Thursday, 9 August 2012

Gaza man donates $10,000 to each of the families of slain Egyptians

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Gaza merchant has promised to donate $10,000 each to the families of 16 Egyptian soldiers killed in an attack by suspected Islamic militants at a border post in Sinai.

Egypt sealed its border with Hamas-ruled Gaza after the weekend attack, alleging that the assailants had help from the Palestinian territory. The attack also strained ties between Egypt' president and Gaza's Hamas rulers, both members of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas has denied anyone from Gaza was involved in Sunday's shooting, but pledged to cooperate with Egypt's investigation in hopes of limiting the political fallout. The assailants are believed to be Egypt-based, with al-Qaida ties. more

Gaza warns of health crisis as Egypt border closure continues

Egypt's closure of the Rafah border crossing may lead to a serious health disaster, Gaza's health authority warned on Wednesday.

"The decision to close the Rafah crossing to patients and humanitarian cases will add to their suffering and harm their health, and could lead to a serious health disaster," Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Following the killing of 16 troops by gunmen near the Israeli border on Sunday night, Egypt closed "until further notice" its Rafah border post with Gaza, the Palestinian territory's only crossing outside Israeli control.

Egypt's MENA news agency said the gunmen were "jihadists" who "infiltrated from Gaza through tunnels in collaboration with jihadist elements in the Al-Mahdiya and Gabal Halal areas" inside Egypt.

Hamas dismissed the idea that militants from inside Gaza may have been involved, and put its security forces on full alert.

Qudra noted that many patients were awaiting permission to travel into Egypt for medical treatment.

"They are waiting for a decision from the Egyptian leadership and President Mohammad Morsi which will end their suffering," he said.

"For Palestinians, it is the only way out to the world and it gives hope to hundreds of patients with serious health problems," added Qudra, noting that many kinds of medicine were not available in the Hamas-controlled territory. more

Why are we in Gaza being punished for Egypt border guard killings?

Once again Palestinians in Gaza are being punished for events beyond their control. (Abed Rahim Khatib / APA images)

By Rana Baker (Electronic Intifada)

In the past few days, I received countless nasty messages on my Twitter account either addressed to me personally or to anyone Palestinian. The harshest one read: “Gazans are dogs who would have become homeless without Egypt.” Another referred to us as “refugee garbage.”

Sunday’s attack in Sinai that left 16 Egyptian border guards dead was the reason behind these slights.

Following the attack, which was carried out by gunmen who have still not been identified, the SCAF was quick to accuse the people of Gaza of being behind the murder and hence Tantawi was quick in issuing his punishment. Both the Rafah crossing and underground tunnels were declared closed “indefinitely.” Amr Moussa, the former Egyptian minister of foreign affairs and presidential candidate, supported the measure and stated that the closure of the crossing must be accompanied with the closure of the underground tunnels.

Although many Egyptians were elated by the news, the young revolutionaries who made the highest sacrifices during the revolution condemned the decision and even used social networking websites to voice their opposition to Tantawi and his brutal policies toward the people of Gaza.

Double standards

It is worth recalling here the official Egyptian stance on the murder of two Egyptian security guards in an Israeli raid along the Israeli-Egyptian border last year. Not one Egyptian helicopter took off in search of the assailants and not one bullet was aimed at “suspects” from the Israeli side. Not only did the SCAF bury the incident as if it had never happened, but it went as far as to quell Egyptian protestors at the Israeli embassy in Cairo almost a year ago today. Days later the SCAF erected a high wall around the embassy to “protect” it against “extremists.”

The comparison is infuriating and exposes the double standards of the SCAF and the government standing behind it.

It is also noteworthy that what the SCAF is doing now is based on speculation regarding the identity of the assailants and not on true evidence. more

IDF uses inhabited Palestinian villages as a military playground

Israeli soldiers raiding Jinba on August 7, 2012. (Photo: B'tselem/Haaretz)

By Allison Deger (Mondoweiss)

On the heels of demolition orders to clear eight Palestinian villages for a military training field in the Hebron Hills, masked Israeli soldiers descended from helicopters and raided one of the still inhabited towns. Amira Hass reported in Haaretz on August 7, 2012:
Two Israel Air Force helicopters landed soldiers on Tuesday in Jinba, an isolated village inhabited by cave dwellings in the southern West Bank. It is one of eight villages slated for demolition according to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s plan to allow the military to resume its training in the area, known as Firing Zone 918.

According to reports by the residents, the helicopters landed and took off at the site six times, each time carrying soldiers. The soldiers erected a command center in a tent outside the village, and two jeeps and a Hummer parked next to the tent.

The soldiers, who were masked and armed, raided the village, photographed and mapped the cave dwellings, the tents and the structures, and made extensive searches while causing property damage, the residents said. The soldiers also emptied out the contents of closets and poured out jugs of milk and cream.