Thursday, 31 July 2014

Video shows Israeli shelling of Shujaiya that killed Gaza journalist


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

9 Palestinian journalists slain by Israel since Gaza assault start


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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Qassam Brigades attacks Israeli anti-tunnel vehicle


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

US resupplies Israel with weapons as Gaza death toll hits 1380


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World watches idly as Israel bombs Gaza school and market


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

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

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

Power plant bombed

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

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

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

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

Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state


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

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

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

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

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