Egypt is preparing a plan for a possible military intervention in the Gaza Strip, security sources told Ma’an news agency on Wednesday.
Officials told Ma’an that Egyptian planes had entered Gazan airspace and examined a number of locations near the border in Rafah and Khan Younis to be targeted if military attacks against Egyptian troops intensify in Sinai.
Egyptian aircraft could also target vehicles traveling across the border with smuggled goods, the sources added, highlighting that “all options are open.”
Egyptian military sources claim that ongoing attacks in Sinai are carried out by organizations based both in Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip.
“The Egyptian army does not believe the population of Gaza is involved in the violence in Sinai, but certain factions strongly support Sinai groups. The tunnels play a major role in the communication between both sides,” a senior Egyptian official told Ma’an.
“In addition, Hamas, although its involvement is limited, is responsible for maintaining control of the smuggling tunnels as well as the factions operating in the coastal enclave,” he added.
Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested across Egypt in the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood following the army’ ouster of President Mohammed Mursi in July.
The Egyptian military has stepped up a campaign against militant groups operating out of the Sinai Peninsula since, as attacks against the army have intensified.
The Egyptian military has accused Hamas, the current rulers of the Gaza Strip, of being connected to the violence and of having ties to Mursi.
The Israeli regime has been accused of replicating the former South African Apartheid regime by the UN investigators, politicians and human rights groups.
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela once said “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.
Last month, Ismail Coovadia, outgoing South African ambassador to Tel Aviv, said the regime is a “replication of apartheid” and built on “stolen land”.
The relation between Tel Aviv and the Apartheid regime in South Africa has even become the subject of a book — “Unspoken Alliance; Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.
All these call for a look at the similarities between the two regimes and their cozy relations with Britain.
The Israeli regime is treating Palestinians, especially those living in the West Bank just like blacks, who were confined to Bantustans equal to West Bank enclaves and the besieged Gaza Strip by the Apartheid regime.
Palestinians are confined to security zones in the West Bank where they should have permits to pass military checkpoints while those in the Gaza Strip are under a military siege and have limited access to food, water, drugs and fuel, among others.
Palestinians are indeed under Israeli military occupation and face control of movement, physical separation from Zionists even on the roads and lack equal rights with them.
The physical separation, which is similar to the black Bantustans enforced by a variety of measures, is imposed on the Palestinians by creation of Israeli-only roads, limiting their access to lands and resources in the occupied territories and most recently by erecting of the separation barrier (otherwise known as the “Apartheid Wall”) in the West Bank.
Palestinians are also subjected to a totally different legal system than do Israeli occupiers to the extent that Palestinians are turned into secondary residents of their own lands by the occupiers, just like blacks versus white settlers during apartheid rule in South Africa.
In terms of equal rights, Palestinians also do not have the right to vote in the Israeli elections as was the case in the South African Apartheid regime.
They were given an illusion of a democracy by the Oslo Accords that enabled them to vote in the Palestinian Authority elections that brings to mind the local black polls for Bantustans, but that illusion was shattered in 2006 after Hamas won the PA elections but was not allowed to form a government.
The Israeli regime had also warm ties with the apartheid regime and the man behind the concept and implementation of apartheid, former South African Premier Hendrik Verwoerd, once said “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state”.
The two regimes signed a military agreement in 1975 and the Zionist side helped the apartheid regime circumvent international sanctions until its end in the 1994, to the point that the UN General Assembly condemned Tel Aviv’s “collaboration with the racist regime of South Africa”.
The apartheid regime was also considered a close ally of Britain and London used its weight to prevent sanctions against the regime while maintaining extensive trade with South Africa especially by importing gold.
Later in the 1980’s, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proved a staunch support of the racist regime describing the anti-apartheid Mandela as a terrorist in 1987.
Such a position is now clearly seen in the London-Tel Aviv ties and it goes without saying that Britain laid the cornerstone of a Zionist entity in the Palestinian lands in the first place.
In 2002, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote an article named “Apartheid in the Holy Land” that that his recent trip to Palestine had reminded him “so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.
He had earlier written in 1984 that the Bantustans, which were pretended to be self-governing homelands by the apartheid regime were deprived of “territorial integrity or any hope of economic viability”.
They were, he wrote, merely “fragmented and discontinuous territories, located in unproductive and marginal parts of the country” with “no control” over natural resources or access to “territorial waters”.
The description that appears to be a depiction of the occupied territories just now has been echoed by the UN Human Rights Rapporteur John Dugard, who is a South African legal professor and apartheid expert.
Dugard said “Israel’s laws and practices” in the Occupied Territories “certainly resemble aspects of apartheid”.
The analogy is also seen by British Labour MP Gerald Kaufman and former minister for international aid Clare Short who are pushing for sanctions against Tel Aviv.
The description of the situation in the occupied territories by Clare Short in the Commons back in June 26, 2007 is illuminating.
“I have followed developments in the Middle East carefully over many years, and I was well aware before my recent visit how bad things are for the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, I was deeply shocked by Israel’s blatant, brutal and systematic annexation of land, demolition of Palestinian homes, and deliberate creation of an apartheid system by which the Palestinians are enclosed in four Bantustans, surrounded by a wall, with massive checkpoints that control all Palestinian movements in and out of the ghettos,” she said.
A key difference, however, remains, that is apartheid rulers exploited blacks as cheap laborers while Zionists are ethnically cleansing Palestinians.
A South African newspaper editor, Mondli Makhanya, put it in a nutshell after a 2008 trip to the Middle East.
“It seems to me that the Israelis would like the Palestinians to disappear. There was never anything like that in our case. The whites did not want the blacks to disappear,” he said.
Haniya, in her home in al Nussairat.
On Monday, 10 September, 2012, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a vast tract of land in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip. As a result, 2 rooms and a container on the land were destroyed. 10 olive trees and 23 houses were also damaged. Additionally, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 2 women, were wounded. This attack targeted civilian objects which is a violation of international law.
Haniya Abdul Hadi Kabaja (60) is one of the women who sustained minor injuries on the night of the attack. She recounts that: “At around 2.00am in the night, we woke up to the sound of shelling. We were all very scared but we went back to sleep. 15 or so minutes later, we heard more shelling and shrapnel hitting surfaces outside. Something hit my face and, when I touched it, I felt myself bleeding. My son, Anas, saw this and he started screaming for his brothers to come and help me. After they offered me first aid, we heard my ten-year-old granddaughter, Reema, crying, and that is when we noticed that she had also been wounded, in her leg.”
An ambulance arrived after a while, and Haniya and her granddaughter were taken to Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital. Their wounds were moderate and they were discharged soon after.
Until now, Haniya and her family have unanswered questions with regard to the attack. They do not know what the exact target was: “All of us were terrified, because the missiles were launched about 100m from where we live. Other people in the neighborhood also got injured by the shrapnel from the missiles. Some windows were smashed and there is clear damage to some of the asbestos roofs. In this area, there have been no incidents since Cast Lead. Nobody really knows why they launched missiles on an empty piece of land, and so close to where people live.”
Since the attack, Haniya’s family has been living in constant fear of further attack. This has had a particularly negative impact on the children: “The attack has really frightened the children. They used to go out after dark to play or to visit relatives who live in neighboring houses. Now, they do not even step outside after darkness falls because they are too scared. They are not the only ones who are scared. Even we, the adults, feel the same way. At the same time, we know that there is nothing we can say against the Israeli occupation. We cannot do anything about it either.”
Haniya’s son, Mohammed (32), hopes to see an end to the attacks on unarmed civilians and calls for the respect of everyone’s rights. “I just want to see the situation change and an end to the Israeli occupation. We are unarmed civilians, yet they follow us and continue to attack and terrorize us in our homes. They hurt my mother and my daughter, yet they had not even done anything. We have not caused problems for anyone and the only thing we demand is our rights, our land and our freedom. We are peaceful people and we want it to remain that way. After all these years of being attacked, we will not stop demanding our rights. Even if they kill all of us and only 10 people remain, we will still demand for those rights.”
The direct targeting of a civilian object constitutes a war crime, as codified in Article 8(2) (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Similarly, under Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of private property is prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. Intentionally launching an indiscriminate attack constitutes a war crime as defined in Article 8 (2) (b) of the Rome Statute of the ICC. Furthermore, according to the principle of proportionality, which is codified in Article 51 (5) (b) of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, an attack that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects or a combination thereof is considered excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
- Occupied Lives: I have no future (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- OCHA: Israeli occupation destroys 13 houses weekly in West Bank (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- PCHR Weekly Report: 2 Palestinians executed; 3 wounded by Israeli forces this week (imemc.org)
- Occupied Lives: Nothing Left To Hope For (imemc.org)
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is deeply concerned by the verdict of Judge Oded Gershon that absolved Israel’s military and state of the 2003 murder of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.
Despite the American administration stating that the Israeli military investigation had not been “thorough, credible and transparent” and the Israeli government withholding key video and audio evidence, Judge Gershon found no fault in the investigation or in the conclusion that the military and state were not responsible for Rachel’s death. Judge Gershon ruled that Rachel was to blame for her own murder and classifies her non-violent attempt to prevent war crimes as proof that Rachel was not a “thinking person”.
By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon’s verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel’s legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards. The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Describing the situation in Gaza 2 days before she was killed, Rachel said, “I’m witnessing the systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive. It’s horrifying.” Rachel’s analysis holds true today, confirmed by the United Nations a day before this ruling, which reported that Gaza would not be “liveable” by 2020 barring urgent action.
The verdict is a green light for Israeli soldiers to use lethal force against human rights defenders and puts Palestinian and International human rights defenders in mortal danger.
This will not deter us. As long as our Palestinian sisters and brothers want our presence, the ISM will continue to find ways to break Israel’s siege, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. As Rachel’s mother Cindy put it, “There were children behind the walls of the home Rachel was trying to protect… We should have all been there”.
Judge Gershon’s verdict is a travesty of justice but it is not exceptional. As a rule the Israeli legal system provides Israeli soldiers impunity to commit murder. The only Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter since the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000 was Taysir Hayb, a Bedouin citizen of Israel for shooting British ISM volunteer Tom Hurndall in the back of the head with a sniper rifle as Tom was carrying a child to safety. At least 6,444 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces in this period, with no justice for them or their families.
For more information Contact: Aide Mormech 059228094 or Huwaida Arraf 0598336215
Ken O’Keefe — University of Westminster, London — February 2012
It is very important to be honest with yourself and with the people you interact with, to keep your own self-respect intact. In my opinion, self-respect is worth more than money, or the lie our governments in the West adhere to when they back Zionism unconditionally. When I die, I will know that I did not sell out my beliefs for 30 pieces of silver, but tried to make this World a better place than when I came into it. I ask everyone that calls me friend to walk down that road with me and challenge the evil bastards that use deceit, lies, war and violence as a means of democracy and peace… join with me and be the change we want to see in this World.
Many thanks to Ken O’Keefe for being a voice of the voiceless and encouraging many to speak out and take action.
The Weblog of Ken O’Keefe – http://kenokeefe.wordpress.com/
Children of the Samuni family, who survived the Israeli army’s deadly attack on the Gaza Strip
- Gaza family urges UK Queen to remove ‘blood diamond’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Donor Opium (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Sunday, May 20, an Israeli soldier shot a young Palestinian farmer while on his land in Al-Quara, north east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip.
Waheed Ali Zer, 22 years old, was shot in his left leg and remains hospitalized in Khan Younis’s Nasser hospital. We went to go visit his family and Waheed’s brother Mohammed spoke to us about the events that took place on Sunday.
“After being shot, Waheed began to crawl before being picked up and taken to a first aid point. At the time, I was at university.” Mohammed is a mathematics student at Al-Aqsa University and he intends to pursue a PhD.
Waheed has three brothers and seven sisters, three of which are married. The Zer family’s land is only 500 meters from the Israeli border. Waheed’s uncle told us that the Israeli soldiers will open fire at any time.
“Here in the Kussufim area, tanks and bulldozers will often enter,” says Waheed’s uncle, “until three years ago, there were many trees, olive trees, but they have all been destroyed by the bulldozers. Also here where we are, a house has been demolished by a bulldozer. If there are no tanks and bulldozers available, the Israeli soldiers shoot from the control towers”.
Mohammed told us that Waheed was walking his donkey when he saw a military jeep coming. Mohammed retreated back towards the tent next to his house. An Israeli soldier emerged from the jeep and shot at Mohammed from behind a small hill.
There was no warning, no bullet shots into the air. No notice, just one bullet, which was targeted directly at Waheed.
“My father carried Waheed in his arms while my mother cried,” one of Waheed’s brothers tells us.
We visited the land where Waheed was shot. On this land the family cultivates oranges, eggplants, wheat, and olives. “Our houses are very simple, we have no chance to protect ourselves,” Mohammed’s uncle told us. “The plants and the trees are scared by the Israelis, imagine us!” said Mohammed.
As I looked out across the land I noticed the proximity of military towers. One of the towers is particularly close to their land, with a machine gun visibly located on it. One of Waheed’s aunts approached us. “Our life is very difficult, for this reason the people go closer to the border to collect as much [harvest] as they can,” she says.
Waheed’s family comes from Be’er Sheva. They are refugees like many others after Israel displaced thousands of Palestinians, proclaiming their state.
We went to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis to meet Waheed. His left leg was wrapped in a bandage stained with blood and his bed sheet was also tainted with blood and liquid. He had an expression of suffering on his face after having been operated on while under general anaesthesia. The bullet aimed at him perforated an artery and a nerve.
“I had bought a donkey,” Waheed began to tell us, “and I was taking it towards my land when I saw an [Israeli] jeep coming. A soldier came out of the jeep and shot me. I fell to the ground feeling my head spinning. The bullet entered from one side [of my leg] and exited from the other side. I crawled and my father called an ambulance which took a long time to arrive.”
I asked him if he wants to send a message to the international community and he replied, “I ask for their solidarity with the Palestinian people. I ask them to stop the Israeli attacks.”
During our visit to the hospital other relatives and friends of Waheed arrived. One brought him some food. Waheed smiles to his visitors but his eyes cannot hide his grief. A cotton curtain separates him from the other beds of the crowded hospital.
A nurse arrived to tell us that we should go because the visiting time is over. I left Waheed with the promise of going back to his home for another visit. We will return to their area as an international presence while the international community continues to stay silent in the face of ongoing crimes against the civilians of the Gaza Strip.
- 7 casualties in Israeli artillery shelling east of Gaza (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 18 year old shepherd shot by Israeli soldiers in Jordan Valley (alethonews.wordpress.com)
1.1 – The issue of Palestinian prisoners is one of the worst consequences of the Israeli occupation. Since 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians, 20% of the population of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have been detained. This number represents approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the occupied territories.
1.2 – Today, there are about 6,000 prisoners in 17 Israeli jails and detention centres. They include six women and more than 200 minors.
1.3 – 330 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention with no formal charges having been brought against them in a court of law. 28 elected members of the parliament, and three former ministers fall within this category.
1.4 – Israel is currently holding all these Palestinian prisoners far away from their homes, and outside of the occupied territory. This constitutes a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Article 76 of the Convention states:
“Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.”
Article 49 also states:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”
1.5 – Article 32 specifically prohibits “murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and … any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents”. Since 1967, 202 Palestinians prisoners have died while being tortured in Israeli jails.
1.6 – Israel routinely tries Palestinians before military courts, none of which meet the most basic standards of international law; particularly the laws relating to the treatment of prisoners of war and people under occupation.
1.7 – In light of the above, there are now calls for the prosecution of Israeli officials at an international tribunal.
- 1,600 Palestinian prisoners begin open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Ex-Palestinian prisoner: captivity in Israel, living in graves (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Detention of Palestinian political prisoners (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 4 hurt in Ramallah protest to support detainees (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Scottish TUC delegates join Palestine freedom struggle – unanimously! | #PalHunger (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
They Can’t Stop Building Walls
Beirut – It may be that researchers would want to examine as long ago as the period from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century in order to find a regime so frenetically building walls and barriers in a hopeless quest to hold onto stolen lands as we in Lebanon may soon witness in the south of the country. It was back in 221 BC that in order to protect China from the land claims of the Xiongnu people from Mongolia, the Xiongnu tribe being China’s main enemy at that time who sought the return of lands they claimed the Chinese had stolen, that the emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of a wall to guard China’s territorial gains.
Lots of walls have been built throughout history to preserve occupied lands. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in England to keeep the Picts out and the East Germans built the Berlin wall to keep the people in. But no regime in history has built, in the span of six decades, the number of walls as the paranoid regime in Tel Aviv has erected. And it plans at least five more “anti-terrorist protective walls” including one slated to begin soon along the Lebanese-Palestine border at the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila. And that one may present a problem.
The decision to build a wall “to replace the existing Israeli technical fence” along the Blue Line near the town of Kfar Kila was announced last month by Tel Aviv. The announcement followed a meeting between the Israel military and UNIFIL and both are keeping fairly mum about what it knows about this latest wall but UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh hinted to this observer that the first section will be about half a mile long and approximately 16 feet high.
Some south Lebanon residents are strongly objecting for among other reasons that the high wall will block the scenic views into Palestine. Others are ridiculing the reasons for the wall expressed by the US-Israeli lobby that will ask the American taxpayer to pay for it.
Israel firster, David Schenker, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, set up by AIPAC, told a Congressional hearing recently: “South Lebanon is obviously a very sensitive area [for Israel], being so close to Metula and the possibility of infiltration by Hezbollah and Palestinians is a legitimate concern. The Israeli government believes that this wall will prevent terrorists from launching direct line-of-sight firing of things like RPGs and mortars. Even the throwing of stones which some tourists visiting the area are in the habit of doing.”
Local observers, UNIFIL officials and experts like Timor Goksel, who worked as UNIFIL’s spokesman for 24 years along the blue line, expressed surprise at why Israel is claiming that Kfar Kila is a particularly dangerous area that needs a wall.
In point of fact the area has not been a particularly hazardous or “sensitive” one historically, even when the PLO controlled the area in the 1970’s. Goksel explained; “In my 24 years’ experience, there were never any attacks there because it’s adjacent to a Lebanese village, so any attack there will make life for the Lebanese difficult. I don’t think anybody has ever thought of doing anything there. Moreover, even if you cross into Israel at Kifa Kula there, you’re not going to come across an Israeli position for a long time, so it doesn’t make sense for anyone to attack from there. What are you going to attack? There’s no target.”
Some local observers are speculating that the real reason Israel wants the barrier in Kfar Kila might be to stop its troops from bargaining for drugs in exchange for weapons and classified military information, as the IDF’s drug problem among its “northern command” soldiers has escalated since the battering it took in the July 2006 war.
Israel’s newest frontier wall will follow the one being erected along the 150-mile boundary between the Sinai and Negev deserts. That wall building project is due to be completed by the end of this year of 2012. Once the Kfar Kila wall is finished, Israel will be almost completely enclosed by steel, barbed wire and concrete, leaving only the southern border with Jordan between the Dead and Red Seas without a physical barrier. But that too, may be walled in the future according to Shenker. He testified that the reason was due to the uncertainty in Jordan and its increasingly wobbly government.
Yet another wall, approximately seven miles from the Mediterranean along the southern border will meet the fence Israel has already been built around Gaza. This wall runs for 32 miles, with a buffer zone, which Palestinians are forbidden from entering, and extends close to 1,000 meters inside the narrow Gaza Strip, walling off more prime Palestinian agricultural land. This “security war” has caged Palestinians inside Gaza but did not prevent the cross-border capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Along the Palestine-Lebanon border, a barrier built by Israel in the 1970s along the boundary was reconstructed, after Israel was forced out of Lebanon in 2000 following a 22-year occupation. This barrier did not prevent Hezbollah in a cross-border ambush in 2006, capturing two Israeli soldiers in order to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Nor did it prevent Hezbollah from firing of thousands of rockets during the ensuing 33-day war in retaliation for Israel bombing much of south Lebanon.
And the “protective walls” rise like mushrooms after a summer rain.
Further east from Lebanon, an Israeli barrier has been constructed on the ceasefire line drawn at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, running between the Golan Heights, which Israel has illegally occupied for nearly 45 years, and Syria. It was here that hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators entered occupied Palestine last May, in the Golan and along the Lebanese border. More than a dozen people were killed and scores injured when Zionist forces opened fire on the unarmed civilians.
A crossing at Quneitra, now operated by the UN, does allow some movement of UN personnel, truckloads of apples, a few Druze students and the occasional Syrian bride in white.
A few miles north of Quneitra is Shouting Hill, where Druze families in the Golan yell greetings across the barrier to relatives in Syria.
Moving south through heavily mined fields and hills, the 1973 ceasefire line is bordered by Israeli military bases and closed military zones, and shells of tanks from past battles, until it connects with the border with Jordan. It then joins with one of Israel’s first walls, constructed in the late 1960s, which now stretches almost from the Sea of Galilee down the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea. Most of this line is not Israel’s border, but rather a barrier separating Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Around a third of the way down this stretch, the barrier joins the infamous huge steel-and-concrete West Bank wall. This runs along or inside the 1949 armistice line, swallowing up tracts of Palestinian agricultural land, slicing through communities and separating farmers from their fields and olive trees. As with its other 18 walls and barriers, the Zionist regime claims it is simply a security measure, but many believe it marks the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, consuming an additional 12 per cent of the West Bank. Approximately two-thirds of its 465-mile length is complete, mostly as a steel fence with wide exclusion zones on either side. According to the current route, 8.5 per cent of the West Bank territory and 27,520 Palestinians are on the “Israeli” side of the barrier. Another 3.4 percent of the area (with 247,800 inhabitants) is completely or partially surrounded by the barrier.
Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built 7-9 meter (23 – 30 ft) wall separating Gaza from Egypt (temporarily breached on January 23, 2008), which is currently under Egyptian control, are also widely condemned by the international community.
Returning to the subject of the latest wall project, increasingly the Zionist regime opposes discussions, hearings, visits, expressions of solidarity with Palestinians, and even the viewing its garrison state from south Lebanon. Cutting off a view that people throughout history have marveled at represents a continuation of its isolation and xenophobia.
Following the joint meeting at Kkar Kila noted above, UNIFIL Major-General Serra said: “The meeting was called to assist Israel in putting in place additional security measures along the Blue Line in the Kafr Kila area in order to minimize the scope for sporadic tensions or any misunderstandings that could lead to escalation of the situation.”
In fact, the opposite with likely happen. In a recent visit to Ahmad Jibril’s Palestinian camp in the Bekaa Valley, and in discussion with salafist groups in Saida, it’s plain the wall will likely become an object of target practice and further strain UNIFIL and Hezbollah efforts to keep the border calm.
In a scathing commentary in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, defense analyst Alex Fishman recently wrote: “We have become a nation that imprisons itself behind fences, which huddles terrified behind defensive shields.” It has become, he said, a “national mental illness”.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o email@example.com
A human rights organisation has reported that the Israeli occupation forces have stepped up what it calls their “racist and aggressive practices” against the Palestinian people over the past month, during which Israel carried out dozens of operations and military incursions in the occupied Palestinian territories. “Thirty Palestinians were killed by Israel in March,” said the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights, “most of them in the besieged Gaza Strip.”
The Foundation said that three children under the age of eighteen were martyred in the West Bank. Two of the children – named as Hamza Zayed Jaradat and Zayed Jomah Jaradat, both age 12 ‑ from the area of Wadi Al Reem, near Hebron, were killed when a suspicious object left in the area by the Israeli occupation army exploded. The third minor was Zakaria Jamal Abu Arram, age 17 from the town of Yatta, near Hebron, who was killed during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers when local Palestinians tried to stop the security forces from re-arresting one of the detainees released in the last prisoner exchange deal.
According to the Foundation, Israel’s arrests of Palestinians have also increased in the past month. “More than 300 Palestinians, including 56 children and seven women, and many ex-detainees who have already spent many years in prison, were taken into detention by the Israelis,” it said in its statement.
- Israeli Brutality: Violent arrests of Palestinians in Hebron and disappearance of Dutch volunteer (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- One Killed, 37 Injured, by Israeli troops Gunfire in Gaza Land Day Protests (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Troops Kill a Palestinian Youth; Injures and Arrest Another (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal has said that the Israeli military has turned the Gaza Strip into a testing field for its new weapons.
“Israel used Gaza as a field experiment for the Iron Dome [missile system]” and the weapons of the Israeli army, Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post quoted Meshaal as saying in a surprise meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara late on Friday.
The Hamas leader also criticized the Israeli regime for “fabricating excuses” to launch the recent attacks on the Gaza Strip.
At least 26 Palestinians have been killed and dozens of others injured in Israeli attacks on the coastal sliver since March 9.
Erdogan also lambasted the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, saying that Tel Aviv was marking efforts to drag Palestinians into war.
Reports say Meshaal and Erdogan also discussed the ongoing reconciliation talks between Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.
“There are positive developments regarding relations between Hamas and Fatah. We will assess these developments,” Erdogan told reporters before the meeting.
Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have been trying to form a unity government based on an agreement brokered by Egypt and signed last year in Cairo.
- Gaza truce declared as Israel hails new missile defense (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Seven year-old, Baraka Al Mughrabi, died, on Wednesday midday, after succumbing to wounds he sustained during an Israeli air raid targeting Gaza City on Monday. His death brings the death toll due to Israeli military escalations targeting the coastal enclave since last Friday to 26.
The latest round of escalation started after the Israeli army assassinated, on Friday, the leader of the armed Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza and his assistant. Palestinian sources announced today that among those 26 killed were five elderly men, two women and five children. 80 people in total were injured some lie in critical conditions.
Meanwhile on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Israeli jet fighters violated the Egyptian mediated truce and conducted air raids targeting a number of locations in Gaza city. One of the targeted buildings was a wood factory. The factory was totally destroyed, no injuries reported.
Cairo announced on Tuesday that a ceasefire deal was reached between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza ending five days of escalation in the coastal enclave. According to Cairo Israel will stop attacks and extra judicial assassinations while Palestinian resistance will halt home-made shell fire from Gaza.
Meanwhile Israeli army officials dubbed the Egyptian mediated truce “fragile” adding that Palestinian groups may violate the truce deal. Yesterday Palestinian groups announced that they will resume firing home-made Qassam shells into Israeli towns near Gaza if Israel does not keep its end of the deal.
- No pretense of an excuse for continued Israeli attacks on Gaza (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli attacks kill 12 Palestinians, wound 21 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Gaza truce declared as Israel hails new missile defense (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 5 killed, 46 injured in fourth day of Gaza airstrikes (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Forces Open Fire at Gaza Funeral, Injure Five (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In August 2011, when the Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip for nearly a week, killing 26 and injuring 89 more Palestinians, they at least had a pretext, no matter how transparently false — one which was immediately proven bogus by both their own Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) spokeswoman and subsequent investigations.
Four days ago on March 9, 2012, when the Israeli army assassinated two Palestinians via a precision-fired “drone” (UAV, the technically accurate name) missile, they didn’t even have the pretense of a pretext to cling to. The missile, which hit a car in Gaza City’s Tel el Hawa district, killing two Palestinian resistance fighters, was the first of almost non-stop bombing that has continued throughout Monday. As of Monday evening, the death toll was 25 Palestinians, with another over 80 injured — many with critical, life-threatening injuries — and 3 Israelis injured from the crude, unguided rockets Palestinian resistance fire, with no signs that Israel would cease its murderous campaign. In the first attacks, the IOF assassinated Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and PRC member Mahmoud Hanani.
Samer, a university student from Beit Hanoun, spoke Monday of the injured he saw at northern Gaza’s Kamal Adwan hospital: “The injured I saw there yesterday were all children and women.” Indeed, if the death toll is accurate, while a great many of the assassinated have been resistance fighters, the martyred — and nearly all of the injured — also include civilians, children, and elderly.
In Jabaliya refugee camp, one of the many Israeli bombings on Monday killed 65-year-old Mohammed Mustafa al-Hasumi and his 30-year-old daughter Faiza. Early Monday morning, IOF warplanes targeted the three-storey home of the Hammad family in Ezbet Abed Rabbo, injuring 33, including two critically so, and including nine below the age of 10 years old. Also on Monday, in the Strip’s northern Beit Lahiya, the IOF killed Nayif Qarmout, 14, and injured five other students wounded when the IOF-fired missile hit near them. On Sunday, Israeli bombing in a residential area killed Ayoub Assaliya, 13, and injured his seven-year-old cousin.
The Israeli attacks began Friday with the assassination of resistance fighters who were not participating in acts of resisting the occupation, but rather were travelling through a residential area of Gaza City. Enshrined in international law is the right to resist occupation. In contrast, the targeted assassination of people not engaged in combat is forbidden under international law. Specifically:
Extrajudicial executions are gross violations of universally agreed human rights that enshrine the right to life in accordance with Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further cemented in Article 6 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. Extrajudicial executions are acts outside the realm of rule of law and hence deprive the targeted individual(s) of their right to life, as well as the right to defend themselves against charges against them.
According to provisions of IHL, people who live under foreign occupation enjoy special protection under Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions. The Article stipulates that:
“[t]he passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples” are prohibited at all times and in all circumstances. Civilians are moreover protected against acts that constitute collective punishment. Collective punishment, intentional attacks against civilians and extrajudicial executions constitute war crimes in IHL.
Jenny Graham, an Irish citizen living in Gaza City, describes on her blog the pandemonium following the first Israeli attacks on March 9:
A day of bombardment from air, sea and land, The martyred and injured taken to Al Shifa. To the North, South, East and West and everywhere in between, no where escaped. Loud explosions constantly rattled the windows and shook the building.
… not only can Gazans not report their stories, share their fears or spread word of an attack, many can now no longer keep check on friends and family members [due to the 20 hour long power outages throughout the Strip].
… The father of one of the Martyrs sits on the ground outside, oblivious to the crowds surrounding him, his eyes vacant and empty, he will never see the world the same again.
Omar Ghraeib, a 25-year-old Palestinian who blogs when he has electricity, said:
I live in Tel el Hawa, Gaza City. The first bombings last Friday — which ignited the latest escalation — happened in Tel el Hawa. Since then, basically, from south till north Gaza, from east till west, nowhere is safe. They even bombed populated area and high-traffic areas. The bombing affects everyone, including myself and my family; it is not safe to go to work or school. But if I could leave, I wouldn’t! I want to stick with my people here, I am not better than them, and we are all in this together. Some might leave, but the majority won’t leave their lands, houses, and country.
An online letter from various Palestinian civil society groups, including the One Democratic State Group and different BDS groups, reads:
[Gaza has been] bombed by Apache helicopters and F-16 and V-58 fighter planes. Gaza has been enduring Israeli policies of extermination and vandalism since June, 2006. The Palestinian people have already been under siege for more than six years as collective punishment. Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into the largest concentration camp, reminiscent of Bergen Bilsen and Auschwitz, with the largest population of prisoners in the world.
Mahfouz Kabariti, from Gaza City’s port area, says the bombing escapes no area:
“The other day they bombed behind our house, maybe 500 metres away. Three were killed.” But like most Palestinians, he is accustomed to the tragedies of the occupation.
“We are used to this life… but it is the kids dying, that’s the hardest thing.”
Saber al Zaneen, living in Beit Lahiya, said Monday evening:
“The situation is extremely difficult in Gaza It’s very, very dangerous here. There are bombs every five to ten minutes, from warplanes, from zananas (UAVs). Today’s the fourth day we’ve been under Israel’s war … and no one is doing anything to stop it. It’s the beginning of a new war on Gaza, and it already feels as bad as the last war on Gaza in 2008-2009. The Israelis are bombing everywhere again: people’s homes, schools, cemeteries…No one is on the street, everyone is afraid.”
Finally, and critically, Yaakov Katz in The Jerusalem Post cites statistics that are rarely cited, buried in the pages of Israeli propaganda:
… between September 2005 and May 2007 in which Palestinian armed groups fired 2,700 rockets toward Israel killing four people, Israel fired 14,617 heavy artillery shells into Gaza killing 59 people, including at least 17 children and 12 women. Hundreds more were injured and extensive damage caused.
In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 were from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.
“To top things off,” Omar Ghareib writes, “Gaza’s Energy Authority announced that Gaza’s only power plant will be shutting down — completely — today, for the third time in a month, because of the lack of fuel. Gaza will sink under darkness again, but will be lit by the Israeli war machines.”
Dr. Hassan Khalaf, Deputy Health Minister in Gaza, said Monday that the combination of the latest Israeli attacks, the prolonged medicines shortage, and the continued lack of electricity meant for a critical health services situation in the Strip:
It is very critical, 180 of 450 of patients’ drug items are at zero stock; 200 of 900 of essential medical items are at zero stock. We lack many essential drugs, including those needed for anesthesia, antibiotics, specialized milk for infants, treatments for neurological conditions like epilepsy, and cancer medications.
No electricity means no medical service. Electricity is the life of medical service, for all machines; the ICU is completely dependent on electricity, as is the operating theatre, kidney dialysis…
In his blog post, “Mowing the lawn”: On Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza and the lies behind it Ali Abunimah links to a video interview with Shifa hospital’s Dr. Ayman Al Sahbani early on in the Israeli attacks, who says:
We don’t know what type of weapon was used. It led to severe burn from the upper torso; severe burn, black. We don ‘t know the type of chemical weapon used, because it is different from the other type of weapons. Used to kill, not to injure, to kill. The twelve martyrs, all of them severe shrapnel, severe injuries, and many of them without heads. In the past we saw burns, but last night, many of them direct trauma, many of them completely without their heads.
Some Palestinians in Gaza fear the worst for future days.
Saber Zaneen said Monday, “People hear rumours that Barack and Netanyahu wants to send tanks in, for a big attack worse than 2008. We have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Posturing in the media, Netanyahu said on Sunday: “We extracted a high price from them and will continue to do so.” On Monday, he said that the Israeli army is “prepared to expand its activities [in the Gaza Strip] as much as is necessary.”
Asking, “is it enough yet?” Jenny Graham writes Monday night of the 25 martyrs and more than 85 wounded, including 27 children, 13 girls and five elderly since Friday evening.
Omar Ghraeib notes what many Gazan Palestinians have said: “The situation in Gaza is unbearable. No one would cope with it, but Gazans do, because they are used to darkness, lack of power, lack of fuel, lack of gas, lack of water, cold weather, and dire conditions. And in addition to all that, we remain under siege.”
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian and was an International Solidarity Movement member in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.
- Israeli Forces Open Fire at Gaza Funeral, Injure Five (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel TV celebrity, wife of vice PM demands bombing, “suffering” of Gaza civilians (alethonews.wordpress.com)