Thursday, 21 August 2014

Israeli airstrikes kill 38 across Gaza despite Palestinian peace offer

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- At least 38 Palestinians died on Thursday as Israeli planes bombarded Gaza for the second day in a row after a temporary ceasefire fell apart after weeks of fighting, as the Palestinian negotiations delegation accused Israel of failing to respond to an offer for peace.

The deaths brought the death toll in Israel's nearly 50-day assault on the besieged coastal enclave to at least 2,087, a number that was expected to rise Thursday night as Israeli airstrikes continued pounding targets all over the Strip.

Medical authorities in Gaza say that nearly 10,500 have been injured in the Israeli assault so far, including at least 200 in the last two days, and tens of thousands of who had returned home amid a fragile calm during the temporary ceasefires once again were left fleeing for shelters.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Thursday that around 435,000 Palestinians -- or around one-third of the entire population of Gaza -- had taken refuge in UN shelters. more

Despite ravages of war, Gaza supports armed resistance to lift the siege

Hours before the latest ceasefire was set to expire last night, Israel resumed attacks on the Gaza Strip and Hamas again began to launch rockets. Both sides blamed each other for the failed ceasefire. Five missiles hit the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City, killing the wife and three-year-old daughter of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, and injuring 18. The al-Dalou family was targeted in 2012 when an airstrike destroyed their home.

With airstrikes throughout Gaza, 22 have died and 100 wounded since the collapse of the most recent ceasefire. Rockets have landed as far into Israel as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, demonstrating Hamas’ unabated capability to continue attacks.

While Israel’s assault on Gaza has now claimed at least 2,030 lives and caused more than 10,302 injuries, along with entire neighborhoods destroyed, frustration with the status quo has boiled over into near-total support for armed resistance. As exhausted as they are with the war, everyone I spoke to across Gaza said they were willing to endure another round of fighting if it meant an improvement in the long term humanitarian situation. Beyond that, no one seemed willing to take Israel’s assault lying down. more

Demonstrators hang massive Palestinian flag from Manhattan Bridge

New York police are looking for the people who hung a giant Palestinian flag from the Manhattan Bridge on Wednesday afternoon during a march in support of Gaza.

The flag, which bore the words "Boycott," "Divest," and "Sanction," as well as "Gaza in our hearts," was quickly removed by police. It was hung from the south edge of the bridge close to the Manhattan side tower, the New York Daily News reported.

The flag-hanging follows an incident last month in which unidentified people replaced the American flags at the top of each tower of the Brooklyn Bridge with enormous bleached-white American flags.

No arrests have been made in that incident, though a couple of German artists claimed responsibility.

Wednesday's flag was unfurled as about 500 pro-Palestinian protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan in a demonstration organized via social media by New York Solidarity with Palestine and Direct Action. more

US accuses Israel of targeting Abu Khdeir family

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The United States on Wednesday claimed Israel had targeted members of a Palestinian family whose teenage son was kidnapped and killed in July.

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in annexed East Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from an East Jerusalem street and later found burned alive.

Israeli police arrested six alleged Jewish extremists as suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others.

The death of the Palestinian teen -- thought likely in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli students in late June -- sparked rioting and helped unleash the conflict under way in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel's arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, a US citizen.

He was brutally beaten in an assault captured on camera, detained, and eventually freed and allowed to return to Florida. more

Video: 'Israel has failed to achieve its goals through terror,' says Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah, founder of The Electronic Intifada - With the end of the ceasefire and the failure of permanent truce negotiations mediated by Egypt, Israel resumed its full-scale massacre in Gaza, killing 22 people on Wednesday. Why did the truce talks break down? I discussed this question on Al Jazeera English on Wednesday evening, explaining that Israel rejected far-reaching and generous Palestinian offers.


Palestine supporters arrested in Australia & US for civil disobedience

A group of twelve activists carried out an act of civil disobedience on Monday by conducting a sit-in at the office of US Senator Diane Feinstein in California, and another group was arrested in Melbourne Australia while occupying an Israeli drone-manufacturing plant and calling for an end to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

Direct actions in support of the Palestinian people have been organized in many parts of the world, including a four-day long action in Oakland California that ended on Tuesday after blockading an Israeli ship set to unload goods into the Port of Oakland, Saturday.

In Melbourne, protesters began an occupation of a drone manufacturing plant last week – seven have been arrested so far. The plant they are occupying is owned by the Israeli weapons company Elbit, and is used to manufacture weaponized drones.

One of the organizer of the Melbourne protest told reporters, "By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel's military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity."

In California, one of the protesters who was arrested at the sit-in at Dianne Feinstein’s office, Estee Chandler, told journalist Nora Barrows-Friedman, “The reason why we’re here is because if we leave, we go back to the status quo, we go back to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer’s supporting without any reservations anything and everything that the Israeli government does. It doesn’t seem to matter if it breaks American laws, like the Arms Export Control Act, or other laws — they come out, they’ll say what they need to say, they’ll never talk about whether Palestinians have a right to exist, or have a right to feed their children and have them go to school safely — they’ll just talk about Israel’s right to defend itself. And we think that the status quo of accepting their words and watching their deeds has to end.” more

4 killed by airstrikes while burying relatives in Gaza cemetery

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in Gaza City on Thursday after targeting a cemetery in the Sheikh al-Radwan district, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Qidra said.

The bodies of Muhammad Talal Abu Nahl, Rami Abu Nahl, Haitham Tafesh and Abed Talal Shuweikh were taken to al-Shifa medicial center.

The victims were burying relatives who had been killed overnight by Israeli airstrikes.

The latest airstrikes bring the total death toll since midnight to 22 Palestinians. more

Israel kills 3 Qassam commanders and at least 3 civilians in Rafah airstrikes

Raed al-Attar

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel killed three of Hamas' most prominent military commanders early Thursday in airstrikes targeting a building in Rafah.

The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.

Abu Shammala was the general commander of the al-Qassam Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip and Raed al-Attar was the commander of the Rafah district.

The two Hamas officials were on the top of Israel's list of targets, with both men accused of masterminding the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. more