Israeli occupation forces massacred overnight two Palestinian families, killing at least 35 people from these two families, paramedics said.
Occupation forces targeted the four-story building of the Abu-Jamei family in Bani-Suhaila City in the south of the Gaza Strip, killing 25 family members and wounding several others.
One of the family members, who survived the massacre, said that their relatives came to their house to stay with them after they had been pushed to leave their own homes for security.
He explained that not long afterwards, at the time of the Iftar, an Israeli F16 rocket hit their house without any warning.
In Rafah, in the far south of the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces targeted another house at dawn, killing ten members of the same family. The number of wounded is still unknown.
According to an official medical source, the attacks against these two families bring the number of Palestinian families massacred during the on-going Israeli war on Gaza to 32.
The source said that the medical situation in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip is disastrous because of the strict Israeli siege. He said that the hospitals are suffering from severe shortages of spare parts for medical equipment and medicines.
Over the past two weeks, Israel has been waging a massive military campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands.
As we watch the horrifying slaughter unfold in Gaza, bear in mind the Israeli psychosis that fuels and justifies it. Here are comments from three rightwing Israelis – two leading politicians and a professor – who very much reflect a strain of mainstream thinking in Israel, one that the international media largely avoids noting.
Each, in their different ways, is advocating a genocide of the Palestinians.
Ayelet Shaked, of economics minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, calls on her Facebook page for murdering the mothers of what she terms Palestinian “terrorists” (a very broad concept indeed in current Israeli thinking) so that they cannot give birth to more “little snakes”:
They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists. …
[The terrorists] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.
Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer on Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, believes the sisters and mothers of Palestinian “terrorists” should be raped:
A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys [in the West Bank on June 12] and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught. What can we do? This is the culture that we live in.
Note that his university did not reprimand him. They defended his comments:
The purpose was to define the culture of death of the terrorist organizations. Dr Kedar illustrated in his words the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and law-abiding country to fight the terror of suicide bombers.
And finally we have Moshe Feiglin, a deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, urging the Israeli army to kill Palestinians in Gaza indiscriminately and use every means possible to get them to leave:
[Netanyahu] announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. … All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. …
The IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations. … The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.
This psychosis is not going to get better on its own. In fact, it’s going to get much worse. How much worse will depend entirely on the continuing inaction of western leaders.
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – The Israeli military just shot a Gazan man trying to reach his family, during an announced ceasefire. He was with a group of municipality workers and international human rights defenders who were attempting to retrieve injured people in the Shajiya neighbourhood.
“We all just watched a man murdered in front of us. He was trying to reach his family in Shajiya, he had not heard from them and was worried about them. They shot him, and then continued to fire as he was on the ground. We had no choice but to retreat. We couldn’t reach him due to the artillery fire and then he stopped moving.” Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist in Gaza. “Shajiya is a smoking wasteland. We just passed two bombed out ambulances.”
The Israel military has also shelled Red Crescent ambulances as they attempted to retrieve injured people in the Shajiya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. A ceasefire was announced, during which injured and dead people, could be evacuated from the area, in which at least 60 people have been killed today.
“They said we would be able to evacuate the injured from the disaster zone, but they have been shelling ambulances,” stated Dr Khalil Abu Foul of the Palestinian Red Crescent, speaking from Shajiya.
Now, the international volunteers, including some from the U.S., the UK, and Sweden, are in a rescue centre on the outskirts of Shajiya.
GAZA – Palestinian resistance factions have proposed a ceasefire initiative presented with Qatari and Turkish support.
The ceasefire initiative includes an end to all armed hostilities, an end to Gaza siege, and the release of all Palestinian detainees who were recently arrested in the West Bank. The initiative states that the ceasefire must be reached under US supervision.
The initiative was delivered by Qatar to US Secretary of State John Kerry who in turn conveyed it to Israel.
The ceasefire initiative includes:
1. Mutual and immediate cessation of fire.
2. Mutual cessation of military and security operations.
3. Total lifting of the siege of Gaza and opening the border crossings for goods and people and allowing in food, industrial, fuel and construction supplies, expanding the maritime fishing zone to 12 miles, in addition to removing the buffer zone and implementing reconstruction projects.
4. Full commitment to the prisoners’ swap deal reached on 1/10/2011 under Egyptian mediation, and the release of all the Palestinians detained since 12 June 2014 mainly Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik, in addition to the reopening of public institutions and improving the conditions of Palestinian prisoners.
The ceasefire implementation mechanism:
1. Determination of a zero hour for implementation of all requirements of the ceasefire.
2. Full commitment to the ceasefire under US supervision.
3. Mutual cessation within 6 hours of its announcement.
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – Hospital staff and international activists, from the U.S., Sweden, and the UK, attempted to travel to the recently bombed el-Wafa hospital, in an attempt to retrieve salvageable medical supplies.
When they arrived at the hospital it was, “still smoking from the attack this morning.” Stated U.S. International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist, Joe Catron. The staff and activists were forced to retreat.
Charlie Andreasson, Swedish (ISM) activist, states, “We were waiting to get clearance from the Red Cross to go back to el-Wafa. This is urgent because without medicine, the patients cannot receive proper treatment, and coordination through the Red Cross has not been possible. ”
Previous attempts by the Red Crescent to enter the Shajaiya neighbourhood to retrieve wounded people from this area were met with live ammunition from the Israeli army. El-Wafa hospital is just outside of Shajaiya.
On July 17th, the Israeli military fired rockets and shelled the hospital, forcing patients to be evacuated to Al Sahaba medical complex.
Basman Alashi, executive director of el-Wafa hospital told ISM, “Due to the emergency evacuation we were forced to move quickly, and had to leave behind important medication, supplies are now running low.”
The embassies of the international activists were informed by the ISM, and asked to do everything in their power to fulfill their responsibility to ensure that Israel respects international law and does not target this delegation of Palestinian and international human rights defenders.
The staff and internationals may try to retrieve supplies again, for now it was impossible.
A nurse in the hospital told Ma’an that Israel fired a drone missile at the roof and third floor, damaging water supplies.
The area of the hospital targeted contained a ward for children, a reception area, and the offices of several doctors.
The building was evacuated immediately following the attack, with no injuries reported.
The attack comes as Israeli tanks fired shells at the al-Wafa hospital in Gaza City late Thursday, the facility’s director said.
“Israeli tanks are shelling the hospital, they have hit several of the floors, and several nurses have been injured,” director Basman Alashi told AFP.
“There is no place safe in Gaza! If a hospital is not safe, where is?” he said.
The hospital in Gaza’s Shujaiyeh district has come under Israeli fire several times before, and the Israeli military has called on Alashi and other doctors to evacuate it.
The Al-Quds hospital was also hit overnight Thursday by Israeli forces, causing a fire to break out which damaged several departments of the building.
On Saturday, thirty-year-old Ola Washahi and 47-year-old Suha Abu Saada were killed when an Israeli rocket hit a care home for Palestinians with special needs in Beit Lahiya.
The facility’s director, Jamila Alaywa, was unable to contain her fury as she described the tragedy that had befallen the center she set up in 1994.
“Both Ola and Suha had severe mental and physical handicaps, and had been living at the center since it was founded,” she told AFP.
“They didn’t understand what was happening and they were so frightened,” Alaywa said.
“They fired the rocket and it hit us without any warning. There was no warning strike with an empty rocket,” she said.
Photo by Charlie Andreasson, ISM
GAZA CITY – At least one journalist was injured in an Israeli airstrike that targeted Palestinian media buildings in the Gaza Strip early Friday.
Israeli Apache helicopters targeted the al-Jawhara tower in Gaza City at 4 a.m., causing damage to at least 10 apartments in the building, which holds several media offices.
Photojournalist Muhammad Shabab was injured and taken to al-Shifa hospital for treatment.
Two municipality workers at street level were injured as rocks and debris covered the area.
Israeli forces also targeted the Daoud Tower in the al-Rimal neighborhood, cutting off the broadcast of a local radio station and injuring several employees.
The Israeli army has been regularly accused of targeting Palestinian journalists by international watchdogs, and attacks on news and radio stations in Gaza have generally been more frequent during times of bombardment.
To either prepare for a ground invasion or to simply to make life for Gazans harsher than it already is, Israel decided to bomb the wells that provide tens of thousands of people in Gaza with water. It has also targeted sewage plants, which means clean water is not coming in and sewage water is not going out.
Bassem Siam carried two plastic gallons as he left his home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza, ignoring the intense bombardment and the continued Israeli military flights. He went to his neighbors who happen to have a small supply of drinking water to get a sip of water for himself and his family and to help his wife wash the dishes that have accumulated in the kitchen because water has been cut off for two days. The 30-something-year-old man held the two gallons tightly to his chest and returned home quickly as Israeli planes bombed farm land near his home. When he entered the building where he lives, he exhaled deeply, having survived the devastating missile shrapnel.
Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza live under the threat of water scarcity due to the fact that Israeli fighter jets bombed wells that provide water to several residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Municipalities in charge of these wells believe that the Israeli targeting of wells is motivated by a decision to destroy the infrastructure in Gaza and to undermine the people’s ability to remain steadfast.
Israeli planes targeted a well located in al-Nasr neighborhood, west of the city of Gaza, which provides water to about 20,000 people and the Ali well in al-Zaitoun area, south of the city, which provides water to about 7,000 people. In addition, three main water lines that feed al-Shujaiya and al-Sabra neighborhoods and provide about 21,000 people with water were also hit.
This targeting appears to be systematic and its obvious objective is to deprive people of water, the single most important element of daily life, especially during the month of Ramadan.
According to the head of the water facilities at the Gaza municipality, Saad al-Din Atbash, it is very difficult to repair the destroyed wells amidst the ongoing violence. Not to mention that the cost for each well to start working again at the same capacity it was working before is $120,000. “In addition, the cost of repairing the three water lines that were damaged is about $6,000 for each line,” he added.
In light of the ongoing war and siege of Gaza, it is hard for the municipality to repair these wells and water lines, Atbash confirmed. He also noted that the electric cables which operate the well pumps that feed the industrial area to the east of Gaza city (known as Karni) have been burned. These pumps provide water to about 5,000 people. He confirmed that the crews working in the field have repaired what can be repaired in order to distribute water again, even if on an intermittent basis. He warned, however, that these crews are working in unsafe conditions because the Israeli military targets emergency work crews.
Gazans are starting to complain about the water shortages that last for days at a time, forcing some of them to fill up their home water tanks with desalinated water to use for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning. The problem, however, is that the distributors of desalinated water were directly targeted more than once during the 2008 Israeli war on Gaza. Not to mention the additional cost of buying desalinated water which doubles people’s water bills. In addition, several purification water plants announced their inability to provide services to residents, especially to those living in border areas.
Fadi Omran, one of the desalinated water distributors, tells Al-Akhbar : “We can’t risk our lives and go out in the evening. We are trying to work during the day but we don’t have enough time to meet the needs of all the people.” Omran, who drives a huge truck, explained that the Israelis do not differentiate between civilians and Resistance fighters, “they target any moving object at night.” He said that fear for their lives forces them to delay delivering their customers’ orders. In addition to the fact that his plant works only when there is electricity.
This situation prompted the director of the water department in the Gaza municipality to call on people to ration their water consumption “until the damaged water pipes and water wells are repaired.” He also called on international organizations to intervene in order to prevent Israel from bombing the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
On the evening of July 12, Israeli warplanes targeted a vehicle that belongs to the non-governmental Coastal Municipalities Water Utility near its well located to the west of Rafah in southern Gaza. The bombing killed a 42-year-old employee called Ziad al-Shawi, destroyed his car completely and seriously injured two of his colleagues.
Because of this incident, the general director of the utility, Monzer Shiblak, announced the complete suspension of work at the field water utility after the targeting of its staff, “despite the existing coordination with the Israeli side. The suspension will continue until proper field protection is provided for the employees.” At the same time, he expressed commitment to see his utility persist in its vital duties towards the public and in carrying out its water and sanitation services to the best of its ability.
During a press conference, Shiblak called on international humanitarian organizations, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to assume their responsibilities and take action to protect the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and pressure the Israeli side to stop targeting their crews and the municipalities’ crews.
According to observers, warnings have been issued regarding the consequences of subjecting Palestinians in Gaza to health and environmental catastrophes as a result of the Israeli bombing of sewage pump no. 1. This pump services the area to the west of the city of Gaza and treats about 15,000 cubic meters of waste-water per day, thus protecting about 200,000 of the city’s residents from the potential harm of untreated sewage water.
Court Conclusively Finds Material Support Not a War Crime
Washington, D.C. – In response to today’s en banc ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals in Al-Bahlul v. United States, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
Today’s Court of Appeals ruling defers resolving important questions — Can conspiracy charges be tried by military commission? Is domestic law relevant to that decision? — to a future case. But the five separate opinions, totaling 150 pages, are entirely clear on one point: all seven judges agreed that material support for terrorism is not a war crime triable by military commission, even for a defendant who forfeited his defenses at trial. That decision mandates that our client David Hicks’s conviction for material support, pending on appeal before the Court of Military Commission Review, be vacated. Today’s ruling is a reminder that a military commission prosecution or conviction can unravel at any time.
The court merely deferred the inevitable by failing to recognize that conspiracy is no more appropriately tried in a military commission than material support. We urge the Supreme Court to review today’s ruling regarding conspiracy and dispense with all fabricated war crimes charges once and for all.
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents Australian David Hicks, convicted of a sole count of material support by a military commission at Guantanamo, whose appeal seeking to have his conviction overturned has been stayed pending today’s D.C. Circuit decision.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 12 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.
Last month, a military judge dealt a significant blow to U.S. prosecutors’ efforts to suppress torture evidence in the Guantanámo military commissions.
In a ruling in the U.S.S. Cole case, unsealed last week, Judge James Pohl told prosecutors they must hand over CIA black site information to the defense attorneys of Abd al-Rahim Hussayn al-Nashiri. Back in April, Judge Pohl similarly ordered the prosecution to give extensive information to Mr. al-Nashiri’s lawyers about his “4-year odyssey” through the CIA’s rendition and torture program. In the new ruling, Judge Pohl confirmed the core of the earlier order and issued important findings that will reverberate not only in Mr. al-Nashiri’s case but also in the 9/11 case, where one of the five defendants has already asked for similar information.
Judge Pohl found that Mr. al-Nashiri was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” – the government’s euphemism for torture and cruel treatment, such as waterboarding and stress positions. More importantly, he ruled that information about that abuse is relevant and helpful to the defense. In particular, it will be relevant at sentencing because Mr. al-Nashiri faces the death penalty. His lawyers have said they will argue that he cannot be executed because he was tortured by the CIA – an argument that 9/11 defense lawyers will also likely make for their own clients.
Judge Pohl also said that the use of torture techniques will impact whether any statements Mr. al-Nashiri made afterwards are too tainted to be used at trial. Under the military commissions rules, the prosecution must convince the judge that the statements were “voluntarily given” in order to use them. The prosecution has already indicated that it will seek to use statements Mr. al-Nashiri made to the FBI after he arrived at Guantánamo. But with the new ruling, the prosecution will be required to turn over the information the defense says it needs to argue that these statements were tainted by the CIA’s earlier torture and abuse.
Judge Pohl’s order requires the prosecution to give the defense lawyers 10 categories of information, including where Mr. al-Nashiri was held, the conditions in each site, whom he interacted with, and how he was rendered from site to site. What’s not clear is the extent to which the prosecution will seek to provide summaries or other substitutes for some documents or to redact the names of personnel. According to Mr. al-Nashiri’s lawyers, this will be litigated in the coming months. Still, the ruling has definitively established that the information is relevant and helpful to the defense, and any new requests by the prosecution to narrow what it has to turn over will be limited by the ruling.
That’s a sea change, although a long-delayed one on a fundamental fair trial right: access to evidence. Judge Pohl has decided to step down from this case to concentrate on the commission trial of the 9/11 defendants. It’s now up to his successor to ensure this important decision is properly implemented.
During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Palestinians reported numerous incidents of looting by Israeli soldiers. Here’s the first case we documented
During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Israeli soldiers invaded thousands of houses in the West Bank, on the pretext of looking for the kidnapped teenagers. These raids allow us to get a quick picture of the differences between Palestinians living under Israeli control and Israeli citizens.
For instance, were someone to be kidnapped in Petah Tikva, no one would imagine placing the city under curfew, prevent its denizens from traveling abroad, and carry out “searches” in random apartments, without the need to show the residents a legal search warrant.
Yet that is precisely what happened to Wasafia Sadeq Othman Salah Khater, a senior citizen living in the village of Aqraba, on June 22nd, 2014. Around 02:30 AM, about a dozen soldiers knocked on her door, entering without explanation, and as she noted, without showing her any warrant. The soldiers found nothing, as there was nothing to be found; but for an hour they wreaked havoc in Khater’s house. Aside from her, the house was home to her pensioner husband and their eight sons.
The soldiers were not satisfied with ripping off the covering of the sofas and spreading out their contents, nor with the breaking of a closet door (one wonders what the hell the purpose of that was, aside from sadistic enjoyment): they did what the army will not speak of, and it seems they looted the house. At first, the soldiers stole an expensive wrist watch, worth some 700 NIS (some 200 USD). Then, they looted an envelope that Khater held on her body – a very reasonable thing to do, when strangers invade your home – which contained 15,000 NIS (some 4,400 USD) and 1,700 Jordanian dinars (about 2,400 USD).
Even if this had been a legal confiscation, and as the soldiers did not leave Khater any receipt it wasn’t, Khater has no reasonable way of getting the money back: as we’ve seen, in order to do so she would have to appeal to the Israeli HCJ. But as she didn’t receive any written confirmation, this wasn’t a confiscation. Later on, looking through the house, Khater found out that the soldiers went off with her purse, containing 400 NIS. Looting, we’ll remind you, is a war crime, and while the Israeli military law does not recognize war crimes, it does punish looting with up to 10 years imprisonment.
Khater’s husband is a pensioner; she herself is a housewife. The money they have comes from their children. It was several soldiers who looted them; they were commanded by an officer who either did not know what took place, in which case he is unfit for command, or knew and turned a blind eye, in which case he is unfit for command and should spend time in prison with his looting soldiers; either way, he has command responsibility for their actions.
But the chances that he will be prosecuted are practically nil. The rate of indictment of soldiers is near zero. And after all, this incident took place as the national brain was suffused with blood.
Israelis have grown accustomed to excusing away everything done by IDF soldiers, up to and including the killing of children. The only things they can’t explain away yet are intentional attacks on animals and looting. Nobody can claim that looting makes any operational sense; no one can claim it is not a crime – and one of the most serious in the Israeli military law. Therefore, the IDF and the Israeli media, which has grown very good at not challenging the Israeli way of thinking, simply don’t speak about it.
So if you still have any expectations of war ethics from the IDF, promote this post. Because the mainstream media will not mention this case of looting – or the other cases we will document.
Three Israeli suspects who have confessed to the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted in East Jerusalem and later burnt to death, are going to plead “temporary insanity”, according to Haaretz. Mohammed’s father guessed as much last week, when asked whether he trusted Israel’s judicial system: “I think they will say that [the murderers] were insane and give them a year or two and that’s all.”
That’s not because Hussein Abu Khdeir has incredible prescience; it’s because this is how it works in Israel. Palestinians who kill Israelis are terrorists, and Israelis who kill Palestinians are either heroes, if they are doing it in an official capacity, or deeply damaged individuals on the “fringes of society”, if they act on their own. Either way, they are not meaningfully held to account.
As Hussein also implies, the three, if convicted, will probably get a lenient sentence and then be pardoned when the fuss dies down in a year or two.
Notice also that the three other suspects arrested last week have been released, even though the police say they were part of the cell believed to have organised the kidnapping. So why not charge them with conspiracy to murder, or membership of a terrorist organisation, or one of the other charges that would be used if the suspects were Palestinian, including Palestinian citizens of Israel?
And here’s another question: how can we take seriously a claim of “temporary insanity” among an organised group (“a cell”) that has a wider membership and whose creation presumably predated the general mood of revenge that permeated Israeli society following news that three Israeli teens had been abducted on June 12? What was this cell organised to do if not to harm Palestinians? And if this is the case, how can “insanity” apply to the group collectively and how can it be termed “temporary”?
I expect none of these questions to be addressed, let alone answered, in the trial – assuming, of course, we get one and this is not hushed up in a closed hearing at which they are committed to psychiatric care.
Instead, Israeli officials will doubtless assent to the deranged notion of “insanity” propagated by the far-right legal group, Honenu, defending the three suspects. It says:
Given the crazy, abnormal situation in the country, it’s natural that among the many people who approach us, some have been emotionally scarred by the security situation or by difficult personal circumstances and responded accordingly.
Remember, “accordingly” here refers to a decision to abduct a child, force-feed him a flammable liquid and then set him on fire. Maybe “insanity” in this case has a much wider application than just to three individuals.