Friday, 17 July 2015

Gazan residents celebrating Eid reminded of last year's losses

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Residents of the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood in the Gaza Strip enter Eid al-Fitr celebrations this year reminded of the heavy losses sustained just before the holiday began last year.

Gaza resident Um Mumen Skafi lost both her son and her home after an attack by Israeli forces took place shortly before the holy month of Ramadan came to a close last year, in what would later be known as the Shujaiyya massacre.

Um Mumen stands next to her son's picture in sorrow and says the Eid al-Fitr holiday comes this year bringing painful memories of last year's holiday that began amidst the 50-day between Israel and Hamas that left over 2,200 Palestinians dead and thousands injured from Israeli attacks.

“This is the most difficult Eid in my life without my son Issam and my brother Ibrahim who were killed as martyrs," Um Mumen says.

Her son Issam Skafi, 27, was killed with eight of his cousins in an Israeli attack that was carried out by F-16 warplanes in the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood near Gaza City on July 20, 2014.

Around seventy Palestinians were killed that day alone in the neighborhood.

Intense fighting between Hamas forces and Israeli military caused thousands of residents to flee by foot as heavy shelling left casualties laying in the streets.

Um Mumen says that her son and relatives were hit despite a ceasefire that had been agreed in order to allow the evacuation of Palestinians from the densely populated neighborhood.

Gaza's Ministry of Health later listed the Skafi family as one of several targeted by Israeli shelling during the war.

A UN Commission of Inquiry reported last month that "there are strong indications that the IDF’s Shuja’iya operation on 19 and 20 July was conducted in violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and may amount to a war crime." more

Half of Susiya village to be demolished by Israelis after Ramadan

Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of around half of the homes, in a village south of Hebron, to be carried out after Ramadan, Israeli watchdogs said on Wednesday.

Rabbis for Human Rights and B'Tselem said, in a statement, that pressure from Israeli settlers had led to the decision to carry out demolition orders in the village of Khirbet Susiya after Ramadan, although a high court hearing regarding the case is currently scheduled for August 3.

The Israeli Civil Administration, the Israeli army, and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office announced the demolition order to the villagers in a meeting, Sunday. Khirbet Susiya has been under imminent threat of demolition since May, when the Israeli High Court approved the demolition of the villagers' homes and tents and possible relocation of the villages around 300 Bedouin residents.

The court case has been ongoing since 2012, when residents of Khirbet Susiya applied for the Israeli Civil Administration to approve an outline plan for northern part of the village.

Susiya villagers reportedly built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archaeological site. more