Thursday, 31 July 2014

Video shows Israeli shelling of Shujaiya that killed Gaza journalist


Note: The video depicts graphic violence that some may find disturbing.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces shelled the Shujaiya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, killing 17 Palestinians at a market where people had gone to shop during what they thought would be a four-hour “humanitarian truce.”

This video uploaded to YouTube shows the shelling. It is titled in Arabic “Shujaiya massacre and the targeting of a journalist and the injury of the Manara News Agency’s photographer.”
At the very beginning of the video a man can be seen wearing a flak jacket, helmet and carrying a camera, as he walks past an ambulance.

Another ambulance speeds into the frame and the man in the flak jacket can be glimpsed again.

Suddenly there is an explosion which sends up dust and smoke, followed by a second explosion. There are screams of horror, anguish and cries for help.

The videographer, whose name is not provided in the video or its description, is knocked to the ground but continues to film as the explosions continue.

The videographer gets up and films the scene around – injured people lying on the ground near the two ambulances, by walls and others hiding in an alley.

Smoke and fire can be seen in the background as shelling continues. The buzzing, likely of Israeli drones, can also be heard.

In the aftermath of the shelling, the video shows the body subsequently identified by media as that of the journalist Rami Rayan lying on the ground, wearing a flak jacket and helmet marked “TV.” more

Gaza death toll surpasses that of Cast Lead as count hits 1,437


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian death toll in the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza surpassed that of Operation Cast Lead on Thursday as the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks hit 1,437.

In the most recent lethal Israeli attack, an airstrike hit the al-Bayoumi family home in al-Nusairat refugee camp, killing at least 11 Palestinians and injuring at least 45.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 1,417 Palestinians were killed during Israel's infamous three-week offensive on Gaza in 2008-2009.

Some 5,303 people were injured during Cast Lead, while at least 8,265 have been injured throughout Operation Protective Edge, Israel's name for its current offensive.

At the end of the 2009 war, ten Israeli soldiers had been killed. Militants in Gaza have done more damage this time, with 56 soldiers killed so far.

The current offensive is still ongoing on its 24th day, while Cast Lead ended after 22 days.

Gaza militants and Israel also fought a war with Israel in late 2012, which lasted a week and left 174 Palestinians dead.

The current offensive showed no signs of stopping on Thursday, as the US restocked Israel's ammunition and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would accept no ceasefire that did not allow Israeli troops to remain in Gaza and destroy tunnels.

Militants in Gaza, meanwhile, say they will not stop fighting until the eight-year Israeli-imposed economic blockade on the Strip comes to an end. more

Take action: Stand with Palestinian workers in Gaza - a call for trade union solidarity


From BDS Movement - The Palestinian trade union movement, with support from with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on trade unions internationally to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

In the two weeks of the latest Israeli military aggression in the Gaza strip, whole families have been wiped out, and over 600 Palestinians have been killed, almost 80% of them civilians and a third of them children. Over 1.8 million Palestinians are trapped in an occupied and besieged small piece of land that Israel has turned into an open-air prison, subject to daily bombardment by Israeli rockets and heavy artillery. For seven years, Palestinians in Gaza have been under a brutal and illegal siege whose purpose is to destroy the conditions of life and break the spirit of the people. The siege and the recurrent bombing have created a humanitarian catastrophe, with critical shortages of water, food, and medical supplies. Freedom of movement, the right to education and access to health services have been extensively denied by the Israeli occupation.

Israel’s goal in this latest aggression against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is to perpetuate the occupation. This year we mark ten years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the construction of Israel’s wall and its associated regime in the occupied Palestinian West Bank – of settlements, land confiscation, separate roads, permit systems and movement restrictions – is illegal under international law. Yet in ten years the international community has allowed Israel to continue construction on occupied territory and continue its system of occupation, apartheid and colonialism against the Palestinian people...

...We ask you to consider the following actions:

1. Stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel
2. Divest your trade union pension — and other — funds from Israel Bonds as well as from corporations and banks that complicit in Israel’s occupation and human rights violations,
3. Dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation
4. Support our call for a military embargo on Israel
5. Share information with your members about the siege and destruction of Gaza and ask your members to boycott Israeli products and to share their knowledge with family, co-workers, and friends. more

9 Palestinian journalists slain by Israel since Gaza assault start


A Palestinian journalist who was injured when Israel shelled his Shujaiyya home succumbed to his wounds on Thursday, the ninth journalist to be killed by Israeli forces since the assault on Gaza began three weeks ago.

Muhammad Daher, who worked for al-Resalah newspaper, was injured in the shelling while a number of his family members were killed.

The target of the attack was unclear, but Israel has repeatedly destroyed entire apartment buildings in order to kill wanted individuals.

The Israeli assault has taken a high toll on Palestinian journalists, as seemingly haphazard shelling of residential and commercial areas have killed many, including 17 shoppers in a Shujaiyya market and 16 internally displaced people at a UN school on Wednesday. more

Henry Siegman, leading voice of US Jewry, on Gaza: 'A Slaughter of Innocents'


Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States.



His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

"When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success," Siegman says. more (transcript)

Under fire and out of cash, UN overwhelmed by Gaza crisis


The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire.

Out of cash, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main U.N. body in the impoverished enclave of 1.8 million Palestinians, says it can barely handle the humanitarian crisis unleashed by more than three weeks of fighting between militants and Israel.

Asked to explain the scale of the civilian suffering to an Arab news station, an UNRWA spokesman simply burst into tears.

"There are times when tears speak more eloquently than words. Mine pale into insignificance compared with Gaza's," Chris Gunness said.

"UNRWA is overwhelmed in Gaza. We have reached breaking point; our staff are being killed, our shelters overflowing. Where will it end ... UNRWA now has 225,178 displaced in 86 shelters. But Gaza is being destroyed. So when the war is over, where will these people go?" Gunness said. more

Qassam Brigades attacks Israeli anti-tunnel vehicle


The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades on Wednesday claimed responsibility for targeting an Israeli military engineering vehicle used to destroy tunnels in an attack in eastern Juhr al-Dik in the Gaza Strip.

The Brigades said in a statement that the group destroyed the vehicle and "everyone, everything around it" including military vehicles, officers and soldiers.

The group added that this attack, which used a kornet missile, was an "initial response" for the latest "Shujaiyya massacre," referring to Israel's shelling of a market Wednesday that killed 17 shoppers and injured 200.

The attack comes as Israel says it has shifted its focus in recent weeks from combating rocket attacks to destroying Hamas' tunnel network, which runs beneath the Gaza Strip and into Israel.

Israel says Hamas, which modeled the tunnels on Hezbollah's similar system in southern Lebanon, plans to use the tunnels to attack civilians, but Hamas has used them primarily to strike military targets and says they do not target civilians. more

Israel 'to destroy' Hamas Gaza tunnels 'with or without ceasefire' - Netanyahu


Israel will not stop its operation in Gaza until the tunnels constructed by Hamas have been destroyed, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

Speaking ahead of a cabinet meeting, he said Israel was determined to destroy the tunnels - used to attack troops and towns - "with or without a ceasefire".

Earlier Israel called up 16,000 reservists, bringing the total mobilised so far to 86,000.

Some 425,000 people in Gaza have been displaced by fighting, the UN says.

That is as much as 25% of the population of the territory. more

US resupplies Israel with weapons as Gaza death toll hits 1380


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel's supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza that killed 16 people sheltering there.

Israeli airstrikes and shelling continued overnight and into the morning leaving 17 Gazans dead and dozens injured, bringing the 24-day death toll to 1,380 with 8,000 injured, according to the Ministry of Health. The Israeli military confirmed that 20 "sites" had been hit overnight.

The dead included five people, including Majdi Fseifis, 22, killed in a bombing that hit a crowd of civilians near a mosque in the Abasan area east of Khan Younis.

Also in Khan Younis, one Palestinian was killed and four were wounded in a strike that hit a motorcycle in the Ma'an area south of the city.

Maha abd al-Nabi Salim Abu Hilal was killed in a strike on her home that also "seriously" injured her husband and three children. She was brought to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital.

Suleiman Baraka, 31, and Aref Baraka, 58, were also killed in a strike, and their bodies were both brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

At least 55 wounded after the al-Hamoud house in Beit Lahiya was hit at dawn. Injuries were also reported during an Israeli strike on the home of the al-Haw family as well as against Block 7 in Jabaliya.

Israeli aircraft also targeted a house east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip belonging to Abu Abdullah Abu Huwayshal, destroying it completely.

Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian fighters and Israelis forces in the Nabahin field east of al-Bureij. more

World watches idly as Israel bombs Gaza school and market


From The Electronic Intifada - As each day brings new horror in Gaza, Palestinians in the besieged Strip have become largely cut off from the outside world as Israeli bombing has badly damaged the electricity infrastructure and telecommunications network.

The bodies of at least sixteen Palestinians were pulled from the rubble after an Israeli strike hit a United Nations school in Jabaliya refugee camp on Wednesday. Approximately 3,300 displaced people were taking refuge in the school.

Later that same day, Israeli forces shelled an open market in the Shujaiya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, the site of a terrible massacre last week, killing at least seventeen. Residents had ventured out to the market during a four-hour humanitarian truce unilaterally declared by Israel. The victims included a journalist — the seventh media worker killed in Gaza since the onslaught began on 7 July — and emergency health care workers.

Power plant bombed

Monday night was one of the heaviest nights of shelling during the last three weeks of Israel’s all-out military offensive on Gaza. On that night alone, dozens of Palestinians were killed.

Many areas across the Gaza Strip came under random tank shelling, and Israel bombed the only power plant, leaving much of Gaza without electricity. Most households in Gaza City currently receive only up to two hours of electricity per day, according to the United Nations, and other areas in central Gaza are receiving no electricity at all.

Officials say the damage done to the power plant could take up to one year to repair — that is if Israel allows Gaza to import the necessary spare parts and allows engineering experts to enter.

These power outages mean that water pumps and sewage stations have stopped functioning, leading to a serious humanitarian and environmental crisis in terms of lack of clean drinking water and basic sanitation. more

Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state


LA PAZ (AFP) -- Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.

President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.

It "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," he said.

The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972.

Morales said the Gaza offensive shows "that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community." more

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

20 bodies found in Gaza rubble as Wednesday death toll hits 130


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The bodies of 20 Palestinians were recovered from the rubble of destroyed buildings in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, as Gazans took stock of a 23-day Israeli assault that has killed 1,360 people so far with no end in sight.

The announcement by Gaza medical teams of the recovery of the bodies in Jabaliya came only hours after Israeli shelling killed 17 in a crowded market in Shujaiyya, as thousands took advantage of a temporary Israeli ceasefire to shop on the third day of the Muslim Eid holiday.

Ambulances raced racing towards the site of the blast as medics and residents frantically tried to gather up the dead bodies.

An AFP correspondent saw at least five bodies being shoved onto stretchers and driven off to hospitals or mortuaries as quickly as the ambulances could take them. Even civilian cars were used to evacuate the dead and the wounded.

"The first shell hit, and people immediately started evacuating the wounded," said a man called Abu Maysarah. "They (the Israelis) saw them evacuating the wounded, and they struck them again," he said as a nearby building burned, belting out smoke as debris littered the street.

A bloodied, limp lifeless body lay in a pool of petrol and mud, his head crushed.

"There were journalists over here, and they hit them as well as they stood next to the ambulances," he shouted.

TV images showed at least one journalist lying motionless in the street, his flak jacket with "Press" on the front soaked in blood.

"We want a battle," Abu Maysarah cried, furious.

"We want Qassam to strike back, in the heart of Tel Aviv!" he said of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. more

Clashes continue across West Bank and East Jerusalem


Clashes continue to erupt across East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as thousands of Palestinians renew solidarity demonstrations with besieged Gaza, and Israeli forces continue to violently suppress protests across the region.

A Palestinian youth has died of wounds sustained last week, during confrontations with Israeli forces at the entrance Idhna town, west of Hebron, according to medical sources.

21-year-old Ala’a Izghayyar died of critical wounds as he was being treated at a Hebron hosptial. Izghayyar had been shot by Israeli soldiers with "some kind of an explosive bullet" in the abdomen, according to WAFA.

One Palestinian youth was abducted by Israeli forces, Tuesday, during confrontations which occurred in al-Khader, to the south of Bethlehem, while several other Palestinian protesters suffered from tear gas suffocation, according to coordinator of the Anti-wall and Settlement Committee, Ahmad Salah.

Salah told WAFA that forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and acoustic canisters towards residents, while one Palestinian, whose identity is still unknown, was also taken. more

Despite 4-hour 'ceasefire', Israel shells house, killing 1


Despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire that began at 3:00 p.m., Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon shelled a home in Beit Lahiya and killed one Palestinian.

Medics said that Wissam Dardona was killed and four others were injured in shelling that hit a home in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

The violation of the ceasefire came after Israeli forces killed more than 70 Palestinians earlier in the day.

Yoav Mordechai, Israel's coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian Territories, said Israeli forced would stop attacks for four hours starting at 3 p.m.

Mordechai said Israeli forces would only target areas where rockets were being fired at Israel.

An Israeli army statement added that the "humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which IDF (army) soldiers are currently operating."

"Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate," the statement said, adding the the army would respond to all fire from Palestinian militants throughout the limited ceasefire.

It was not immediately clear whether Palestinian factions would respect the limited, brief truce.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel imposed the ceasefire only for "media consumption." more

Israel creates ‘No Man’s Land’ in Gaza, shrinking strip by 40 per cent


BEIT HANOUN, Gaza — This narrow strip of land that used to be called “the Gaza Strip,” already one of the more densely populated places on Earth, is growing dramatically smaller. The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.

What that means on the ground is scenes of extraordinary devastation in places like the Al Shajaya district approaching Gaza’s eastern frontier, and Beit Hanoun in the north. These were crowded neighborhoods less than three weeks ago. Now they have been literally depopulated, the residents joining more than 160,000 internally displaced people in refuges and makeshift shelters. Apartment blocks are fields of rubble, and as I move through this hostile landscape the phrase that keeps ringing in my head is “scorched earth.”

It’s not like Israel didn’t plan this. It told tens of thousands of Palestinians to flee so its air force, artillery and tanks could create this uninhabitable no-man’s land of half-standing, burned-out buildings, broken concrete and twisted metal. During a brief humanitarian ceasefire some Gazans were able to come back to get their first glimpse of the destruction this war has brought to their communities, and to sift through their demolished homes to gather clothes or other scattered bits of their past lives. But many were not even able to do that.

When Rania Haels got within 60 feet of the debris that was once her family home in Al Shajaya on Saturday, a machine-gun on top of a nearby Israeli Merkava tank started firing. Probably these were warning shots pumped in her direction, but the 42-year-old mother of seven ran for her life. Now she stays with her family in an overcrowded parking garage in Gaza City and spends her days sitting in a public park full of refugees displaced by the Israeli push. Normally these would be festive times, the end of Ramadan is at hand and celebrations akin in spirit to Christmas festivities are beginning. But holidays have a way of intensifying tragedy. There is no place for Haels’ family to gather to give gifts and eat Palestinian sweets. There is, in fact, no place for them at all.

“We lost our homes and so now we live in the streets,” said Haels, holding a toddler in her arms who clings to her pastel-patterned hejab. “This war has destroyed me.” She says at least she knew where her home was. Some of her neighbors could not find their homes as they walked down streets made unrecognizable by the wreckage and horrifying by the presence of death. more

Celebrities stir passions with Gaza views


WASHINGTON (AFP) -- Pop idols and professional athletes are going public with strong views about Gaza, putting their relations with fans on the line while stirring up a social media frenzy.

More often than not, celebrity sympathies have been leaning in favor of Palestinians as the Israeli assault on Hamas rolls into its fourth week and the death toll keeps rising.

Zayn Malik of the British boy band One Direction was the latest boldface name to voice his concern when he posted "#FreePalestine" on his Twitter account Sunday.

As of Tuesday, his message had been retweeted 220,000 times, and favorited just as often, among his 13 million followers worldwide.

But it also angered Israeli fans -- with some going so far as to make death threats against the 21-year-old heartthrob, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani heritage.

"People who don't live in Israel don't have any right to say their opinion out loud," tweeted one young woman, Shaked Erez, who added the hashtag #freeisrael for good measure.

"Your Tweet really broke me& I'm sure all the Israeli directioners 2. U made us very sad," added Stav Ben Shushan, who urged Malik to delete his tweet. He did not.

The roster of celebrities -- many not known for political activism -- weighing in on Gaza has grown since pop diva Rihanna and basketball star Dwight Howard tweeted #FreePalestine.

Social media gives celebrities unprecedented power to engage directly with millions of fans worldwide, said George Washington University media professor William Youmans.

"But when they wade into political matters, they run the risk of alienating a certain number of their fans," Youmans, who's been monitoring celebrity Gaza tweets, told AFP on Tuesday.

Deleted within minutes

Rihanna -- who performed in Tel Aviv last year -- deleted her post within minutes, as did Howard who declared that he'd made a mistake and that he would never comment again on global affairs.

Dance-pop songstress Selena Gomez meanwhile caused a stir with an image on her Instagram account that began: "It's About Humanity. Pray for Gaza."

Her post generated 654,000 likes -- but got the racy TMZ.com gossip website asking if the 21-year-old former Disney child star was "pro-humanity or pro-Hamas."

"Maybe she doesn't realize Hamas has launched an untold number of missiles in an effort to destroy Israel, or maybe she supports it," it said. "We don't know."

"I am not picking any sides," she responded on Instagram. "I am praying for peace and humanity for all!” more

Chile, Peru recall envoys from Israel


Israel’s international isolation grows as Chile and Peru join other Latin American countries and recall their envoys from Tel Aviv.

"In the face of intensifying Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip, the government of Chile — in coordination with other administrations in the region — has resolved to recall the Chilean ambassador in Tel Aviv, Jorge Montero, to Santiago for consultations," the Chilean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

It also said that Israeli operations “breach fundamental norms in international humanitarian law,” referring to the civilian victims and strikes on hospitals and schools.

A similar statement was also published by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, condemning Israel's operation in Gaza.

Santiago and Lima’s move came nearly two weeks after Brazil and Ecuador recalled their ambassadors in protest against Israel’s atrocities in the coastal sliver.

Venezuela and Bolivia that cut their ties with Tel Aviv over Israel’s 2009 war on Gaza have also strongly condemned Israel's actions. more

Israeli shelling hits UN school, 'kills 15 Palestinians'


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- An Israeli shelling on a UN school in Gaza killed 15 people early Wednesday, medics said, as Palestinian factions were to head to Cairo to discuss a temporary humanitarian ceasefire.

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its 23rd day, international efforts to bring an end to the bloodshed that has killed more than 1,260 people continued apace, and concern grew over the high civilian death toll, especially among children.

Since the war began on July 8, when Israel launched a campaign to stop rocket fire from Gaza and destroy attack tunnels, a series of concerted international efforts to bring a truce have fallen flat.

On Wednesday morning, an Israeli shell slammed into a UN school being used as a shelter for those displaced by fighting, killing 15 people, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. more

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Video: Qassam fighters 'infiltrate Israel, kill soldier'


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A video aired on the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV station late Tuesday purports to show fighters from its military wing infiltrating Israel and killing a soldier.

The video, which has not been verified by Ma'an, shows several al-Qassam Brigades fighters climb out through a tunnel and enter an Israeli military base before engaging in a firefight with soldiers.



The footage then shows the militants killing a soldier, and later shows a masked fighter holding an Israeli assault rifle presumably taken during the raid.

Faces of the Hamas fighters are covered with black dots throughout the video and their voices are covered by a bleep noise, but the sound of what seems to be a soldier screaming is later heard underneath the bleeps. more

Death toll soars to over 1,200, 7000 wounded amid talk of truce


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Over 120 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes on Tuesday as leaders on both sides debated a proposed humanitarian ceasefire.

In the latest attack, two Palestinians were killed and three were injured in an Israeli airstrike on northern Rafah.

Additionally, the bodies of four Palestinians were recovered from rubble late Tuesday from earlier attacks on Rafah, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

A top PLO official, meanwhile, said that Palestinian factions in Gaza had agreed to a day-long humanitarian truce.

Yasser Abed Rabbo announced that after consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad there was "willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours."

A joint delegation headed by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas would travel to Cairo to take the next step, he added.

"This is more proof that we have a unified Palestinian stand," Abed Rabbo told reporters. "The delegation will head to Cairo under the PLO umbrella represented by President Mahmoud Abbas."

A Hamas spokesman quickly denied Hamas had agreed to the proposal.more

Israeli airstrikes target Palestinian TV station in Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes targeted offices belonging to the al-Aqsa TV station early Tuesday, a Palestinian media group said.

The Palestinian Journalist Bloc said in a statement Israeli forces struck the Hamas-affiliated station's offices in the al-Nasser neighborhood, the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, and the al-Rimal neighborhoods of Gaza City.

Al-Aqsa's broadcast stopped briefly after the strike on the al-Rimal neighborhood, although no injuries were reported.

The Bloc condemned what it called "crimes against journalists and media."

Hamas' station plays a "central role in managing the media battle against the Israeli lies," the Bloc said.

It said al-Aqsa channel was crucial for providing information on the ground in Gaza to several other Arabic media organizations.

The Israeli army confirmed the strikes on al-Aqsa's offices in an emailed statement. more

Hamas denies agreeing to PLO-Egypt inspired 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Tuesday denied that it had accepted a deal for a humanitarian ceasefire for 24 hours, contrary to earlier reports.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "Yasser Abed Rabbu's statement that Hamas agreed to a ceasefire for 24 hours is not true and has nothing to do with the resistance's stand."

"We will consider a ceasefire when Israel commits to it with international guarantees," Abu Zuhri added.

However, Yasser Abed Rabbo later said in a statement the Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal had agreed to the ceasefire proposal.

The Palestinian leadership had earlier declared they were "prepared" for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire for 24 hours, after Israeli bombardment since midnight had killed more than 100 Palestinians and injured hundreds, as well as knocking out the Gaza Strip's sole power plant. more

Egypt's Morsi salutes Palestinian resistance in Gaza


CAIRO (AFP) -- Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has praised the Palestinian "resistance" over the 21-day conflict with Israel in Gaza that has killed more than 1,030 people, mostly Palestinian civilians.

The Islamist leader, overthrown last July by Egypt's then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is on trial on charges for which he faces the death penalty.

Under Morsi's rule, Egypt brokered a truce in 2012 between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, after they fought a similar deadly war. Hamas is an offshoot of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group.

"Our compass is set on supporting Palestine against the usurping occupier and we are with any resistance against any occupier," Morsi said in a message posted on his official Facebook page late Sunday.

Militants in Gaza have sent hundreds of rockets into Israel during the conflict, most of them landing in open areas without causing damage or being intercepted by the Iron Dome. Three civilians in Israel have been killed by such attacks.

"A full salute to those who resist and to the revolutionaries," he said in remarks marking the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that ends the holy fasting month of Ramadan. more

2 settlers attempt to kidnap Palestinian child in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Two Israeli settlers attempted to "kidnap" a two-year old Palestinian from Jerusalem while he was walking with his father and two sisters in Shufat neighborhood in northern Jerusalem on Monday, the family said.

Taha Riyad Tufahha's father told Ma'an that he was taking a walk with his two daughters and two-year old son in Shufat when suddenly a Jewish settler approached and attempted to grab the child who was walking a few meters away from his father.

The father said that a group of people who were in the street intervened and prevented the kidnapping attempt, however.

The father added that the settler fled the place in a car with another woman towards the Ramot settlement.

Palestinians have reported numerous attempts at kidnapping children as well as mob attacks since early July, when three Israeli youths were found to have been killed after hitchhiking near a settlement in the West Bank. more

Moeen Ali defended by Cricket Board over 'Save Gaza' wristbands protest


Update 29 July 2014 11:00GMT - Moeen Ali has been thrreatened with disciplinary action if he wears Gaza wrist band again.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has defended Moeen Ali’s right to support the people of Gaza after he was photographed wearing wristbands bearing the slogans ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ during his innings against India on Monday.

The England team management had no prior knowledge of Ali wearing the bands but will not stop him from doing so again.

The International Cricket Council confirmed that it was investigating the matter and he could be charged under level one of the ICC’s code of conduct for breaching clothing regulations.

The regulations were brought in to police logos and sponsorship but also cover “messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes”. A level-one offence normally carries a fine from the match referee. The ICC code of conduct states: “Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment unless approved in advance by the player or team official’s Board. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes.”

However, an ECB spokesman said: “We do not believe Moeen has committed an offence.” more

Video: Celebrities, artists and activists call for Palestinian freedom in #GazaNames project


More info at freedom4palestine.org.
A press release explains the project:
A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights in a video released online today. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

“The Israeli leaders seem sincere when they say they believe that their actions are appropriate. Apparently, one of ‘us’ is worth many more of ‘them,’” said actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, who provides the voice-over narration for the video. “American leaders know they are lying when they defend the murder of children in their beds. And we, the public, pay for the bombs, pay for the airplanes, and pretend not to notice what’s going on.”

As Israel continues its assault against the occupied, besieged, and blockaded Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians since July 7, most of them civilians, a growing number of global citizens of conscience feel compelled to speak out against Israel’s disproportionate attack on the Palestinian people. In addition to those featured in this video, a growing number of celebrities have been speaking out via social media about the horrors we are witnessing in Gaza, as reported recently by BuzzFeed and The Hollywood Reporter.

“We wanted to provide a platform for the growing list of prominent individuals who are outraged by Israel’s brutal violence against Gaza’s civilian population,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization that co-produced the video. “Our message is that securing freedom and justice for Palestinians is the only pathway to a lasting peace.”

“My family was forced to flee our beloved Jerusalem in 1948 and every day since then, we have longed for freedom,” said Nina Saah, an 83-year-old Nakba survivor featured in the video. “What is happening in Gaza breaks my heart all over again. And yet I am so moved by all those who have come together in this video and the outpouring of support I am seeing for Palestinians. It gives me hope that the people of the world will be the ones to change our situation and that freedom and justice will come.”

“This is a scream on paper. This is a wail,” said playwright Eve Ensler, one of the artists featured in the video. “There are no more words. Only this moment where we rise against the illegal and deathly occupation of Palestine, against mass slaughter of the defenseless, against the complicit silence of the international community, against the military might and arrogance of the Israeli and the U.S. governments who choose annihilation over justice and love.” more

Video: Israelis chant 'There’s no school tomorrow, There’s no children left in Gaza! Oleh!'


Israelis in Tel Aviv, on 26.7.2014, the 19th day of Israel’s massacres in Gaza, cheer the genocide on: “There’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left there [in Gaza]! Oleh!”

Every evening, in Tel Aviv, right wing marchers flood the streets, waving Israeli flags and chanting hate-slogans, such as the most common, “death to the Arabs” and many others. Often, these are counter-protests to the anti-war demonstrations that have begun since Israel’s latest onslaught on the Gaza strip, but these are also independent initiatives, which aim to encourage the State of Israel to continue the bombardment with full force.

Israeli activists who oppose the war have become the victims of these rallies, as they turn into full-fledged riots. One of the activists testified that after the rally in the video, “a few of them started kicking and throwing punches, someone tried to beat us with a flag stick, and one rioter in an IDF uniform pepper sprayed me in the face…friends who stayed in the area told me that the cops shook the soldier’s hand.” more

Gaza power plant shut down, 40 dead in Israeli shelling Tuesday


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Gaza Strip's sole power plant shut down due to a large fire caused by Israeli shelling on Tuesday morning, after at least 40 were killed in a series of Israeli strikes from land, air, and sea since midnight.

The strikes brought the death toll in Gaza to 1,128, with more than 6,200 injured in 22 days of Israeli assault, as the Israeli military said it launched strikes on 70 "targets" across the Strip.

The military also announced its deadliest 24 hours since the beginning of the conflict, with 10 soldiers killed on Monday alone, bringing the total to 53.

The military admitted early Tuesday that five Israeli soldiers had been killed in a Palestinian militant attack through a tunnel into the southern Israeli area of Nahal Oz on Monday afternoon, after al-Qassam Brigades had claimed 10 dead. more

Monday, 28 July 2014

Israel army tells all north Gaza residents to flee their homes


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military on Monday evening sent text messages and phone calls to residents of all cities in the northern Gaza Strip and parts of Gaza City telling them to evacuate their homes "immediately," potentially displacing more than 400,000 people.

The military said in a statement that it had told the residents of Shujaiyya and Zaitoun neighborhoods in northern and eastern Gaza City as well Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun, and Beit Lahiya cities in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes and leave for central Gaza City.

The Israeli military has previously said that it would treat all civilians who stay behind in areas it had deemed off-limits to be combatants.

The warnings come after an Israeli drone strike killed 10 people in a playground in al-Shati, after Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel earlier in the day in response to Israeli shelling. more

Qassam Brigades says 10 Israeli soldiers killed in tunnel raid


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades on Monday said the group's fighters had killed 10 Israeli soldiers in an operation inside Israel east of al-Shujaiyya.

Al-Qassam said in a statement that its fighters infiltrated "behind enemy lines" and killed 10 soldiers.

All of its fighters had returned safely to base, the group added.

The Israeli army said in a statement that they had prevented an "attempted infiltration from the northern Gaza Strip through an offensive tunnel into Israel."

The statement added that "militants opened fire" at Israeli forces and "searches were being carried out to find them." more

10 children killed as bombs hit Gaza playground, hospital


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday bombed a park near the beach in Gaza City as well as al-Shifa hospital, killing at least 10 children on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, medics said.

The strike on the park hit a playground beside the al-Shati refugee camp, while the other strike hit the outpatient clinic of al-Shifa Hospital, which is the main hospital in the besieged coastal enclave.

The strike on the park -- which reports suggested was a drone strike -- hit the playground, killing 10 children as they played with their families while wearing holiday clothes they had been given to celebrate the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Eyewitnesses said that 40 were also injured in the strike, which some were calling an "Eid massacre."

The Israeli army, however, said that the deaths were a result of "failed rocket attacks" launched by Palestinian militants. more

91 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza war says al-Qassam Brigades


At least 91 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the launch of a deadly Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, Hamas's armed wing has claimed.

In a Monday statement, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades said that its fighters had killed 91 Israeli officers and soldiers in battles in the Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, hundreds of Israeli soldiers have also been injured in the Palestinian territory.

Israeli authorities say that 43 soldiers and three civilians have been killed since July 7 when Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of halting rocket fire. more

Anti-settler campaign launched in London as Hebron riots escalate


The “International Campaign for the Inclusion of Israeli Settler Groups in List of Terrorist Organizations” campaign was launched in London, on Sunday, as the West Bank continues to be consumed by antiwar demonstrations and ensuing confrontations. Israel resumed its assault on the Gaza Strip, Sunday, following a temporary ceasefire over the weekend, during which the Israeli army killed at least 10 Palestinians.

According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, campaign spokesperson Fadi Abu Siso said the group is preparing for a special meeting with lawmakers and policymakers from the British House of Commons, in order to discuss ways of incorporating the campaign into the policies of British political parties.

In addition to submitting a draft law in this regard, the campaign will continue to attract public support in helping to achieve its goals.

Over 500,000 Israelis currently live in settlements deemed illegal by the United Nations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, as they are constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, WAFA correspondence continues to report confrontations between Israeli forces and West Bank Palestinian protesters engaged in demonstrations over Israel's ongoing assaults on the already besieged Gaza Strip.

Confrontations have broken out across the southern West Bank governorate of Hebron, in which Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and poison gas towards local residents, shooting and injuring at least one man who was transferred to hospital for medical treatment. more

Israeli shelling kills 2 Palestinians, 7 bodies pulled from rubble


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The death toll in Gaza increased by nine on Monday as two Palestinians were killed by Israeli shelling in the north and seven bodies were pulled from rubble in the south, a Ma'an reporter said.

Israeli forces early afternoon shelled the al-Salam neighborhood in eastern Jabaliya, killing two Palestinians, one of them a child.

The shelling targeted houses the neighborhood, killing Muhammad Abu Luz, 22, and young Jibril Junaid.

Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades clashed with Israeli forces in the area, firing six mortars at soldiers.

They militants also fired at soldiers with small arms weaponry.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the incident.

Later, statement from the army said Israeli forces in various areas of Gaza had come under mortar fire.

Separately, Palestinian search teams were able to enter the village of Khuzaa, and collected seven dead bodies from rubble. more

Israel continues to reject Eid ceasefire - no rockets hit overnight


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The UN Security Council Monday joined US President Barack Obama in calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, after Israel and Hamas ignored calls for a truce despite mounting civilian casualties.

The Security Council resolution came during a lull in fighting in Gaza early Monday, the beginning of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival, after a day of strikes and counter-strikes.

A military spokeswoman told AFP that since midnight no Gaza rockets had hit Israel, and Israeli army had carried out no strikes in the Palestinian enclave.

Later in the morning, a rocket from Gaza fell in an open area in Ashkelon, according to an Israeli army statement.

The army said it "retaliated towards Beit Lahiya area."

The 15-member Council released a statement urging a truce during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. more

Palestinian killed by Israeli shell in Khan Younis


Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip have reported that an elderly Palestinian man was killed, late on Sunday at night, and another Palestinian was injured, after the army bombarded an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The sources said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Hussein Hasan Abu an-Naja, 65, and that the wounded Palestinian in the same attack suffered a serious injury.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said another Palestinian, identified as Imad Jami al-Abed al-Bardaweel, 44, died at the Shifa Medical Center of wounds suffered on July 11, 2014, in Gaza.

The Ministry said Israeli missiles and shells have killed 1035 Palestinians, including 236 children, 93 women and 47 elderly, since Israeli launched its assault against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, on July 8th.

Israeli missiles have injured at least 6233 Palestinians, including 1994 children and infants, 1169 women and 257 elderly, dozens are facing life-threatening injuries. more

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Turkey's IHH to send freedom flotilla 2 to Gaza - says with Turkish troops this time


The Turkish humanitarian relief organisation (IHH) is currently organising a "Freedom Flotilla II" which will carry humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, IHH chairman Bulent Yildrim said Thursday.

In statements to Gulf Online, Yildrim said that his organisation has embarked on legal procedures and paperwork required to obtain a permit for the trip. As soon as a final permit is issued, the IHH along with other international organisations will immediately set up the convoy.

The chairman of IHH, a major organiser of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla I, said that Turkish army troops will accompany the ships to protect it from any potential attack, pointing out that his organisation demanded the government to provide protection for them as Turkish citizens. more

Israel rejects UN and Hamas proposal for 24hr humanitarian ceasefire


Haaretz - 4:04 P.M. Israel rejects UN and Hamas proposal for a humanitarian pause in fighting in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli official says. more

Hamas agrees to 24-hour Gaza humanitarian truce starting 2 p.m.


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Hamas on Sunday belatedly said Palestinian factions had agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce, shortly after Israel announced a resumption of hostilities in Gaza following a day-long pause.

"In response to the UN's intervention request to monitor the situation ... it has been agreed between the resistance factions that a 24-hour humanitarian truce will start from 2:00 pm," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

Zuhri said the ceasefire would take place ahead of the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is expected to fall on Monday.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, and strikes continued to hit Gaza, including inside Gaza City. more

Two Palestinians beaten by Jerusalem racist mob


Two Palestinian youth were reportedly assaulted by a Jewish mob in Jerusalem, on Friday evening, according to Haaretz. Israeli forces vandalized the premises of public institutions, Saturday, in Al-Bireh.

Amir Shwiki and Samer Mahfouz, both 20 years old and from Beit Khanina, were apparently attacked with iron bars and baseball bats while walking to a Light Rail station, following the evening Ramadan meal.



"A man came from the direction of Neve Ya'akov (a Jerusalem neighborhood)," Samer told Haaretz. "He said give me a cigarette. I told him I don't have any, and he heard I'm Arab and went away, coming back with his friends, maybe 12 people. They had sticks and iron bars and they hit us over the head."



The two were seriously wounded and lost consciousness during the beating, upon which they were hospitalized in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem. more

Video: A global hip-hop call for Israel boycott


The ongoing slaughter in Gaza has brought a great many artists, musicians and celebrities out in support of Palestine. This is nothing new. In fact, every major Israeli offensive seems to grow the number of artists willing to speak up and stand against the crimes of the apartheid state.

But there’s support, and there’s solidarity. Both are of course welcome. But there’s a difference between expressing one’s outrage at a crime against humanity and outwardly answering the call from those who seek to end those same crimes. The track above is a solid attempt to do the latter.

What sticks out about “Boycott Israel,” and what allows it to work on a certain level, is the basic internationalism that the lineup itself embodies. The track is primarily from Don Martin, one-third of Norwegian hip-hop group Gatas Parlament, who for twenty-plus years have been something roughly akin to Norway’s version of Public Enemy. Martin’s bandmate Elling Borgersrud once ran for public office as a member of the far-left Red Electoral Alliance.

It also features what can reasonably be called a global consortium of militant hip-hop notables: well-known Peruvian-American rapper Immortal Technique, El Tipo Este of Cuban duo Obsesion, Parisian rapper Tonto Noiza, and Jonnesburg-based Tumi Molekane. As if to drive the globalism home, each artist raps in their native tongue.

Generally, it’s impressive that the whole track is built around informing listeners of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions without sounding like a pamphlet (though it sometimes comes close).more

Resumed Israeli strikes kill 6 Palestinians in Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six Palestinians were killed and several others were injured Sunday in Gaza after Israeli forces resumed attacks, an official said.

Ashraf al-Qidra told reporters that two Palestinian men were killed in al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

He identified the two as 27-year-old Ibrahim Khalil Dirawi and 24-year-old Alaa Nahid Matar.

Additionally, an Israeli attack on Khan Younis killed Issam Abu Saadah and Hazim Abu Shamalah in the al-Zanna area.

He said later that two Palestinians were killed east of Khan Younis in an Israeli airstrike on a motorcycle. more

Saturday, 26 July 2014

'Temporary truce' extended additional 4 Hours - at least 135 Bodies recovered


During the brief halt in Israeli bombardment on Saturday, Palestinian residents and medics have managed to retrieve the bodies of 135 Palestinians, mainly in Shuja’eyya, whose deaths had previously gone unreported because their whereabouts were unknown. Around 7 pm, Israeli officials announced that they would hold off on the resumption of bombardment of Gaza until 11 pm.

The Hamas party in Gaza had called for a ten-year truce with Israel, based on several conditions: that Israel lift the siege on Gaza that began in 2006 and has devastated the Palestinian economy, that Palestinians abducted by Israel since early June be released, and that access to travel to Jerusalem be restored.

These conditions, which are based in international law and are basic human rights under internationally-recognized conventions, have been rejected outright by Israeli authorities, who refused to even consider an extension of the 12-hour ‘temporary ceasefire’ for one week.

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the French Foreign Minister had pleaded with Israel to extend the ceasefire at least for a few days, but Israeli officials refused.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters, "We all call on parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire. We all want to obtain a lasting ceasefire as quickly as possible that addresses both Israeli requirements in terms of security and Palestinian requirements in terms of socioeconomic development." more

Israel arrests activist for hosting Skype chat with resistance icon Leila Khaled

Israel, reputedly the only democracy in the Middle East, is willing to arrest its own citizens for communicating on the Internet.

That was the experience of Samih Jabarin when he recently arranged for Leila Khaled, the Palestinian resistance icon, to address the al-Warsheh cultural center in Haifa — a city in present-day Israel — via Skype.

As soon as Khaled had completed her opening remarks and invited questions from members of the audience, three Israeli secret police officers entered the center unnoticed and quietly escorted Jabarin, its owner, from the building. He was released after interrogation later that night (11 July), but al-Warsheh was closed by police two days later.

Shabak, Israel’s secret service (also known as the Shin Bet), had previously tried to pressure Jabarin into canceling the event.

“The Shabak called me that Friday morning [11 July] and demanded that I come to their Haifa offices for interrogation,” he told The Electronic Intifada. “I refused because it was dangerous — how could I be sure it wasn’t some extremist from Im Tirtzu or another right-wing Zionist group?

“’Okay,’ they told me, ‘we will have to arrest you tonight,’ which they did.” more

Survivors of massacre in Khuza’a say Israeli forces used Palestinians as human shields


Survivors of the Israeli massacre in Khuza’a say Israeli forces are using Palestinians as human shields and killing civilians as they attempt to receive medical care from the Red Cross or flee the besieged village. Khuza’a resident Abu Ali Qudail told Yousef Alhelou: “I was watching members of my family dying in front of me, some of them were torn to pieces. Rami, Ibrahim, Alia, Haj Abed died..we had to leave them behind, as soon as we reached one of the Khan Younis schools we entered it to seek shelter but it was very crowded with people who fled their homes. Its hard to see people dying and you do not know what to do. One of my relatives’ homes were struck while they were inside.” Above, ambulances wait to evacuate wounded people from Khuza’a on July 23, 2014. more

Shell-shocked residents return to find Shujaiyya in rubble


As if struck by an earthquake, vast swathes of the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiyya have been reduced to rubble, with unknown numbers of burnt and decaying bodies buried below.

As a 12-hour ceasefire took effect Saturday, survivors began to venture out of their homes to survey what was left, while those who had fled cautiously returned to see what had become of the only homes they had ever known.

As of 2 p.m., medical teams had already recovered 85 bodies from the rubble.

Shell-shocked residents, meanwhile, wandered through the neighborhood, with one local telling Ma'an that returnees "could not even find the location of their houses."

Yasser Hamdiyya, who lost four members of his family in the assault so far, came to check on his four-story building in Shujaiyya.

He told Ma'an that the building used to house 22 people, but upon his return he found only a pile of stones. At least 20 neighboring buildings had been leveled as well, he said. more

Gaza death toll surpasses 1,000 as bodies recovered


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip rose to over 1,000 on Saturday amid a brief truce, as some 135 bodies were pulled from the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks throughout the besieged coastal enclave, medics said.

The bodies were found on the 19th day of Israel's assault on Gaza, during a 12-hour truce in which many Gaza residents picked through the ruins of their homes.

Meanwhile, Israeli TV said that Israel's security cabinet had approved a four-hour extension of the truce, prolonging the ceasefire until midnight.

As the brief period of calm took effect Saturday, survivors began to venture out of their homes to survey what was left, while those who had fled cautiously returned to see what had become of their abandoned houses.

The updated death toll was announced as Israeli officials considered extending the truce even longer, on the condition that the army continue targeting tunnels in Gaza, Israeli media said.

News site Ynet quoted a government source as saying an Israeli cabinet meeting was scheduled to take place at 9:30 pm to discuss the possibility. more

PRC claims to have killed Israeli soldier near Nablus


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades said on Saturday that its fighters shot and killed an Israeli soldier near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

In a statement released from Gaza, the group said that fighters with the group opened fire at an Israeli military jeep "from a close distance at the Itamar settlement east of Nablus" at around 1:10 a.m.

"Our fighters confirmed that they killed an Israeli soldier in the jeep before they withdrew unharmed," the statement added.

The group warned that military operations would continue in the West Bank in response to the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. more

Thousands take to NY streets to protest Israeli offensive in Gaza


Thousands of people took to the streets of New York City on Friday evening to protest Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and demand an end to the violence that has already killed nearly 850 Palestinians.

Waving Palestinian flags and signs condemning Israel for the offensive, many called for an end to U.S. aid to the country.

“We’re trying to break the siege and end the killing in Palestine. We just want them to live like human beings,” said Ramsey Jamal, 37, a Palestinian-American from Montgomery, New York.

On his shoulders sat his 8-year-old son, Moses, who carried a placard reading: “Israel I’m just a kid. Please don’t kill me,” alongside marks resembling a child’s bloody handprints.

Israel began its offensive earlier this month, citing a surge in rocket attacks launched from Hamas militants in Gaza. more

2 killed as tens of thousands protest Israeli assault across West Bank


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured across the West Bank on Friday night as Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators protesting in solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip.

Thousands took part in rallies in Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, and dozens of other towns and villages across the West Bank that were called for by all Palestinian parties and factions.

The rallies come after a day of heavy protests across the West Bank, with six deaths as thousands took part in a "Day of Rage" following the largest protest since the Second Intifada on Thursday which brought more than 20,000 to a march at Qalandia checkpoint. more