Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hamas: Attempt to disarm resistance futile


The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said on Saturday that any international attempt to disarm Palestinian resistance would be worthless.

Hamas's spokesperson Sami Abu-Zuhri said in statements to Anadolu that any project that aims at disarming resistance would be a violation of international law.

"What is needed is the disarmament of Israeli army and preventing the US administration from providing it with weapons used in killing women and children," he said.

Diplomats at the United Nations have revealed that efforts are currently being made to reach a decision at the Security Council which would constitute a long-term solution that would prevent the recurrence of a battle between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel.

Israel demands the disarming of Hamas's military wing as a precondition for any lasting truce.

The Palestinian and Israeli sides signed an Egyptian-sponsored long-term ceasefire agreement on Tuesday. Palestinian resistance factions consider the agreement a "victory" and stressed that they have achieved most of their goals during the battle with Israel.

The agreement, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry, calls for a comprehensive and mutual ceasefire as well as the immediate opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel to allow for the entrance of humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials.

The agreement also stipulates the extension of Gaza's Mediterranean fishing zone and the continuation of the negotiations over all other issues, such as prisoners, the airport and the seaport, to take place within a month of the ceasefire. more

Palestinian officials slam Israeli land confiscation in West Bank


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called for diplomatic action against Israel in response to its move to annex 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) of Palestinian land south of Bethlehem in the West Bank on Sunday.

"The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land," Erekat told AFP.

"The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of constant settlement expansion on land the Palestinians claim for a future state is deemed illegal by the European Union and an "obstacle to peace" by the United States and opposed by both.

"Today's announcement clearly represents Israel's deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land and to willfully impose a de facto one-state solution," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said.

Some 550,000 Israelis live among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community. more

New book reveals top-secret collusion between Israel, US during 20 years of 'peace talks'


“I’ll back you and protect you, I’m your guy … it’s very upsetting … all the Arabs are the same,” US President Bill Clinton told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in a 19 July 2000 meeting during the failed Camp David summit with Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat.

Only months earlier, in March 2000, Clinton displayed the same kind of obeisance to Barak — albeit without the racist slur this time — when he explained, “I’ll do my best … I’ve gone through the script … I’ll do a good job.” He said this while he attempted to reassure Barak during another failed summit, this time with then-president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.

That the US government has acted as Israel’s attorney rather than an honest mediator in peace negotiations has been known for some time, ever since the disclosure of a secret 1975 letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

But these quotes from Ahron Bregman’s Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories (2014), which includes the actual “script” agreed upon between Clinton and Barak, make graphically clear the extent of the collusion between the two governments.

Top secret disclosures

Bregman’s book breaks new ground with a number of leaked top secret disclosures from Israeli sources. It shows that the recent revelation that Israel eavesdropped on current US Secretary of State John Kerry is really nothing new.

Israel also secretly recorded conversations between Clinton and Assad back in 2000. The only question unanswered is why, given the extent of the collusion, the Israeli government believed it was necessary to eavesdrop on its counterpart. more

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Jordanian MP brings 250 tons of medical supplies to Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Jordanian member of parliament Muhammad al-Dawayima arrived in Gaza bringing with him 250 tons of medicines and medical equipment as humanitarian aid continues to flow in to the devastated Palestinian coastal enclave.

"God has honored me with a visit to Gaza during the war and aggression, and here I am visiting it again after the victory," al-Dawayima said as he crossed the border into Gaza via Egypt's Rafah crossing.

An official Palestinian delegation representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the Jordanian delegation at the crossing.

The Jordanian lawmaker also said that he had started to work on an initiative to build a fully-equipped hospital in the Gaza Strip in areas which suffer from a lack of medical services. more

PLC calls on Egypt to permanently open Rafah crossing


GAZA,(PIC)-- The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) appealed to the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing permanently and facilitate the travel of the wounded civilians for medical treatment.

Khamis Al-Najjar, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded in a statement issued on Friday the opening of Rafah crossing permanently before the injured people and medical supplies convoys.

He hailed the Palestinian medical crews for the heroic efforts they had made during the Israeli aggression against Gaza, condemning the deliberate targeting of hospitals and ambulances by Israeli warplanes.

Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, including more than 490 children, were killed and over 11,000 were injured during the war on Gaza. more

2 Palestinians die of wounds inflicted during Israel's war on Gaza


The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported that two Palestinians died on Friday of wounds suffered during the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The Ministry stated Mohammad al-Ma’sawani, 22, suffered a very serious injury in an Israeli bombardment near al-Fairouz towers, northwest of Gaza City.

He succumbed to his serious injuries despite all efforts to save his live.

Also, an elderly woman, identified as Widad Abu Zeid died at an Egyptian hospital of wounds suffered after the army bombarded her family home in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Several family members, including children were killed in the Israeli attack.

Ministry of Health: “2145 Palestinians, Including 578 Children, Killed In Israel’s Aggression” more

Victory celebrations in the streets of Gaza after prayers


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians across the Gaza Strip turned out in the thousands for prayers and a victory march on Friday, as many savoured their first opportunity in 50 days to attend Friday prayers in Gaza mosques without fear of Israeli bombardment.

Although a local council estimates one-third of mosques were damaged in the Israeli assault -- including 72 totally destroyed -- Palestinians flocked to services as political leaders took to the podiums to stress the need for national unity after what they deemed an unprecedented victory against Israel.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said during a Friday prayer sermon in a mosque in the devastated eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shujaiyya that Palestinians have entered "a new age today and a new stage of national unity by choosing to win and support the resistance."

"The war on Gaza should eliminate all previous internal disagreements," he added, calling upon the national unity government to fulfill its responsibilities related to ensuring Israel open the borders and allow reconstruction.

"In this war, we captured back the rights that Israel stole while taking the (political) division as an excuse," he said, highlighting that since a April 24 Palestinian unity agreement the nation was better equipped to confront Israeli aggression.

On Tuesday, Palestinian forces signed a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel in what many deemed a major victory for the resistance against Israel, after a seven-week bombardment that left more than 2,140 dead and more than 100,000 homeless. more

Friday, 29 August 2014

Former US envoy says war on Gaza ends two-state solution hopes


Former US Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk said the recent war waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip "may have put a new nail in the coffin of the two state solution" warning of the negative path of relations between the United States and Israel, Israel's Channel 10 reported.

Indyk said the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" damaged relations between the United States and Israel to a great extent and reinforced tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

He pointed out that "in spite of the solid foundation in the relations between the two countries, the situation could change following the Israeli operation against the Gaza Strip."

Indyk warned of poll results which reveal a decline in the support among young people and democrats for Israel, saying that if the situation continues at this pace, Israel "will find itself in a new situation other than the one it is used to". more

One-third of Gaza's mosques destroyed by Israeli strikes


The Israeli onslaught on Gaza demolished 73 mosques in 51 days, while 205 others were partially destroyed, a government report said.

According to a committee formed by the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Construction, the damages caused by Israeli aggression on houses of worship, tombs, and charity offices amount to $40.4 million.

The only two churches in Gaza were also hit and partially damaged, while the gates of 10 tombs were destroyed.

The affected mosques represent one-third of Gaza's mosques, the committee said.

Among the destroyed mosques were historical ones, particularly Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalya which dates back to 649 AD. more

Settlers chop down Palestinian-owned orchard near Hebron


Israeli settlers, on Thursday cut down around 30 Palestinian-owned trees in an area to the north of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, according to a local media source.

Spokesperson of the popular committee against settlement activities, Mohammad Ayyad, told WAFA Palestinina News & Info Agency that people from the illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Beit Ein, cut down around 30 olive, peach and vine trees belonging to one Hammad Islibi.

Settlers have been targeting Islibi’s land, according to Mr. Ayyad, and have cut down around 300 trees over the past five years. more

Gaza fishermen reap rewards as restrictions eased


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian fishermen in Gaza say they are already seeing the benefits of an extended fishing zone, with thousands of kilograms of fresh produce caught only days after Tuesday's ceasefire agreement.

Fishermen say they have brought home a varied catch of sardines, squid, shrimps, crabs and lax to Gaza's markets since Tuesday, with some varieties of fish unavailable for years due to Israeli restrictions.

Muhammad Abu Arab, a local fisherman, told Ma'an that "when these huge amounts of fish are available the demand increases and we sell it for cheaper prices. We can hardly wait to be allowed to fish 9 or 12 miles (from the coast)."

"We could not even see these types of fish when we were allowed only three miles out," he added.

Fisherman Faraj Qasem said he now sells shrimp for 35 shekels per kilo, compared to previous prices of up to 70 shekels due to a scarcity in produce.

"We carried one thousand kilograms of fish on the boat today," Qasem said, adding that this quantity and variety of fish is simply unavailable 3 miles from the coast. more

Gaza children left orphaned by Israel's bloody war


"She will call me Daddy and Mummy," insisted 11-year-old Amir Hamad, cradling his infant sister in his arms after the Gaza war left him and his four siblings orphans.

Fifty days of bloody fighting in and around the war-torn Gaza Strip has cost the lives of nearly 500 children, but it has also turned hundreds more into orphans, who face a future deprived of their parents' love.

"I would rather be dead than without my mother and father," Amir told AFP, saying he would never forget that fateful moment on the second day of the war when they were killed.

"My parents were drinking their coffee in the evening after breaking the (Ramadan) fast, when a bomb fell onto our home," he said, recalling how an Israeli air strike hit their home in northern Gaza.

"I saw them lying on the ground and knew immediately they were dead," said Amir, the oldest of the five children. His sister Lamis, just four-months-old, is the youngest.

Amir's six-year-old brother Nur had laid motionless, his face covered in blood.

"Two paramedics took him," Amir recalled, watching Nur who is now sitting safely next to him.

"I'll look after my brothers and sisters. But I'm scared, because my parents are no longer here to help me."

There are still adult figures in the family -- the grandmother and grandfather.

The grandmother Afaf Hamad, 60, was displaced by fighting that made almost half a million people homeless, but said she would do whatever to look after the five children.

But she has no idea how she will fund their education.

"I'll never leave them, I'll raise them as I did my daughter," she said.

"But how will we pay for school?" more

Israeli soldier succumbs to rocket wounds, raising Israeli death toll to 72


From Haaretz - An Israeli soldier who was critically wounded by a Gaza-rocket which exploded in Gan Yavne last Friday succumbed to his wounds, raising the number of fatalities on the Israeli side to 72. more

50 days of war in Gaza likely to cost Israel dearly


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel may be painting a victorious picture of the war in Gaza, but 50 days of fighting looks set to cost it dearly on the political, economic and diplomatic fronts.

Under attack by hawks in his cabinet for accepting a ceasefire which ended the violence on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet as the military operation, which began on July 8, dragged on for seven weeks.

But on Wednesday, Netanyahu presented his defense: Hamas, he said, was hit "very hard" and did not receive anything it had demanded in exchange for halting its fire, namely a port and an airport in Gaza.

Such matters are to be discussed, along with Israel's demand for Gaza militants to disarm, at a new round of talks which will take place in Cairo within the coming month.

But already, Israel has begun staking out its position - that there will be no port, nor an airport and no entry of any building materials that could be used by militants to manufacture rockets or build tunnels or other fortifications.

On the military front, Netanyahu also outlined Israel's achievements - the destruction of a network of attack tunnels and the elimination of "approximately 1,000 terrorists," among them senior military commanders.

He also listed the performance of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which shot down 735 rockets heading for populated areas, which the army said equated to a 90 percent success rate.

Throughout the war, 70 people were killed on the Israeli side, 64 of them soldiers. Of the civilians who died, all of them were killed by short-range mortar shells which struck close to the border within a range that Iron Dome cannot intercept. more

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Israel approves Jewish religious school in heart of East Jerusalem


Israel's Jerusalem municipality has approved plans to build a Jewish religious school in the heart of occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinian activists and Israeli media said.

The Ohr Somayach yeshiva will occupy a nine-story building in the middle of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Haaretz reported.

The plan was reportedly approved six months ago by Jerusalem's Municipal Planning and Building Committee and given the go ahead on Wednesday.

A Ma'an reporter said the building will occupy 1,900 square meters and have three underground floors.

The religious school will be located between the al-Hayat Medical Center and the Nasif gas station.

Activist and Sheikh Jarrah resident Salih Diab told Ma'an that the building of a Jewish religious school, and the implementation of evacuation orders against Palestinian residents, will turn Sheikh Jarrah into a "Jewish neighborhood."

The land was reportedly confiscated in the 1980s under Israel's Absentee Property Law of 1950, which had been used as a tool to annex Palestinian land.

A 2013 report prepared by the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem said that the law has been used extensively in Jerusalem to confiscate property and land owned by West Bank Palestinians. more

Aid convoys trundle into Gaza as ceasefire holds


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Life in Gaza resumed some semblance of normality Wednesday as a long-term truce took hold following a deal hailed by Israel and Hamas as 'victory' in the 50-day war.

Millions in and around the war-torn enclave enjoyed a welcome day of peace during which there were no strikes on Gaza, nor Palestinian rockets fired at Israel, the Israeli army said.

More than 200 tonnes of aid from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey trundled into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, a border official said.

Earlier, a World Food Programme aid convoy headed into Gaza from Egypt for the first time since 2007, carrying enough food to last 150,000 people for five days, the Geneva-based agency said.

Jawad Ayad returned to his home after being away for 38 days. Although it was partially destroyed, he said Gaza's "patience" had paid off in the end.

"We have been through difficult days and made a lot of sacrifices, but God has granted us victory," said Ayad, a man in his 50s.

"I hope that this war will be the last." more

Poll: 54 per cent of Israelis believe they lost the war


A poll conducted by the Shiluv Millward Brown market research group after the announcement of the long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions showed that 54 per cent of the Israelis surveyed believe that Israel lost the war in Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The poll, the results of which were broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 television on Wednesday evening, found that only 32 per cent of Israelis polled think that the performance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was good, whereas 59 per cent rate his performance as bad.

Assabeel newspaper noted that recent polls have shown that support for Netanyahu has dramatically decreased over the last few weeks, falling from from 37 to 32 per cent in the past few days alone. Netanyahu's approval ratings were 55 per cent two weeks ago, 65 per cent three weeks ago and 82 per cent during Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. more

Israeli forces fire warning shots near Gaza border


Israeli forces fired warning shots near the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, Israel's army said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said warning shots were fired in the air after a crowd of Palestinians began hurling rocks at the security fence.

The crowd dispersed following the gunfire, she added.

The incident took place east of Gaza City in an area adjacent to the Nahal Oz kibbutz, Israeli media reported.

The Israeli security buffer zone around Gaza was meant to be reduced following Tuesday's ceasefire agreement, with farmers initially reporting that they were able to access their fields 100 meters from the border fence. more

Gaza officials say terms of ceasefire being implemented


Israel authorities have begun implementing the terms of a ceasefire agreement that went into effect early Tuesday, officials in Gaza said, as life slowly began returning to normal after 50 days of bombardment on the besieged coastal enclave.

As Palestinian farmers returned to their fields and fishermen began venturing out to the sea again, the situation had noticeably improved from before the war.

Officials told Ma'an that farmers were able to tend to fields around 100 meters from the border fence, suggesting that the Israeli security buffer zone has been drastically reduced from its previous range.

Before Israel's recent Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces opened fire on those who entered the buffer zone, which ranged from 500-1500 meters from the border and encompassed 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.

The effects of the newly-signed long-term ceasefire agreement could also be witnessed on the sea, where Gaza's 4,000 fisherman cautiously began venturing out again after being shot at numerous times by Israeli forces in recent weeks. more

IFRC: 250,000 Palestinians displaced by Gaza strikes

“The military operations in the Gaza Strip, in which civilians and civilian objects were attacked, has led to the displacement of around 250,000 Palestinians who now live in public and UNRWA schools-turned-shelters,” said Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Crescent and Red Crescent Societies, and President of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, Tuesday.

According to WAFA, the news was announced during a meeting with President of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, Younis Al Khatib, at the National Society’s Headquarters in Ramallah, occupied West Bank.

Al Khatib “touched on the effects of the conflict on Palestine Red Crescent Society teams, branches and ambulances in the Gaza Strip. Since the conflict began, two ambulances have been destroyed with a further 27 damaged, 46 staff have been injured and four branch offices extensively damaged,” the statement detailed. more

Egyptian soldiers kill Palestinian exiting tunnel near Rafah


Egyptian soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man on Wednesday by a smuggling tunnel near Rafah, Egyptian security sources said.

Egyptian border guards spotted two people exiting a tunnel near Rafah and opened fire, injuring one man in the abdomen.

Muhammad Izzat Abd al-Aziz, 22, later died in an Egyptian hospital in el-Arish.

The other man managed to escape.

Security sources said al-Aziz may have been attempting to smuggle African migrants into Israel from Egypt. more

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Haniyeh hails Palestinian resistance victory in massive Gaza rally


Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh greeted thousands of Palestinians in a central Gaza square on Wednesday in a massive victory rally following the signing of a long-term ceasefire that concluded 50 days of intense conflict with Israel.

The speech followed the release of polls earlier in the day showing widespread belief in Gaza that the Palestinian military resistance had increased its deterrence capacity and overwhelming support for the firing of rockets into Israel.

In his speech, Haniyeh hailed the people of Gaza and the resistance forces for their steadfastness in the fight against Israel, which claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians -- the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians -- and left 64 Israeli soldiers dead, in addition to six civilians in Israel.

"Those whose blood was spilled and the martyrs were the fuel of this victory," Haniyeh said during the rally, emphasizing to the crowd of thousands that the resistance had been preparing for the battle for years.

"It is not possible to express this victory with words and speeches," he added.

"The victory is beyond the limits of time and place. This battle is a war that lacks a precedent in the history of conflict with the enemy," he said, stressing that the group was preparing for the "ultimate battle" for the liberation of Palestine.

"The war began with fire on Haifa and ended with fire on Haifa," he told the crowd, highlighting the fact that Hamas had managed to fight throughout the seven-week Israeli assault and emerged with its military strength intact.

"The Palestinians who couldn't celebrate Eid al-Fitr because of the fighting and because they were on the battlefield, today celebrate the celebration of victory." more

Jerusalem faces largest surge in arrests since 2nd Intifada


Palestinian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada, with a marked increase in Israeli police brutality and the collective punishment of entire neighborhoods, local organizations say.

The mass detentions began following widespread demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat after the murder of teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir on July 2.

Since then, over 770 Palestinians have been detained in East Jerusalem, according to Addameer prisoner rights group.

The arrests in Jerusalem took place parallel to a wide-reaching detention campaign in the West Bank, which saw between 800-1,000 Palestinians detained following the kidnapping of three Israeli youths on June 12.

Although the majority have been released, police brutality, the bail conditions set for detainees and a system of closures on Palestinian areas have made life difficult for individuals and whole neighborhoods alike.

Around 70 Palestinians detained are still in police custody, with many transferred to detention cells in Lod after the Russian Compound in Jerusalem reached full capacity.

"It's collective punishment for all Jerusalem residents," Mahmoud Qaraeen from the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan told Ma'an. more

Israel lost the war in Gaza but the struggle for justice goes on


There is one clear reason to celebrate the ceasefire deal Israel and the Palestinian resistance reached today: 51 days and nights of relentless Israeli massacres and destruction have come to an end in Gaza.

With reports that Israel has agreed to reopen Gaza’s borders, Hamas announced victory and Palestinians, especially in Gaza, are celebrating. Among many Israelis, meanwhile, there is a feeling of bitterness and defeat.

“What Netanyahu and his colleagues have brought down on Israel, in a conflict between the region’s strongest army and an organization numbering 10,000, is not just a defeat. It’s a downfall,” wrote Haaretz’s Amir Oren in a stunning admission of how much Israel has been set back.

Some observers are treating the latest events with understandable caution.

“I do not feel in a rejoicing mood, only glad that no more people and children will die,” Gaza writer Omar Ghraieb wrote to me.

In addition to the more than 2,100 killed, “so many people got injured, houses got bombed, towers got leveled and life got deformed,” Ghraieb adds. “I would rather just watch closely what awaits Gaza.”

Indeed, Israel has a long history of violating almost every agreement it has ever signed with Palestinians, from the 1993 Oslo accords to previous ceasefires in Gaza.

Israel agreed to open the crossings as part of its November 2012 ceasefire deal with the Palestinian resistance, but reneged. This time Israel knows the stakes are much higher if it violates those terms again. more

Skies calm over Gaza as truce takes hold


The skies over the Gaza Strip were calm Wednesday as a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians took hold after 50 days of the deadliest violence in a decade.

Millions in and around the war-torn enclave enjoyed a welcome night of peace during which there were no strikes on Gaza, nor Palestinian rockets fired at Israel, the Israeli army said.

"Since the truce came into force, there has been no IDF activity in Gaza, and no rocket fire on Israel," a military spokeswoman said 12 hours after the guns on both sides fell silent.

In Gaza, where celebrations erupted once the truce took hold on Tuesday, the festivities continued late into the night as its 1.8 million residents revelled in the end of seven weeks of bloody violence.

The conflict, which began on July 8 when Israel began Operation Protective Edge in a bid to stamp out cross-border rocket fire, has claimed the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 70 on the Israeli side. more

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

In last interview, Auschwitz survivor urged Palestinians "not to give up their fight"


From The Electronic Intifada, by Adri Nieuwhof - I mourn the loss of Hajo Meyer, a friend who fearlessly raised his voice to combat Zionism and to express his support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and equality. Hajo passed away in his sleep on 23 August, just days after his ninetieth birthday.

Hajo was born in 1924 and had to flee alone from Nazi Germany at the age of 14 because the Nazis would not allow him to attend school anymore. His parents sent him to the Netherlands in January 1939.

A year later, the Netherlands was occupied by Germany. In 1943, Hajo went into hiding but was captured by the Gestapo in March 1944 and deported to the Auschwitz death camp where the Nazis tattooed number “179679” on his arm.

After the war, Meyer returned to the Netherlands where he had a long career as a physicist. He also took up making violins in his retirement.

In a previous interview with The Electronic Intifada, Hajo said: “For as long as I can, I will continue to utter my criticism of inhuman Zionist behavior.”

On 29 July, I traveled to Meyer’s home in Heiloo in the Netherlands, to discuss the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, where the tired Hajo gave The Electronic Intifada his last interview.

I asked Hajo how he felt. “I can’t answer you positively, due to old age which prevents me from any activity in supporting the Palestinians,” he replied. “To be that old comes with such great loss of capacities, it is quite a task,” he said.

He reflected on how lucky he was to survive Auschwitz with some comrades.

Reber Dosky, a Kurdish refugee residing in the Netherlands, made My Good Fortune in Auschwitz (2012), a short documentary about Hajo’s survival with his comrade Jos Slagter. In the documentary, Hajo plays one of the melancholic Yiddish tunes he used to test the sound of the violins he had made (watch it below — with English subtitles).


When I spoke to him, Hajo denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accusations that the large demonstrations against Israel’s attacks on Gaza are an expression of an increasing hatred against Israel.

“If we want to stay really human beings, we must get up and call the Zionists what they are: Nazi criminals,” Meyer said. The hate of the Jews by the Germans “was less deeply rooted than the hate of the Palestinians by the Israeli Jews,” he observed. “The brainwashing of the Jewish Israeli populations is going on for over sixty years. They cannot see a Palestinian as a human being.” more

Israelis at war over the implications of defeat in Gaza


From Israel's Jerusalem Post - Murmurs of dissatisfaction rose from the political Left and Right Tuesday night, after Israel agreed to a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Eshkol Regional Council chairman Haim Yellin indicated that he does not trust the cease-fire will last, saying residents of his constituency who evacuated should not return to their homes.

"It doesn't interest me what the government or Hamas say. I will only call on residents to return when I feel like there's a real cease-fire," Yellin told Channel 10 news.

Yellin also called on cabinet ministers to stay in the Eshkol Regional Council and make their decisions from there, not Jerusalem.

Just as half of the cabinet ministers were opposed to the cease-fire, many in the coalition expressed similar opinions.

Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel said "any agreement that doesn't include eliminating the rocket threat on residents of Israel and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip is less than half of what is necessary.

"In this reality, the defense establishment will have no choice but to prepare for the next round, which will be soon," Ariel added.

According to MK Danny Danon (Likud), in the Middle East, restraint is seen as weakness.

"Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat Hamas," he stated. "Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up and in the end we're back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defense." more

An Israeli view from Haaretz: After seven weeks of Gaza war, Hamas 1, Israel 0


From Haaretz - Is what started on 7.7 going to really end after seven weeks? Will both sides finally stop shooting at each other, wrap up Operation Protective Edge and start recovering from it?

The feeling in Tel Aviv is that this time the end is really near, on the assumption that the mutual concessions on the table are enough for both Israel and Hamas – or more accurately, are preferable to sticking to objectives that are not currently achievable.

A cold calculation of costs vs. benefits compared to the situation that prevailed on July 7 seems to show that Israel lost more. All it got was a restoration of the previous situation without anything to show for it, while it paid with 68 deaths, hundreds of wounded, and thousands of people uprooted from their homes. Although in each of those categories Israel’s loss represents only about 3 percent of what the Palestinians in Gaza suffered, there was no perceptible return on Israel’s investment. The Palestinians bled a lot more, but after less than two months of fire they can point to a potential improvement in their situation, which is the goal of any show of force.

In addition to the Israeli casualties, Hamas managed to disrupt life in Israel in a number of ways: A partial suspension of flights into Ben-Gurion Airport; the delay of the opening matches of the Premier League soccer season, and the cancellation of numerous concerts, performances, demonstrations and other public events, and the threat of a possible delay in opening the school year. For a time the communities near the border fence became an updated version of “Gush Katif,” the settlements that had to be evacuated from Gaza nine years ago.

Hamas deterred Israel’s defense minister, the celebrated hero of the paratroopers and the General Staff, from visiting Nahal Oz, on grounds that the damage caused by a mortar shell or by being forced to take shelter from one would give Hamas a photographic prize, as if there is no victory in forcing the defense minister to avoid visiting in the first place.

Israel extracted a tactical and not substantive concession from Hamas with regard to demilitarization that is effectively an Israeli concession. The Israeli demand to demilitarize the Strip was not realistic from the start. A demilitarized state can be established as a condition for transferring control there to a new sovereign – for example, in the West Bank, when the Palestinian Authority becomes a state – or following the surrender of the regime in it, as in Japan and Germany, where the Americans, within only a few years, came to regret their demands at the end of World War II as they sought strong allies for World War III, against the Soviets.

To expect Hamas, an organization that controls the Strip, to carry out a suicide attack by firing thousands of rockets and turning all the others into scrap, was noble but not serious. Insistence on it extended the conflict until in the end Israel folded and consigned demilitarization to the future. Hamas’ concession is that it agreed to allow demilitarization to be floated as a concept, to be addressed during future talks that may or may not take place, rather than having it dropped as if it had never been mentioned. When the time comes, a softer term will be chosen, like “arms control” or “thinning,” which without a mechanism for inspection, enforcement, and punishment for violations will also be of limited significance. more

Senior Hamas official: Israel agreed to open Gaza crossings


Israel has agreed to open Gaza crossings to allow the flow of humanitarian aid and construction material, senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said Tuesday.

Speaking to Ma’an, Abu Marzouq added that three more Gaza crossings will be operated in addition the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings, which are already operating.

Asked about the fishing zone, he said that Gaza fishermen would be allowed to reach as far as 6 nautical miles and the zone would be increased gradually until it is 12 nautical miles by the end of 2014.

Reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza Strip will be discussed during a conference in Egypt next month, added Abu Marzouq. The Palestinian national consensus government will be in charge of implementation.

The Hamas official added that the ceasefire agreement was sponsored and would be monitored by Egypt only. more

Hamas declares victory, celebrations across Palestine


Immediately after the Gaza ceasefire went into effect Tuesday evening, Hamas urged Gazans to take to the streets and "celebrate victory and the fulfillment of the Palestinian people's demands."

In a news conference at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "Israeli settlers who live around Gaza can go back to their homes after the ceasefire agreement went into effect."

He announced victory and congratulated the Palestinian people and the Arab nation for the victory which he said the Palestinian resistance achieved. more

Abbas announces Israel-Gaza long-term ceasefire, comes into effect at 7pm


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday declared a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

In a short televised address, Abbas said the agreement would go into effect at 7 p.m.

For his part, deputy chief of Hamas' politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq wrote on his Twitter account that "talks have ended. We have reached understandings crowning our people's steadfastness and our resistance's triumph. We are awaiting a statement setting the zero point and end to the aggression."

A well-placed Palestinian source confirmed that Gaza border crossings would be open in tandem with an extended ceasefire.

The source explained that Egypt would issue a statement calling for a comprehensive and mutual ceasefire together with opening Gaza's crossings for the entry of construction material.

The Gaza fishing zone will also be increased.

In addition, the source said, Israel has pledged to stop targeted assassinations against Palestinian resistance activists and faction leaders.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that a round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would start in Cairo a month later to discuss unresolved issues. more

Abbas set to announce long-term ceasefire agreement


President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday will declare a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, Ma'an has learned.

Sources told Ma'an that Abbas would declare a long-term ceasefire agreement at 7:00 p.m.

The head of the Palestinian negotiating team in Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmad, has contacted officials in countries all over the world urging them to exert every possible effort to reach an agreement to end the Israeli military offensive and respond to the needs of the war-torn coastal enclave.

For his part, deputy chief of Hamas' politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq wrote on his Twitter account that "talks have ended. We have reached understandings crowning our people's steadfastness and our resistance's triumph. We are awaiting a statement setting the zero point and end to the aggression." more

Israeli drone captured in Gaza: Hamas


The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has seized an Israeli reconnaissance drone in Gaza Strip’s Shejaiya district.

According to media reports, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades announced the capture of the “Zionist reconnaissance plane” via a message posted on its Arabic Twitter account on Monday.

In a separate statement, the brigades reportedly added that in addition to capturing the drone, Hamas fighters have also “continued to pound enemy positions and cities with dozens of rockets” in response to “Israeli crimes against our people and ongoing barbaric aggression on our people in Gaza.”

The statement further said the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades would “not remain silent on the crimes of the occupation” and that it would make Israel “pay a high price for its aggression, and think a thousand times before embarking on any aggression against our people.”

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More Gaza housing towers destroyed by Israeli airstrikes


Israeli airstrikes destroyed two residential housing towers in Gaza City on Tuesday as two Palestinians were killed in overnight airstrikes.

Muhammad Muin Abu Ajwa and Hasan Omar al-Sawwaf were killed in airstrikes targeting central Gaza City.

Another strike on the Nasser neighborhood hit a 16-storey mixed-use complex known as "Little Italy", causing its complete collapse, witnesses said.

Witnesses said that F16s fired at least six rockets at the tower block, in which there were 60 apartments and a commercial complex including dozens of shops, completely destroying it.

They said residents had fled the building after the Israeli army sent them pre-recorded warning messages.

"The army told them to leave immediately and they all ran out into the street to find shelter," one told AFP.

Shortly afterwards, warplanes fired on the 14-storey al-Basha building in the western Rimal neighborhood, causing massive damage and wounding another 15 people, witnesses and medics said. more

Israeli forces detain 12 PFLP leaders in West Bank


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained 12 leaders from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine overnight Monday, sources in the group told Ma'an.

Ahmad al-Haj Muhammad Abu al-Nimr and Zahi Khatatba were detained in the Nablus town of Furik, while Kamal Ibrahim Abu Tharifa, Youssef Abd al-Haq Abu Shaddad and Moussa Salama were arrested in Nablus.

Amjad Hamayil, 37, was arrested from his house in Beta during a raid.

In Jenin, Israeli forces detained Fadaa al-Zugheibi, Muhammad al-Zugheibi, Abdullah al-Afif, Alam Sami Masad and Jaafar Abu Salah.

Mustafa Orabi Nakhla, or Abu Wadee, was detained from al-Jalazun refugee camp in northern Ramallah.

The arrests of PFLP political leaders come a week after a senior official from the party was issued an order by Israel to leave Ramallah. more

2 Palestinians killed, 20 injured in Israeli airstrikes


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were killed and 20 injured early Tuesday as Israel continued air raids on the Gaza Strip, medics said.

Muhammad Muin Abu Ajwa and Hasan Omar al-Sawwaf were killed in airstrikes targeting central Gaza City.

At least 20 others were injured in an airstrike on a mall in western Gaza. Five of the injured were medics, witnesses said.

Israel's air-force also destroyed a housing tower at dawn consisting of some 100 apartments and dozens of commercial stores.

The homes of Hussam Shaldan in al-Zaytoun and the al-Eimawi family house in al-Sabra were completely destroyed after being targeted by drones. more

Monday, 25 August 2014

Water delivery drivers dice with death in war-torn Gaza


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Mohammed al-Khatib fears for his life every time he gets behind the wheel. In wartime, providing drinking water to homes and schools in Gaza means dicing with death.

At 23, Khatib is a veteran of two previous wars between Hamas and Israel, in 2008 and 2012, but nothing prepared him for the bombings, shredded nerves and death toll this time around.

"When I'm driving, I always feel frightened, upset and nervous," he tells AFP in the small warehouse where he loads up his truck with drinking water, as Israeli air strikes boom in the distance.

It's an essential job in Gaza, where at least 90 percent of municipal running water is not fit to drink and war damage means that for many people the only water comes from private vendors or desalination plants.

But at his boss Hossam Huneif's desalination plant, down a sandy track in Gaza City, Khatib is one of the few drivers who turn up. Many of the regulars have stayed away since war broke out in July.

Khatib says he is exhausted by over-working, and lack of security, fuel and electricity. Then there are the horrors he has encountered.

"Perhaps I'll go to fill a house with water and find that house has been targeted by an Israeli air strike.

"For example, the Mata family -- I always filled their tank, then one day we went and their house wasn't there anymore. It was bombed."

Three of his friends have been killed and others have been injured. At home his family of eight has swollen to 30, as they welcome in refugees escaping the worst fighting in eastern Gaza. more

Video: 'Rubble Bucket Challenge' launched in Gaza


A "Rubble Bucket Challenge" has been launched in support of people in Gaza suffering from Israeli air strikes. In an imitation of the "Ice Bucket Challenge", the campaign sees people pour buckets of sand and rocks over their head and nominate others to do the same.


The concept is intended as a "a campaign to raise awareness about the war on Gaza where people are are bombed inside their homes", according to its Facebook page.

At the time of writing, the Facebook campaign page had over 2,600 "likes". A Gaza-based journalist Ayman Aloul, who took part in the challenge, posted a YouTube video in which he appears to be standing amid the ruins of Gaza buildings destroyed by air strikes.

"We looked for a bucket of water, however the use of water is more important than to empty over our heads," he said. "And even if the water is available it is difficult to freeze it."

Various videos have already been posted in which participants from countries including Germany and the United States pour a bucketload full of rubble over their heads, and nominate others to follow suit.

In the video featuring Mr Aloul, he says: “If five famous people in the world like actors or presidents will do the challenge, that means I succeeded in sending the message about Gaza."

Hashtags for the campaign include #dustbucketchallenge and #remainsbucketchallenge. more

Nablus child dies of a serious injury after being shot by soldier on Friday


Palestinian medical sources in the West Bank have reported that a Palestinian child died, Monday, of a serious injury suffered after the army opened fire at Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, last Friday.

The sources said Hassan ‘Ashour, age 15, was shot by several rounds of live ammunition in the chest and liver, and was later declared clinically dead until he passed away on Monday morning.

Local sources said that the child was wounded during clashes which took place at the Beit Forik Israeli military roadblock, east Nablus, after the soldiers assaulted several Palestinians. more

Palestinian official: Egypt proposes new Gaza ceasefire


Egyptian mediators have proposed a new ceasefire in Gaza that would open the blockaded enclave's crossings and allow in aid and reconstruction materials, a senior Palestinian official said on Monday.

The Palestinians, including the de facto Hamas rulers of the enclave, would be willing to accept such a deal if Israel does, the official told AFP.

The proposal would defer to a later date negotiations on disputed points that have prevented a long-term ceasefire deal, he added.

An Egyptian official confirmed that mediators have contacted the Palestinians and Israel with a new proposal.

"There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month," the Palestinian official said.

"We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal," he said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. more

Gaza death toll reaches 8 following Israeli airstrikes


Six Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since midnight by Israeli airstrikes, medical officials said, while a further two died from wounds sustained in earlier attacks.

In the latest airstrikes, a woman and a child were killed after Israel targeted a home in Beit Lahiya. Five people were injured in the strike on Raddad Tamboura's home.

Muhammad Shubeir was also killed in an airstrike in Gaza City.

Meanwhile, Hani Muhammad Yasin died of wounds he sustained several days ago while Nidal Badawi also died from injuries sustained Saturday in airstrikes on Rafah.

Earlier, three Palestinians were killed overnight Sunday as Israel's air-force targeted over 30 sites in the Gaza Strip, medical officials said.

Farhana al-Attar was killed in Beit Lahiya after a missile struck her home after midnight, medics said.

Yasin al-Biltaji and Yahya Abu Daqin were killed at dawn when Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a group of people in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City.

Dozens were injured in the strike.

In Rafah, two Palestinians were injured by an Israeli airstrike near the crossing terminal, while seven people were injured in Jabalia when an Israeli strike destroyed the al-Kahlut family home.

The al-Ghoul, Nuthur, Karaja, and Abu Aun family homes were destroyed in targeted strikes overnight, witnesses said.

The Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz mosque was destroyed in Beit Hanoun, together with the Ali Ibn Abu Talib mosque in Gaza City.

At least than 2,120 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers, have been killed since July 8. more

Report: Egypt may soon announce month-long ceasefire agreement


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli military sources say Egypt could announce a one-month ceasefire agreement in Gaza on Monday after mediators made significant progress, Israeli news site Walla reported.

According to the Hebrew language site, Egypt will make the announcement late Monday, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad having reportedly agreed to the deal.

The agreement includes the first stage of opening the Rafah crossing and the expansion of Gaza's fishing zone to 12 nautical miles, Walla reported.

Israel will also gradually allow more commercial products into Gaza, including construction material, via the Kerem Shalom crossing if the ceasefire is maintained.

On Sunday, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said that the group insists that the siege on Gaza is lifted and that Gazans were being starved by a lack of food and medicine. more

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza overnight, dozens injured


Palestinian medical sources reported, Monday, that two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured, in a series of Israeli air strikes and bombardment targeting different areas of the Gaza Strip.

The sources said that one woman was killed and at least sixteen were injured, one seriously, after the Israeli army fired missiles into a mosque and several homes.

The slain woman has been identified as Farhana al-‘Attrar, 48 years of age.

She was killed after the army fired missiles into the al-‘Atatra area, west of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Another Palestinian died of wounds suffered earlier Sunday, and at least fourteen Palestinians were injured, when the army bombarded homes in Gaza City.

Medical sources said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Yassin Ibrahim al-Biltaji, 23. more

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Mother killed in her home with 4 of her children, 89th family wiped out by airstrike


On Sunday afternoon, the Juda’ family became the latest casualties of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza. They are the 89th Palestinian family since July 8th to have been murdered in their home by an Israeli airstrike which killed the whole family, except for one son who was critically wounded.

The family members killed in the airstrike were identified as: Tasneem Essam Juda’, the mother of the family, and her children: Rawiya Juda’
Raghad Juda’
Osama Juda’
Mohammad Juda’


The ages of the children have not yet been made public, but there are several children among them – one of whom whose head was torn in half by the blast, and others whose bodies were badly mutilated and torn in several pieces.

The only family member who survived the massacre is Thaer Juda’, a young boy, who remains in critical condition at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. more

IOF cracks down on peaceful protestors in Beit Ummar, scores injured


AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Scores of Palestinian citizens sustained serious wounds on Sunday in the round of clashes that burst out in Beit Ummar village, north of al-Khalil, as Palestinian peaceful pro-Gaza demonstrators denounced Israel’s swelling terrorism on besieged Gaza.

Large numbers of Palestinian civilians were treated for critical breathing problems as they inhaled tear gas heavily discharged by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on hundreds of Palestinian students at the main entrance to the village, activist Muhammad Awadh told the PIC.

Palestinian youth activists declared the first day of the academic year “a day of anger” staged in protest against Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

Renewed clashes burst out between hundreds of Palestinian citizens and the IOF in Bab al-Zawiya and the southern suburbs, in al-Khalil city, as Palestinian non-violent demonstrators voiced their condemnation of the Israeli genocides against Gaza children.

The IOF unleashed tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, targeting Palestinian civilians, vehicles, and commercial stores all along the clashes.

Israeli occupation snipers deployed at Palestinian houses’ rooftops overlooking Bab al-Zawiya. The IOF further cordoned off the nearby al-Shouhada Street.

Israel’s assaults on al-Khalil culminated in a decision to close down the Ibrahimi Mosque before Muslim worshippers on Monday. more

Video: the moment Israel destroys 12-story residential building in Gaza City


In what many Palestinians are calling “Gaza’s 9/11,” Israeli warplanes today destroyed the 12-story “Zafir 4” residential tower in Gaza City’s Tal al-Hawa neighborhood.
This video captures the moment. It appears that the building was struck by two missiles.

The tower was part of the Zafir complex and housed almost fifty families. Residents had reportedly received warnings to leave the building, but medical officials said 17 people were injured, four of them children. more

Netanyahu says Gaza offensive will continue as 13 killed in Gaza


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks.

Israeli air strikes killed 13 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave on Sunday and injured dozens more, bringing the total death toll to 2,111. The United Nations says 70 percent of the Palestinian victims were civilians, and that among the dead have been 478 children.

"Operation Protective Edge will continue until its aims are achieved ... it may take time," Netanyahu said of the offensive launched on July 8.

As of Sunday afternoon, Israel had carried out 27 strikes while 50 rockets were fired from Gaza, 47 of which hit Israel, an army spokeswoman said.

Five Palestinians were killed Sunday afternoon including three children when an Israeli airstrike hit a house in the Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll since midnight to 13.

Witnesses told Ma'an reporter that an Israeli missile hit a house without any warning, killing five members of the family. more

Palestine supporters block Israeli ships in Washington and Los Angeles


Following a four-day long port blockade action in Oakland, California, in which activists delayed and blocked an Israeli ship from unloading its goods, Palestine supporters in Tacoma, Washington and Los Angeles, California have continued the action on Friday and Saturday by blocking two ships from the Israeli Zim line.

The activists are following a call from hundreds of Palestinian civil society groups to boycott Israeli goods, as part of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions aimed at pressuring Israel through economic means to comply with its obligations under international law, and end its attacks and discrimination against the Palestinian people.

Protesters coordinated their actions with the start and stop times of the shifts of dockworkers, most of whom are unionized with the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse workers Union). They hoped that, by forming a picket line in front of the port entrances, they would be able to create a situation in which the unionized workers would be able to say that crossing the picket could endanger their safety. If that condition exists, the union workers are permitted to go home without carrying out the work of unloading the ship.

This happened on a number of the shifts during the four-day long blockade in Oakland and, apparently, occurred for several of the shifts at the port of Los Angeles and the Port of Tacoma as well. The ships only have a few days in which they can remain in port in order to keep their schedule, so, there is a good possibility that, because of the delays and ‘health and safety’ issues, many of the goods on the ships were not unloaded at all.

Among those participating in the port blockade in Tacoma, Washington are the parents of the late Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, at the age of 23, while standing in front of a Palestinian doctor’s home to try to stop the Israeli military from demolishing it. more

Israel's new madness: 2 high-rise buildings levelled, many homeless and injured


Two multi-storey buildings in Gaza have been completely destroyed by Israeli air strikes in less than 24 hours, possibly signalling a new tactic in Israel’s military campaign.

A 12-storey apartment building in Gaza City was brought down on Saturday evening and a seven-floor office building in Rafah was razed early on Sunday.

The hits followed warnings by the Israel Defence Forces, in leaflets, text messages and automated phone calls. The text of a leaflet dropped from aircraft said: “The IDF intends to attack terrorists and terror infrastructure across the Gaza Strip … Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which terror activities against Israel originate. Every house from which militant activity is carried out, will be targeted. For your own safety, prevent terrorists from utilising your property for terror agendas, and stay away from every site in which terrorist organisations are operating.”

It was signed “Beware – Israel Defence Forces”.

In the Gaza City strike a huge fireball followed by a black column of smoke rose into the sky after two Israeli missiles toppled the Zafer Tower, one in a group of several highrises in the area. Neighbouring buildings shook from the blasts.

The Israeli military said the missiles targeted a Hamas operations room in the building but did not explain why the entire tower with 44 apartments was brought down.

Gaza police said a warning missile had been fired five minutes earlier and some residents were able to rush out of the building in time. But 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women, according to Gaza hospital officials.

Maher Abu Sedo, an area resident, said the two strikes came within seconds of each other.

“The state of Israel has resorted to madness. In less than a minute 44 families have become displaced … They lost everything, their house, their money, their memories and their security” more

2 Palestinians dead in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes overnight Sunday and dozens more wounded as Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip continued for the 48th day, while rockets fired from Lebanon and Syria into Israel threatened to escalate the conflict.

The airstrikes early Sunday on Gaza brought the total death total in Israel's massive assault to 2,105 with more than 10,500 injured, as the United Nations said that more than 460,000 Palestinians were still displaced and living in shelters across the densely packed coastal enclave.

Witnesses said that Israeli aircraft targeted a group of people near the Fayrouz Towers in northwestern Gaza City, killing two and injuring 10.

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra identified the two casualties as Badr Hashim Abu Mnih and Yahya Abu al-Omareen, both in their twenties. They were taken to al-Shifa Hospital.

Israeli aircraft also struck the largest commercial center in the southern city of Rafah, completely leveling a building with dozens of shops, two weeks after an office in the same building was hit.

In western Gaza City, an Israeli airstrike hit the home of the al-Ghulayni family. No injuries were reported in the first strike, but a second strike that occurred soon after left six injured after it struck a crowd that gathered to survey the damage.

An Israeli airstrike also targeted a house in the al-Barka neighborhood of Deir al-Balah without warning, leaving a number injured, in addition to a home in the al-Maghazi refugee camp which was also destroyed. Another Palestinian was injured after an Israeli airstrike hit the Beit Lahiya sports club.

Israeli aircraft also launched dozens of air strikes on agricultural lands and open areas in different regions of the Gaza Strip.

Early Sunday, meanwhile, the Israeli military said five rockets from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, causing no reported injuries.

The military said a few hours earlier that a rocket fired from Lebanon struck the Upper Galilee causing damage to a structure, with a security source telling AFP it hit a Druze village. more