Friday, 25 July 2014

Hospitals under attack: Beit Hanoun shelled - medics, patients, civilians, ISM activists trapped

From the International Solidarity Movement - At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, three patients, civilians, and ISM volunteers who are all trapped inside. Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area.
This afternoon Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with two paramedics inside in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza. One paramedic was killed and another was critically injured.
This is the third Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.
“Israel’s attacks on Gaza hospitals are ongoing, with those in areas by the separation barrier forced to evacuate their patients, paramedics and other rescue workers are doing what they can under conditions of great risk.” Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement activist.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed.  Two medical clinics have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 13 medical staff members have been injured, and five have been killed.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has demanded, “the immediate cessation of Israeli occupation military attacks against medical facilities and personnel in Gaza, and demands that the international community soundly condemn this latest Israeli atrocity, and hold Israel accountable for these war crimes.”

Here are some of the numbers you can call:

Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Carl Bildt
+46 8 405 10 00 [4]
(Plus a load more phone numbers on this page:

 The German Foreign Office:
Federal Foreign Office
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister

Tel. (24 hours service): +49 30 1817 0
Telefax: +49 30 1817 3402
German Embassy Tel Aviv emergency number / for German citizens only: +972-54-9944724 (mobile)

Auswärtiges Amt @AuswaertigesAmt

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
MP Philip Hammond
+44 20 7008 1500
020 7219 4055


US Department of State
Israel Foreign Service Desk: 202-647-3672

José García-Margallo y Marfil
91 379 97 00

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Murray McCully
+64 4 439 8000

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Laurent Fabius

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Julie Bishop
+61 2 6261 1111 (office)
1300 555 135 (24-hour Consular Emergency Centre)

Venezuelan Ministry Foreign Affairs
Elías Jaua
+58 212 806.4400
+58 212 8061111
@ Vencancilleria

In solidarity,

ISM Palestine


Thank you, Sinead O’Connor, for boycotting Israel

I vividly recall the first time I saw Sinéad O’Connor live. She looked shy and fragile as she walked onstage. And then she began her song “Troy,” whispering to us one second; screaming at us the next. It was enchanting and haunting.

That was 26 years ago. Ever since then, I’ve admired O’Connor as a woman of talent and courage. So I felt a bit hurt when she rejected me in a distinctly twenty-first century manner last month: by blocking me on Twitter.

All I had done was to ask politely that she cancel a gig in Israel.

This morning my admiration was fully restored when I read in the Irish magazine Hot Press that O’Connor had decided to withdraw from her Israel show.

“Nobody with any sanity, including myself, would have anything but sympathy for the Palestinian plight,” she said. “There’s not a sane person on earth who in any way sanctions what the fuck the Israeli authorities are doing.”

O’Connor’s interview suggests that concert promoters are offering enormous fees to musicians willing to ignore the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. O’Connor was promised “100 grand” (she didn’t specify the currency) to play Caesarea — a town between Tel Aviv and Haifa — next month. Normally, she would only expect one-tenth of that amount for a show. more

IDF's own figures suggest only 30% of Gaza dead are militants - death toll now 830

The Israeli military said in a statement on Friday that it had killed 240 "militants" in the Gaza Strip since it began a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip last week.

More than 830 Palestinians have been killed in the assault according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, meaning that according to the army's numbers less than 30 percent of those killed have been combatants.

The new figures are quite close to those of Palestinian rights groups inside Gaza, who have claimed that around 80 percent of the dead have been civilians.

The Israeli military has repeatedly emphasised that it has done its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, but the widespread killing of civilians -- including the shelling of four UN-designated shelters in the last three days -- has raised alarm among international watchdogs. more

Israeli army claims soldier Oron Shaul dead but body still missing

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli army on Friday announced that a soldier Hamas claims to have captured was dead but they did not know the whereabouts of his body.

The army said in a statement that Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul was "killed in action" after a committee led by the army's Chief Rabbi investigated his death, which occurred in battle in Gaza on Sunday.

Shaul was defined by the committee as "a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown."

The statement comes only days after Hamas said they had captured the soldier during a battle, suggesting that they captured his body after he was killed. more

4 Palestinians killed in West Bank amid protests against Gaza assault

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinians were killed in the West Bank on Friday, three by Israeli forces and one by an Israeli settler, amid widespread protests in solidarity with Gaza.

The four deaths on Friday come after a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces late Thursday in clashes at Qalandia, bringing the total death toll in the West Bank to eight as thousands have marched in protest against the Israeli assault on Gaza over the last two weeks.

The victims were identified as Khaled Azmi Khaled Yousef, 18, Hashem Abu Maria, 47, Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22, and Sultan Al-Zaaqiq, 30.

Yousef was killed and three were injured on Friday when an Israeli settler opened fire at a protest march near Nablus, an official said.

In the village of Huwwara, Palestinians began marching in protest against Israel's deadly offensive in Gaza when an Israeli settler drove by in a car and fired into the crowd, the mayor of the village said.

Khalid Mari Khalid Yousef, 18, died after being hit directly in the chest, a Ma'an reporter said, after Fatah spokesman Awwad Nijm said earlier that Yousef was critically injured.

Israeli forces who subsequently arrived on the scene got involved in the clashes, killing another Palestinian named Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22.

Nijm identified the other three injured as Tariq Issam, Muhammad Nasasrah, and Jihad Odeh.

Twenty Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, he added. more

Israeli army announces soldier killed in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Israeli army said on Friday that one of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza earlier in the day, bringing the total number of soldiers killed to 33.

"Master Sergeant (Res.) Yair Ashkenazy, 36 years old from Rehovot, was a combatant in the reserve brigade of the IDF Officer Cadet," an army statement said.

"MSG (Res.) Ashkenazy was killed earlier today during operational activity in the northern Gaza Strip," it added.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, 33 IDF officers and soldiers have been killed.

Palestinian militant groups have announced that they have killed several more soldiers, claiming that the Israeli army has not admitted the deaths of a handful of its troops.

The army announcement came as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose to 835.

Imad Abu Kamil, 20, was killed in an Israeli attack on al-Mughraqa in central Gaza, a Palestinian health ministry spokesman said.

Meanwhile, seven bodies were pulled from rubble in the Shajaiyya area near Gaza City on Friday, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said. more

Horrifying details continue to emerge of massacre in Khuza’a

Yesterday we published a brief account of an apparent massacre in the Palestinian village Khuza’a, a village east of Khan Younis and close to the Israeli border in Gaza. That had been sent to Felice Gelman over Facebook and today, Yamen Radwan sent Gelman another brief message: “#Massacre_Khuza’a: stilling going on until now executions of civilians and wounded by Israeli forces in the streets of Khuza’a.”

News reports of what happened, or is happening, in Khuza’a remain vague. Above, from Al Jazeera, is the only video news report we’ve been able to find. National Public Radio’s Emily Harris just now reported a telephone conversation with a woman who escaped the village after two days in a basement and who said that snipers were shooting people in the streets.

The Gaza NGO Palestinian Centre for Human Rights included these details from Khuza’a in an daily report it issued today covering events from yesterday:

At approximately 12:30, Israel forces that had moved into Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, fired bullets and artillery shells at hundreds of Palestinian civilians who attempted to leave the village as there were reports about a one-hour coordination to evacuate casualties. Israeli forces fired also at ambulances and prevented them from entering the village.
At approximately 17:00, 12 ambulances attempted to enter Khuza’a village, but Israeli forces prevented and fired at them.

At approximately 18:30, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a house belonging to Dr. Kamal Abu Rujaila, which he uses as clinic, in Khuza’a village, as a number of wounded Palestinians went to the house seeking medical aid. A number of casualties were reported as a result of the attack. Apparently, one Palestinian was killed. Medical crews were not able to reach the house. A volunteer paramedic, who was wounded throughout the body while he was attempting to evacuate wounded Palestinians, has been trapped in the area since Wednesday morning, 23 July 2014, as medical crews have not been able to reach him. According to reports from Khuza’a village, Israeli forces raided a number of houses and turned them into military sites. They also arrested scores of Palestinians. At approximately 23:00, an ICRC crew and 10 ambulances of Palestine Red Crescent Society went to Kuza’a village, but they were not able to evacuate victims because the situation was extremely dangerous.

At approximately 21:00, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, killing 2 of them: Mohammed Barham Abu Draz, 24; and ‘Essam Ibrahim Abu Ismail, 23.

At approximately 06:50, Israeli forces fired at dozens of Palestinian civilians who raised white flags and attempted to leave Khuza’a village, and forced them to go back homes.

At approximately 07:15, Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinian civilians who attempted to leave Khuza’a through a dirt road leading to ‘Abassan village. One of these civilians, Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman al-Najjar, 56, was killed by a bullet to the neck. Two civilians were also wounded.

Also at approximately 08:30, medical crews were able to recover the body of Fadi Yousef Ahmed al-Najjar, 27, who is physically disabled, from Khuza’a village. He was killed by Israeli shelling.

At approximately 09:50, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a motor cart on which a number of Palestinian civilians were traveling attempting to leave Khuza’a village. As a result, 4 civilians were killed and another 2 ones were wounded. The victims have not been identified as their bodies were burnt.
This account is consistent with social media. The most complete comes from Khuza’a resident Mahmoud Ismail who tweeted out updates from the village. They were translated by Mohammad Alsaafin who retweeted them. more

Malaysian cyclist faces action over ‘Save Gaza’ protest at Commonwealth Games

As Malaysia's Azizulhasni Awang made it to the quarterfinals of the men's cycling event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday, two words which appeared on his gloves did not sit well with the Games authorities.

As he reached the finishing line, his fists with the message "Save Gaza", a reference to the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories which have so far killed over 800, were shown to the cameras.

Commonwealth Games Federation said the incident could be in breach of a rule avoiding "politics" in the Games, and said it will “contact the Malaysian chef de mission to discuss the incident and take any action," reported the Associated Press.

On his Twitter and Facebook fan page, Azizulhasni, who has close to 40,000 Twitter followers and more than 200,000 likes, posted pictures of his plea for the Palestinians.

"Alhamdulillah won my 1st round, 1/4 tomorrow against Kiwi but team sprint qualify first this evening. Plz make doa," he tweeted in a post which has been retweeted some 1,100 times at press time, with many wishing him well for his race today.

- See more at: more

16 Palestinians dead since midnight on 18th day of Gaza offensive

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Some 16 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli attacks on Gaza since midnight, as reports of a new ceasefire proposal surfaced on the 18th day of the offensive on the Strip.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of health, said that the latest deaths brought the death toll since the beginning of the assault to 815.

Over 5,240 Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, al-Qidra said.

The deadliest Israeli airstrike of the night targeted the Rafah family home of 45-year-old Salah Ahmad Abu Hasanin, killing him and three of his sons and injuring 14 others.

His sons were 15-year-old Abd al-Aziz, 12-year-old Hadi, and nine-year-old Abd al-Hadi. more