Thursday, 29 January 2015

Kerem Shalom opened to allow goods into Gaza Strip


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Thursday in order to allow food aid and fuel into the Gaza Strip.

Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian official responsible for the crossing, said that 450 truckloads of goods for the trade, agricultural, and aid sectors were supposed to be allowed into Gaza.

Fattouh added that 150 trucks of those being allowed to cross are carrying gravel to be used in Qatari infrastructural projects.

He pointed out that fuel will also be allowed into Gaza.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is the only entry point for commercial and humanitarian goods from Israel into Gaza. more

Investigators: Israel fired on Gaza civilians carrying white flags


The Israeli military opened fire on a mass march of civilians who were carrying white flags and calling out “peaceful, peaceful” as they tried to exit Khuzaa village in southern Gaza, which had been under siege for three days, corralling them back into the village.

Those who were trapped in the village had tried to coordinate a safe evacuation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, but Israel’s shelling would not let up.

This is one of the many disturbing findings from one of the only international and independent fact-finding missions that Israel has allowed to access the Gaza Strip since the 26 August ceasefire that ended 51 days of intensive bombing.

Last week the mission published “No Safe Place,” a more than two hundred-page report on their findings from their forensic investigation. The mission’s aim was to assess the types, causes and patterns of injuries and deaths and to collect evidence for potential use in local or international justice mechanisms.

The investigation devotes special attention to the siege on Khuzaa, detailing the attempts civilians made to flee Israeli fire and finding that the army used people as human shields, executed civilians at close range, and intentionally neglected mortally wounded children. During the four days of heavy bombardment of the village, scores were critically injured. While the report refers to twelves deaths specifically, it says the total number of casualties remains unknown.

The report also finds that most of those who were killed during the summer assault were crushed to death, frequently in their homes, and often with other members of their family by their side. More than 142 families lost at least three members in a single strike. Recent casualty counts estimate the total killed as at least 2,257 and as high as 2,310.

Organized by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the investigation team consisted of international experts from the fields of forensic pathology, emergency medicine, pediatrics and health and human rights. more

Hundreds of thousands of children shell-shocked after the war in Gaza


From The Daily Telegraph - Sayed Bakr lived through a deadly missile bombardment in the darkest days of the war in Gaza.

But posing underneath a portrait of his closest brother, Mohammed, who he lost in that attack, proved too much. After volunteering to stand with the picture, the 12-year-old broke down and called for his mother.

Sayed and his friends were the target of one of the most harrowing episodes of last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. While playing football on the beach, they came under fire from an Israeli pilot who apparently mistook them for militants.

Four boys from the Bakr family died in the missile strike and four were injured. In the immediate aftermath, Sayed was left paralysed with terror, unable to speak, writhing hysterically against a wall.

Today, more than six months later, he is one of hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza who need treatment for shell-shock.

After his crying fits, nightmares and frequent violent outbursts he was given a course of powerful anti-psychotic drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He no longer goes to school, and is frequently visited by visions of the blast.

"I used to dream that I was dead," said Sayed, speaking hesitantly in the living room of his family's spartan home, a few hundred yards from where the strikes happened. "I always saw my brothers and cousins running after me in the dream. When the missiles struck and we were running away, I was certain we were all going to die. "Even today I am in continuous fear. Whenever I hear a loud noise or a bang, I feel terror." more

Israeli gunboats fire at Gaza fishermen


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – Israeli gunboats opened fire on Thursday morning at Palestinian fishermen off the coast in northwestern Gaza City, witnesses said.

According to the witnesses, fire from machine guns was heard from time to time off the coast during dawn hours. No injuries or detentions have been reported. more

Palestinian parties gather in support of Hezbollah in Gaza


Leaders representing major Palestinian parties and resistance groups in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday gathered to express their support for Hezbollah's strike against the Israeli military earlier in the day, calling for a "joint front" with the Lebanese movement.

The event, which brought together representatives of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a number of others, was held to celebrate the attack that left at least two Israeli soldiers in the occupied Shebaa Farms dead.

The strike came as a response to an Israeli attack on Hezbollah forces inside Syria just over a week ago that left seven fighters dead, including a top Iranian general.

Attendees at the event distributed sweets in celebration of the operation, and leaders from each of the parties assembled express their hopes for a united effort with Hezbollah against the Israeli occupation. more