened we will resist until we get our rights.” She was sitting with a group of women on the edge of the rally, a green scarf over her black hejab, and spoke in fluent English about how the blockade prevented her from going to the United Kingdom for a master’s degree. She has been staying with family, she said, since rockets from Israeli drones burst through the walls of her house. Few people in Gaza believe Israel will make any concessions if they do not show their determination to resist. But, many people around the square where the rally was held opted to take advantage of the open cafes and stores rather than listening to the orators of Hamas. And the effort to return to something like normal life so quickly after apocalyptic devastation is a reminder, if any were needed, that the stubborn resilience of the people here is not built on Islamist speechifying. It’s founded in a deep-seated refusal to surrender. Period … Salama al Sersawi leans on a bench, waiting to get his mound of matted hair reined in. At 23 years old he has lived under the blockade for almost a third of his life and he is fed up. “The siege needs to end, it’s like I’m dying every day,” he says, exhaustion deep in his voice. “If the siege is not removed, we need to go back to war.”

Video: Palestinian resistance in Gaza is ‘fighting for all of us’, says Dr. Mads Gilbert
Electronic Intifada 8 Aug by Ali Abunimah — “The heart of the Earth beats in Gaza now. It bleeds, but it beats,” says Dr. Mads Gilbert. The Norwegian emergency surgeon returned to his home city of Tromsø on 31 July, after spending several weeks treating the wounded from Israel’s assault at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital. He went straight from the airport to give a spontaneous speech at a large solidarity demonstration for Gaza held at the same time … We have transcribed the first few minutes, in which Gilbert asks his fellow Norwegians to imagine what their country would be like today if they had not struggled for its liberation from German occupation: … And imagine being back in 1945. And I beg to be understood when I say that I am not comparing the German Nazi regime with Israel. I do not. But I compare occupation with occupation. Imagine that we in 1945 did not win the liberation struggle, did not throw out the occupier, could not see a bright future or believe our kids had a future. Imagine the occupier remaining in our country, taking it piece by piece, for decades upon decades. And banished us to the leanest areas. Took the fish in the sea, took the land, took the water, and we became more and more confined. And here in Tromsø we were actually imprisoned, because here there was so much resistance to the occupation. So we are imprisoned for seven years, because in an election we had chosen the most resilient, those who would not accept the occupation. Then after seven years of confinement in our city, Tromsø, the occupier began to bomb us. And they began to bomb us the day we made a political alliance with those in the other confined parts of occupied Norway, to say that we Norwegians would stand together against the occupier. Then they began to bomb us. They bombed our university hospital, then the medical center, then killed our ambulance workers, they bombed schools where those who had lost their homes were trying to seek shelter. Then they cut the power and bombed our power plant. Then they shut off the water supply. What would we have done? Would we have given up, waved the white flag? No. No, we would not. And this is the situation in Gaza. This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. The unbending determination not to submit to the occupation!

Why are the Arab Gulf countries silent on Gaza? / Habiba Hamid
The Guardian 8 Aug — Instead of aiming their diplomatic guns at each other, the Gulf states must use their influence to shore up support for Gaza — After hopes of a lasting truce fade again today, the intense pressure on Gaza continues. We are used to hearing voices across the world raised against the conflict. But, perhaps surprisingly, the Gulf has scarcely reared its head to protest. Gulf thinking towards Gaza is mixed up. Upon joining the ruler of Dubai’s central government office in 2007, its Palestinian head of strategy told me to steer clear of Palestinian politics. “For Sheikh Mohammed, policy comes before politics. We don’t put the cart before the horse. We must get our house in order and then we can change things.” Her attitude, however, contrasted with the material help being provided. “Palestinians have received more humanitarian aid [in the form of budget support] from the United Arab Emirates than from any other nation. The UAE has always stood by us,” the Palestinian Authority’s man in charge of reconstruction told me in 2010. True to form, through the latest period of violence, 18 Boeing 747s and C130s were dispatched from Dubai laden with meals, blankets and medicine. Saudi Arabia pledged US$80m (around £48m) in aid. Yet this humanitarian effort stands in stark contrast to Gulf foreign policy. Saudi Arabia’s king took three painful weeks to even criticise Israel’s offensive. The UAE then concurred; its foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, had earlier condemned Israel on Twitter. But not one concrete, punitive action against Israel was called for by either country. That Gulf Arab silence – in policy, thought and strategy – has not gone unnoticed. It has reverberated in the west, where Spain and Latin American nations have done more to shore up support for Gaza than their Arab counterparts.

6 of the most beautiful writings from and for Gaza
Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, of Gaza, “We are unfair to her when we search for her poems.” We are certainly unfair when we scrabble anywhere for poems, searching for aesthetic pleasure in others’ suffering. But here, poetry seems to have welled up from the need to speak, to create, to defy silence: Most of the Arabic writing about Gaza that came out of the last month was first-person reportage on events. But some of it mixed together with other elements to create otherworldly or impassioned prose. The piece that most stunned me in the last month was not by a Gazan, but by Jerusalem-based playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi. His The underground ghetto city of Gaza ran in Haaretz on August 4. Zuabi has said elsewhere that he would prefer people to see “dreamlike poetry in his work rather than political drama”; it’s hard to imagine how they would miss it: And we start to hope that if we keep on digging, all the way to the core, if we don’t stop, if we perforate the land like a honeycomb, if we make it as flimsy as silk, maybe it will suddenly collapse in on itself. And then, like a tray piled with cups of coffee and cookies that crashes to the floor in a mess of crumbs and glass, it will all mix together. The upper part and the lower part will blend. And the rules will change. And we’ll be able to say with a sigh of relief: Here is a piece of sky mixed with a cracked piece of sea; here is Shujaiyeh mixed with Sderot; here is Zeitoun mixed with the Mount of Olives; here is compassion mixed with relief; here is one human being mixed with another. And we’ll know that we were saved from the living death in which we are trapped, and now we’ll join the life of above, and with them build a new land…. (listserv) (archive)

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(US media fails to report that Israel’s war against the Palestinians is being fought on 2 fronts.) West Bank Continues Uprising, Israeli Army Injures 40 at Hebron Demo for Gaza By contributors | Aug. 9, 2014 HEBRON (Ma’an) — At least 40 Palestinians were injured in central Hebron on Friday afternoon as Israeli forces dispersed hundreds taking part in rallies condemning the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza as well as the Israeli occupation. Sources at… Read more »