Sunday, 15 June 2014

Israeli army: Gaza rockets land in open area near Ashkelon


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, two of which hit the Hof Ashkelon region in southern Israel, the Israeli military said.

The rocket fire came just after a seven-year-old Palestinian child died of injuries sustained in an Israeil missile attack on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Earlier Saturday, one rocket hit the Sdot Negev regional council in southern Israel.

None of the strikes caused any damage or injuries. more

Israeli imposes siege on Hebron and Bethlehem


[Sunday Morning, June 15, 2014] The Israeli army imposed a strict military siege on the Hebron district, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and on the West Bank district of Bethlehem.

Palestinian sources said the army installed dozens of roadblocks around Hebron, preventing the Palestinians from entering or leaving their communities, while hundreds of soldiers were deployed in the area, breaking into and searching homes, amidst a massive arrest campaign.

However, the army alleged there is no tight siege on Hebron, and that what is happening is a “breathable closure” on a number of areas.

On Saturday at night, Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya’alon, said he ordered the army to impose a comprehensive siege on the Hebron district, until further notice, and that the decision was made following extensive security meetings, the Maan News Agency has reported.

Israel also closed the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom), and Erez terminals leading to Gaza.

Israeli sources said only urgent and humanitarian cases will be allowed to cross, after obtaining special permits from the Israeli military – permits that are largely denied. more

Name Israel an “apartheid state” and divest, Tutu tells US Presbyterians


As the Presbyterian Church USA holds its 2014 general assembly in Detroit from 14-21 June, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu has issued this call on delegates to vote in favor of divestment from companies that assist “apartheid” Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people:

As the Presbyterian General Assembly gathers for its biennial meeting, I reach out in prayer and solidarity that the Assembly will make a strong witness for reconciliation, justice and peace. I am aware that the Assembly will consider eight overtures on the confounding and intractable conflict in Israel and Palestine, however I am especially urging the Assembly to adopt the overture naming Israel as an apartheid state through its domestic policies and maintenance of the occupation, and the overture calling for divestment of certain companies that contribute to the occupation of the Palestinian people.

Both are worthy of adoption, by speaking truth in the first instance, and owning up to the Church’s complicity in maintaining the occupation through its investments in the second.

The sustainability of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people has always been dependent on its ability to deliver justice to the Palestinians. I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed. Realistic Israeli leaders have acknowledged that Israel will either end its occupation through a one or two-state solution, or live in an apartheid state in perpetuity. The latter option is unsustainable and an offense to justice. We learned in South Africa that the only way to end apartheid peacefully was to force the powerful to the table through economic pressure.

The overtures proposed at the General Assembly are not about delegitimizing the State of Israel, but about ending its suppression of four million Palestinian sisters and brothers. It’s about naming an unjust system and refusing to participate in it. The stubbornness of Israel’s leaders in wanting to hold onto and settling land that is not theirs can only lead to tragedy for both peoples. For the sake of them both as God’s cherished, the strong witness of the two overtures is the only peaceful route left in the cause of justice and ultimate reconciliation. My prayers today are with the members of the General Assembly and with all the peoples of the Holy Land in Israel and Palestine.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu 10 June 2014


Electronic Intifada

2 Palestinian women injured as Israel pounds Gaza overnight


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian woman and a teenage girl sustained wounds Saturday night in two separate Israeli airstrikes on the Rafah district in the southern Gaza Strip, medical sources said.

The injuries occurred as Israeli launched eight air strikes against the Gaza Strip overnight, in what they said was a response to three rockets fired from the besieged coastal enclave the day before.

Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an on Sunday that a 15-year-old girl was hit by shrapnel after an Israeli missile hit southern Rafah.

The girl, he said, was in her courtyard when an Israeli missile fired from the air hit a military camp near her house.

Al-Qidra added that a 27-year-old woman was moderately injured by shrapnel from an Israeli missile that landed in the Saudi neighborhood in southern Rafah. The woman suffered a fracture in the foot as a result of the attack.

Israeli warplanes also fired two missiles at open areas in al-Salam neighborhood in Rafah and the Saad Sayil military base in the city, though no injuries have been reported.

Two missiles were also fired at a military base for the military wing of the Islamic Jihad south of Rafah.

In Khan Younis, also in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli jets targeted a military base belonging to Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam Brigades and an open area near an evacuated Israeli settlement. No injuries were reported in those strikes either. more

Hamas denies accusations that it kidnapped settler youths


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Sunday denied accusations that its members were behind the disappearance of three Israeli youth just minutes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused them of being responsible.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the accusations "stupid" and said that they were a bluff intended to acquire information.

Abu Zuhri told Ma'an that the arrests carried out by occupation forces in the West Bank were "designed to break Hamas," but they would not succeed in achieving their goal.

The spokesman also said that Israeli authorities are responsible for "all of the consequences of the arrest campaigns" in the West Bank, adding the Israeli escalation in the West Bank and Gaza reflects their "state of confusion."

The Hamas spokesperson's comments come in response to Netanyahu's declaration earlier Sunday that Hamas was responsible for the abduction of three settler youths on Thursday evening. more