Tuesday, 8 July 2014

At least 22 Palestinians killed in start of Israeli war on Gaza

Israeli jets and naval gun fire pounded the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people and injuring 90 more, as the government of Binyamin Netanyahu launched a large-scale military operation against the Islamist militant group Hamas in the coastal enclave.

Israel announced it had authorised the call-up of up to 40,000 reservists for a possible ground operation, even as it began moving convoys of additional tanks and other armour to the Gaza border.

"We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard," General Moti Almoz, the chief military spokesman, told army radio. He said the action would take place in stages.

The announcement came as explosions boomed across the Gaza Strip, sending plumes of grey smoke into the sky and shaking buildings in streets already largely emptied of people.

From the other side, armed factions in Gaza fired about 140 rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday. There were no reports of deaths from rockets fired out of Gaza. more

Video: Israeli army deliberately targeting news professionals

Continuing confrontations in the Palestinian Territories and many cities in Israel are marked by Israeli authorities’ flouting of basic rights, including freedom of information

Since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on 12 June, and their bodies discovered 18 days later, the situation has deteriorated to dangerous levels. Hate messages demanding vengeance are flooding the web.

Then, the body of a young Palestinian who had been burned alive was found in East Jerusalem.

Israeli security forces have been combing the West Bank, arresting more than 600 Palestinians on grounds of suspected of links to Hamas. Human rights violations are taking place daily and information freedom is being disregarded.

Reporters Without Borders condemns these attacks on information freedom. Many journalists have been targeted by the Israeli army. Others have been arrested arbitrarily. And security forces have been conducting raids on media offices. RWB urges the Israeli military to allow news professionals, whether Palestinian or foreign, to carry out their work freely and safely.

In a report, "Palestinian Journalists Caught Between Three Sides", RWB highlighted the double vice gripping information freedom in the Territories. The strongest pressure comes from Israel and its army, which doesn’t hesitate to arrest, even to kill, news professionals.

Recent events

On 5 July, a team from the Palestine Today TV station came under Israeli army fire while broadcasting live from the scene of confrontations in Al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Journalist Ahmed Al-Budeiri was wounded in the shoulder and stomach. His cameraman, Ahmed Jaber was hit in the eye. Technician Walid Matar, suffered a head wound. Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Khatib, a correspondent for the Hamas station, Al-Aqsa TV was arrested in Tulkarem.

A few days earlier, on 2 July, a large number of journalists covering demonstrations at Shuafat, following the murder of a young Palestinian were wounded by fire from Israeli security forces.

Tali Mayer, a photographer for the Activestills site and Walla News! was seriously wounded by a sponge-tipped bullet to the face. Her colleague, Oren Ziv, was hit in the arm.

Operation “Brother’s Keeper” and its consequences for Palestinian media [1]

On 22 June, Israeli security forces raided the offices of two printing companies in the city of Ramallah, Turbo Computers and Software Co. Ltd and Jeel Publishing Co. Ltd., which publish, respectively, the Palestinian cultural magazine This Week in Palestine and the monthly Filistin Ashabab. Seven computers were seized, dealing a serious blow to the printing of the two magazines.

“During our 28-year history, we have had no affiliation with any political faction,” Turbo Computers CEO Sani Paul Meo said in a press release. “This Week in Palestine is a 15-year-old nonpolitical cultural publication.” He added, “We reserve the right to claim reparation for damages incurred and to consider legal action, both locally and internationally.” more

Death toll reaches 14 as Israel targets northern Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes on the northern Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians on Tuesday evening, bringing the total death toll in Israel's latest assault on the besieged enclave to 14.

Ahmad Moussa Habib, 48, and Ahmad Ahed Habib, 19, were killed after an airstrike targeted a tuk-tuk vehicle in the al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood in Gaza City, medics said.

Fakhri Saleh Ajjouri was reported killed after an airstrike targeted a motorcycle near Abraj al-Sheikh Zayed in the northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier, seven Palestinians were killed and 25 were severely injured in an Israeli airstrike targeting a house in the southern Gaza Strip, a medical official said.

Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an seven Palestinians, among them two children under five years of age, were killed in the airstrike on Khan Younis.

Dozens of locals had gathered on the roof of the house after the family received a notice from Israeli authorities that it would be targeted, al-Qidra said.

The house belonged to the al-Kaware family. more

Business as usual - Israeli police carry on beating Palestinian youth

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Three young Palestinian men from the Wadi al-Juz neighborhood of East Jerusalem say they were “brutally” beaten by Israeli troops who stormed a house in the neighborhood Saturday.

Mahir Abu Dalou told Ma’an Monday that Israeli soldiers broke into a building belonging to his family late on Saturday evening. He added that his son Abdul-Rahman, 17, cousin Ammar Abu Dalou, 20, and their friend Majd Jamal Siyam, 16, were in the front yard of the building when the soldiers broke in.

Israeli officers then “brutally” assaulted the three with rifle butts and clubs. The officers, he added, threatened to “beat and shoot my brother and my wife.”

Abu Dalou added that his son Abdul-Rahman was taken to hospital for stitches after he sustained cuts in his face. Ammar Abu Dalou, he added, sustained bruises all over his body, while Majd Siyam was stopped for an hour after he was beaten on his head. more

7 Palestinians killed including 2 kids, 25 injured in airstrike on southern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Seven Palestinians were killed and 25 were severely injured in an Israeli airstrike targeting a house in the southern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll from Tuesday's airstrikes to 11, a health ministry spokesman said.

Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an seven Palestinians, among them two children under five years of age, were killed in an airstrike on Khan Younis.

Dozens of locals had gathered on the roof of the house after the family received a notice from Israeli authorities that it would be targeted, al-Qidra said.

The house belonged to the al-Kaware family.

Earlier, an Israeli airstrike on a vehicle in Gaza City killed three Palestinians.

Prior to the deaths in Gaza City, the body of Rashad Yassin, from al-Nuseirat refugee camp, was found under the rubble of a destroyed house in central Gaza.

Yassin is reportedly affiliated with Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades. more

Netanyahu to IDF: conduct 'continuous, long and forceful operation in Gaza'

From Ynetnews - Defense minister says Israel prepared for 'long offensive against Hamas'; Minister: Hamas ignored our ceasefire attempts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military to "take off the gloves" in its confrontation with Hamas and said "Hamas chose escalation and it will pay a heavy price for it."

Senior political sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has ordered the defense establishment to conduct a "continuous, long and forceful operation in Gaza."

According to the source, Netanyahu told the IDF to go "all the way," saying "evening a ground operation was currently on the table." According to them, such an operation was far from certain, but that the operation's goal was to increase deterrence and deal Hamas a significant blow. more

New airstrikes target Gaza amid rocket fire - at least 2 killed

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes on Gaza Tuesday, after hitting over 50 sites in the Strip overnight, Ma'an reporters said.

Airstrikes hit three areas in Gaza City -- the al-Zaytouna neighborhood, the al-Shajaiya neighborhood, and an area near an Islamic center in the al-Sabra neighborhood.

Eight people were injured in the strike on al-Shajaiya.

Four men and one woman were hospitalized after being injured in the airstrike on al-Sabra.

Warplanes also targeted Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, with no injuries immediately reported.

Airstrikes also hit the southern Gaza Strip, targeting a home belonging to resident Mahmoud al-Hashash, without causing injuries.

The Israeli news site Ynet said Gaza factions had fired rockets at Ashdod and Ashkelon in southern Israel on Tuesday, causing a fire in one case.

Rockets launched toward Ofakim and Beersheba were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system, the report said.

Another rocket targeted an open area in Eshkol, with no injuries or damages reported. more

Rights group: settlers attempt to kidnap children near Hebron, Bethlehem

Several armed Israel settlers have attempted to kidnap a Palestinian child, after chasing him for more than a kilometer along a road near Hebron. A similar report has surfaced in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem. Al-Haq human rights organization has issued a statement, via press release, regarding the nature of the recent settler attacks as they relate to illegal Israeli settlement policies.

According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, Coordinator of the Anti-wall and Settlement Popular Committee, Ratib Jabour, said that armed settlers chased Hani Al-Ka‘abna, 14, in a car along a rugged road in Al-Ka‘abna, to the east of Yatta, in an attempt to kidnap him.

The boy, fortunately, managed to escape.

Near Bethlehem, a number of settlers driving an Israeli vehicle into Beit Sahour attempted to kidnap a Palestinian child.

The attempted abduction took place near the YMCA Center, in Beit Sahour.

The boy has been identified as one Ramadan Rayya, 17 years of age.

Al-Haq human rights organization stated on Monday, as well, that Israel's illegal settlement policy is the main cause of the hostile environment that puts civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, at risk.

WAFA has given the details of the official press release: more

Israel launches 'Operation Protective Edge' with 50 airstrikes - 17 injuries reported

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza with more than 50 strikes early Tuesday after Gaza militants fired scores of rockets over the border, dragging the two sides towards a major conflict.

It was the most serious flare-up in and around the territory since November 2012 and came as Israel struggled to contain a wave of violence in Palestinian towns over the grisly murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

In Gaza, medics said seven children and two women were among 17 people wounded. Two were in serious condition, an emergency services spokesman said.

The Israeli military confirmed it had embarked upon an air campaign dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," which it said was aimed at reducing rocket fire on southern Israel.

"Around 50 targets were hit, among them four houses belonging to militants, rocket launching sites and other terrorist infrastructure," a spokesman said. more