Tuesday, 22 July 2014

US airlines stop all flights to Israel in blow to Netanyahu


Delta Airlines announced Tuesday that it is halting all flights to Israel indefinitely as violence wrecks the region, according to the Associated Press. United Airlines has also decided to suspend flights to and from Tel Aviv until further notice, according to a company spokesperson.

A Delta flight from New York to Tel Aviv was diverted on Tuesday amid reports that a rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport, the AP reports. The plane turned around mid-flight and headed to Paris.

It's not yet clear whether all other airlines are going to halt flights to Israel, but U.S. Airways canceled its Tuesday flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv.

There have been several red alerts in Lod, the town near Tel Aviv where the international airport is located, since the escalation between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, began two weeks ago.

It's long been thought that the potential inoperability of Ben Gurion is a strategic red line for Israel.

more

46 Palestinians killed as Israeli assault continues - death toll 607


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- At least 46 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Tuesday as Israel's military assault entered its 15th day, bringing the total death toll to over 600 people since July 8.

In the latest airstrikes, four members of the same family were killed in Gaza City. They were identified as Muhammad Shehadeh Hajjaj, 31, Fayzeh Saleh Hajjaj, 66, Rawan Ziad Hajjaj, 15, and Yousef Muhammed Hajjaj, 28.

Earlier, two elderly women were killed in Rafah, southern Gaza. Medics identified them as Hakema Nafe Abu Odwan, 75, and Najah Nafe Abu Odwan, 85.

Four Palestinians were killed in al-Bureij refugee camp and Hasan Shabaan Khamase, 28, was killed in al-Maghazi camp in central Gaza.

Ahmed Asad al-Badde, 24, was killed in Beit Lahiya and the bodies of Tarek Fayek Hajjaj, 22, and Ahmed Ziad Hajjaj, 21, and Mosaab Nafeth Ejla, 30, were pulled from rubble in the al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood, which suffered heavy bombing on Sunday.

Earlier, the bodies of 65-year-old Muhammad Khalil Ahel and Hamada Eleiwa were found in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Shajaiyeh and Zaytoun.

Another man was killed in an airstrike on Beit Lahiya, while three people died in shelling on the al-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City. more

Palestinians in Israel clash with police over Gaza assault


NAZERETH, Israel (AFP) -- Palestinian citizens of Israel clashed with police in the northern city of Nazareth on Monday, police said, at the end of a protest against Israel's deadly military strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The clashes came as Nazareth and cities in the West Bank observed a general strike to mourn the victims of the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas -- the bloodiest since 2009 -- that has cost more than 500 Palestinian lives in two weeks.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said about 200 Palestinian citizens of Israel in Nazareth clashed with security forces, who responded with a water cannon and stun grenades, arresting 16 people after the 3,000-strong demonstration in Israel's largest Palestinian city.

Demonstrators held up placards reading "Israeli army commits genocide in Gaza." more

Israel is being defeated in Gaza as it was in Lebanon


From the Electronic Intifada, by Ali Abunimah (founder) - This evening I gave an interview to Al Jazeera English (video above). I would like to develop some of the points I made.

If military victory and strength are measured in the number of civilians, especially children, that an army can deliberately target and slaughter with sophisticated machines, then there is no doubt that Israel is winning in Gaza, and has always been the winner in Palestine.
But even though it is still mercilessly killing civilians in Gaza as I write these words, Israel has, in political and strategic terms, already lost the “war” it launched on Gaza on the false pretext of stopping rockets.

As I’ve argued repeatedly, and as the facts show, the easy and time-tested way for Israel not to receive rockets from Gaza is not to attack Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel’s defeat in Gaza will be as significant as its defeat in Lebanon in 2006 (where it also “won” in terms of murdering civilians: 1,200 in total, a third of them children).

Lebanon off limits

For decades, when Israeli leaders needed to court popularity or create a distraction, they attacked or invaded Lebanon, slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese civilians with total impunity.

Due to fierce resistance that Israel did not expect, the Israeli army lost 121 soldiers during its 34-day invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Since that painful lesson, even an Israeli prime minister as foolish as Benjamin Netanyahu would not be eager to repeat the experience of his predecessor Ehud Olmert.

With Lebanon off limits, Gaza became Israel’s convenient outlet for its bloodlust, with repeated massacres in 2006 (during the Lebanon war!), in December 2008-January 2009, in November 2012 and now.

All these massacres have been committed against a population held in an open-air prison, virtually cut off from the outside world.

Israel found it could bomb Gaza from the air and, yes, even though the resistance could fire rockets back, these amounted to pinpricks.

Only when large barrages are being fired in the context of Israel’s present massive assault do rockets from Gaza cause more damage, but very little is physical: it is economic and psychological. more

Security source: Israeli shoots Palestinian dead in W. Bank


RAMALLAH (AFP) -- An Israeli shot dead a Palestinian who had been throwing stones at his car north of Jerusalem in the West Bank, a Palestinian security source said late Monday.

The security source named the fatality as Mahmoud Shawamreh, 21, of al-Ram. He said the incident took place between al-Ram and the Hizma checkpoint, and the body was taken to Israel.

Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Israeli army said: "The incident in which the Palestinian was killed during a violent riot near Ramallah is being investigated by the military police."

Tensions in the West Bank had been running high since the abduction and murder of three Israeli youths there last month, which prompted a major crackdown on Hamas, blamed by Israel for the deed. more

Israeli soldier 'missing' since Sunday admits IDF


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli soldier has been classified as "missing" since Sunday, Israeli media reported Tuesday, two days after Hamas' military wing announced the capture of a soldier.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that a soldier had been declared missing and "presumed dead" after Palestinian militants attacked an armored vehicle carrying seven soldiers in Gaza City on Sunday.

The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades said on Sunday night that it had captured an Israeli soldier, the first since the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011.

Al-Qassam Brigades said during a speech by spokesman Abu Ubaida aired live on Ma'an News that the captured soldier is named Shaul Aron and his military number is 6092065. more

Over 12 killed as Israel continues targeting Gaza homes - death toll 583


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Over a dozen Palestinians were killed overnight and early Tuesday as Israeli warplanes and artillery targeted Palestinian homes in Gaza, as the major offensive continued for a 15th day.

In Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, six Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Al-Qidra identified the victims as Ibtihal Ibrahim Rimahi, Yousif Ibrahim Rimahi, Eiman Ibrahim Rimahi, Salwa Abu Munifi, and Samirah Abu Munifi. At least 10 other Palestinians were injured in the attacks.

Earlier, an airstrike hit the home of Abdullah al-Buheisi in Deir al-Balah, killing him. Five others were injured. more

Monday, 21 July 2014

23 killed in Gaza 'in 2 hours' - 11 killed in Israa tower


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli artillery shelling and airstrikes across the Gaza Strip killed 23 Palestinians over only two hours late Monday, bringing the day's death toll to over 100.

Spokesman for the ministry of health Ashraf al-Qidra said 11 Palestinians including five children were killed, and others were injured in an Israeli strike on Israa tower in central Gaza City.

Eight of them were identified as Ibrahim Deeb Ahmad al-Kilani, 53, Yasir Ibrahim Deeb al-Kilani, 8, Elias Ibrahim Deeb al-Kilani, 4, Sawsan Ibrahim Deeb al-Kilani, 11, Reem Ibrahim Deeb al-Kilani, 12, Taghrid Shabaan Mohammad al-Kilani, 45, Mahmoud Shabaan Mohammad Dirbas, 37 and Ayda Shabaan Mohammad Dirbas, 47.

A Ma'an reporter said they included a father, mother their four children, and the mother's brother and sister.

Meanwhile Jihad Mahmoud al-Mughrabi, 22, died of injuries sustained in Khan Younis, while Fadi Bashir al-Abadla, 22, was killed in a separate attack.

Medical sources said that three others were killed as Israeli forces targeted a group of people in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. Al-Qidra identified them as Fadi Azmi Bureim, Othman Salim Bureim, and Salim Abdul Majid Bureim.

As Palestinians broke their Ramadan fasts Monday evening, two people were killed in a strike near the al-Shamaa mosque in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in southern Gaza City.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said one of its leaders, Zakaria Abu Daqqa, was killed in a drone strike in Khan Younis. more

‘Telegenically dead Palestinians’: Why Israel is losing the American media war


From New York Magazine - In many ways, the story of this month's eruption of violence in Israel and Palestine has been depressingly familiar. But in one interesting way it has been a little bit different from the beginning: American audiences are seeing the story of the conflict, perhaps more than ever before, through Palestinian eyes.

That this is the case is probably something of an accident. But after Israeli extremists kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian kid named Mohammed Abu Khdeir, apparently in retribution for the earlier murder of three Israeli teenagers, police detained and beat up his cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year old Palestinian-American from Tampa, vacationing with his family*. It is common for television news broadcasts to carry sympathetic stories of a local American kid tragically caught up in Middle Eastern violence. It is not so common for that kid to be Palestinian. Soon the networks were broadcasting sympathetic interviews with Tariq Abu Khdeir's angry mother. "The Palestinians live like this every day," Suha Abu Khdeir told ABC. "They kind of say, okay, we'll deal with it. But us, as Americans, it's just, it's not human."

It's been a little more than two weeks since Abu Khdeir's kidnapping, and the violence in Gaza has escalated from retribution murders into a military campaign. But in the American press, the human story of the Israel-Palestine conflict — in which more than 400 Palestinians have been killed, and fewer than 20 Israeli soldiers — has stayed, unusually, on the Palestinian side. As the first Israeli mortars began to fall on Gaza, the most arresting and memorable event was the death of four Palestinian preteens killed by fire from Israeli gunboats; moments earlier, the boys had been playing soccer with journalists on the beach. "It looked as if the shells were chasing" the children, one witness told NBC News.

By this weekend, with Israeli troops moving through Gaza, the story's setting had moved, grimly, to Shifa Hospital. There were "lakes of blood," a Norweigan doctor working there told Channel 4 News in the U.K. NBC broadcasted from the bedside of a man who had lost 20 members of his family. The AP documented the impossibility of medical care under siege; the doctor overseeing Shifa's three ICU beds had "made a special wire for cardiac pacing from a spliced Ethernet cable." On social media, images circulated: the dead body of a reporter, the large-print word PRESS on his chest covered with bloodstains, a father carrying his dead daughter's body, a guided missile slamming into a residential area. "I've seen some truly shocking scenes this morning," tweeted the Guardian's man in Gaza, Peter Beaumont, on Saturday. "A man putting the remains of his two year old son into a garbage bag." 3,000 people retweeted that.

Earlier this month, the IDF's Twitter feed had been full of images of besieged Israelis. But by this weekend Israel was so clearly losing the public-relations war that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to reporters, tersely, that Hamas uses "telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause."

If Netanyahu is so bothered by how dead Palestinians look on television then he should stop killing so many of them. But his complaint is in itself a concession. The story of the conflict between Israel and Palestine looks a little bit different this time around. Social media have helped allow us to see more deeply inside war zones — in this case, inside Gaza — and allowed viewers much fuller access to the terror that grips a population under military attack. more

Video: Israeli sniper killing wounded civilian in Shajiya


From the International Solidarity Movement - Yesterday, international and Palestinian volunteers accompanied Civil Defence and other rescue crews, as well as family members, into Shajiya neighbourhood in Gaza. They attempted to locate survivors of overnight and ongoing shelling by the Israeli army. A young Palestinian man in a green shirt hoped to find his family. He was shot by an Israeli soldier while crossing an alley between buildings. Two additional rounds struck him as he lay injured on the ground. His dead body could not be retrieved.
The ambulance shown in the video was shelled by the Israeli military, killing paramedic Faud Jaber. Dr Mona el-Farra of the Red Crescent Society in Gaza told ISM that, “The Israeli military is targeting medical facilities. 77% of medical facilities in Gaza have sustained damage, some of which have been completely destroyed.” “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. more

Medics: Israeli tank strikes on Gaza hospital kill 4, scores injured


Four Palestinian’s have been killed and dozens wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.

Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the third floor housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters. Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.

A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.

"There is still shelling against the hospital," he said speaking to AP. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.

Zidane appealed to the Red Cross and a nearby hospital to send help.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment. In the past it has accused Hamas Islamist militants of firing rockets from the grounds of Gaza hospitals and of seeking refuge in the buildings. more

Dozens injured as Israeli forces fire on crowds in Hebron


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces opened fire on rallies in Hebron celebrating the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza and in solidarity with the besieged territory, which saw 100 killed by Israeli forces on Sunday.

Abdallah al-Qawasemi, the medical director at Hebron Governmental Hospital, said that 20 youths had been brought to the hospital after Israeli forces opened live fire on the crowds.

Large rallies also took place in Halhoul, al-Arrub refugee camp, al-Fawwar refugee camp, Ramallah, and other cities across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem as Palestinians greeted the news.

Occupied East Jerusalem saw clashes with Israeli police forces during the rallies. more

Hezbollah standing by Palestinians in Gaza: Nasrallah


The leader of Hezbollah says the Lebanese resistance movement will stand by the Palestinians against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

“Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance will stand by the Palestinian people’s uprising and resistance in our heart, willpower, hope and destiny,” Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a telephone conversation with Khaled Meshaal, the political bureau chief of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Nasrallah also said that Hezbollah supports Hamas’ “rightful demands to end the current battle.”

A Hezbollah statement quoted Mashaal as saying that the Palestinian resistance “will remain steadfast and make a second victory in July, God willing.”

The Hezbollah leader also said that the Israel army is doomed to failure in Gaza because the Palestinian resistance was stronger than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thinks.

“If Netanyahu is counting on governmental and international support in his [Gaza] offensive, the resistance in Gaza relies by all means on the strongest popular support,” Nasrallah said.

The number of the Palestinians killed in 14 days of the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip has risen to nearly 500. more

Hamas fighters enter south Israel, clash with soldiers


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas' military wing said Monday that a group of its' fighters infiltrated southern Israel from a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip.

The operation was in retaliation for the "massacre" in the al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday, Hamas said, adding that the fighters destroyed an Israeli military jeep.

Israeli media reported that 10 Hamas fighters from one of two groups who entered Israel were killed. more