Sunday, 7 October 2012

Medical official: Israeli airstrike injures 11 in southern Gaza

updated 8 October 2012 - one man killed.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip injured 11 people on Sunday, a Gaza medical official said.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an the airstrike targeted a motorcycle traveling in a busy neighborhood of Rafah. Two of the wounded were in a critical condition and one required both legs to be amputated.

Five children were among the wounded, al-Qidra added. more

Video: Israeli forces smash Palestinian child’s head to ground near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

A video shows Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem smashing the head of a Palestinian boy on the ground during a violent arrest, after Israeli troops stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in eastern occupied Jerusalem this morning.

The brief clip shows a boy being dragged by black-clad occupation soldiers. As the boy screams “khalas” – “enough” or “stop” – the soldiers throw him to the ground. One soldier punches the boy in the side of the head, smashing his head into the stone floor.

The video was posted on the YouTube account of QNN, a Palestinian news group that operates on Facebook. QNN identified the child as Hasan al-Afifi of the Bab al-Hadid area of the Old City of Jerusalem. The videographer is identified as Amjad Arafa.

On its Arabic website, Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency reported:
Israeli occupation forces arrested, today Friday, the Jerusalemite teenager Hasan Afif Hasan al-Afifi (age 17), of Bab al-Hadid in the Old City, after they attacked him. Al-Afifi’s mother told Wafa that her son was arrested during the violent confrontations that occurred at the Al-Aqsa mosque today, and that her son was nowhere near the mosque and did not participate in any activities.

Gaza, Israel officials meet at Erez crossing

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A meeting was held recently at Erez crossing between Palestinian officials from the Hamas-run government and Israeli officials, Ma'an has learned.

Khalil Faraj, an official in the ministry of civil affairs in Gaza, met with the head of the economics branch at the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison offices, Lt.-Col. Avi Shalev.

Representatives of the union of Palestinian contractors attended the meeting along with officials from Palestinian banks and the transportation sector. On the Israeli side, the meeting was attended by the southern command chief Tal Russo and his deputy, a Ma'an reporter said.

The Palestinian side requested that Israel allow a Qatari project to reconstruct the Gaza Strip just like other projects funded by international organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s southern command chief replied that the Palestinian Authority should submit an official application to the Israeli side who will study the application “positively” and determine the mechanism to allow entry of construction material for the Qatari projects. more

Free Gaza anti-semitic tweet: Greta Berlin’s statement is not correct

By Ali Abunimah (The Electronic Intifada)

On 30 September a tweet was made from the official Twitter account of the Free Gaza Movement (@freegazaorg) which stated “Zionists Ran the Holocaust and the Concentration Camps.”

The tweet linked to a video of an anti-Jewish diatribe by notorious anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins.

The tweet’s contents originated as a posting by Free Gaza Movement’s Greta Berlin on her personal Facebook page. It was posted automatically from Facebook to Twitter. Following considerable uproar over this tweet, the Free Gaza Movement posted a statement on its website on 4 October that included the following explanation:

A TWEET from the Free Gaza TWITTER account was posted several days ago that had a link to a lecture titled, “Zionists Ran the Holocaust and the Concentration Camps.” This TWEET did not come from Free Gaza, and does not represent FG’s position in any way whatsoever; in fact we condemn its content. It came from Greta’s private Facebook page and was shared with a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites. For some reason, Facebook connected our Free Gaza account to her personal Facebook account, and the link was posted.

This statement did not calm the growing controversy. In order to dispel any doubts, many people, including me, asked Berlin to publish screenshots of the discussion from Facebook to show the context in which the video was posted. Berlin, who controls the @freegazaorg Twitter account, refused. more

Israel blames Hezbollah for drone that enters Israel after crossing Mediterranean and Gaza

Israel's defense establishment has decided, thus far, to refrain from divulging the full details regarding the origin of the unmanned aerial vehicle that was shot down by the IDF over the Negev earlier Saturday.

The only details published were that the UAV penetrated Israeli airspace from the direction of the Mediterranean, around the Gaza Strip.

Nonetheless, it is unlikely that Palestinian terror organizations from Gaza are responsible for the operation. In recent years, several reports surfaced in the Arab media that Gaza terror groups are showing an interest in UAVs. This incident, however, seems like a more complicated operation and therefore the immediate suspect is Hezbollah.

In the two years before the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah launched drones into Israel twice. Two more drones were intercepted by the IDF during the war in the summer of 2006, and were believed to had carried explosives meant to go off over central Israel. A fifth drone launched during the war crashed inside Lebanon, likely due to a technical failure.

The key question that must be examined during the IDF investigation into Saturday's incident should focus on the amount of time the drone stayed in Israel's skies. Defense Minister Ehud Barak hurried to release a congratulatory statement to the IDF for the quick interception of the drone. The IDF Spokesperson also praised the speedy and efficient operation. However, it appears that the drone traveled more than 15 minutes over southern Israel. more