Palestinian killed north of Jerusalem and clashes in the West Bank against the Israeli attacks on Gaza
Mahmoud Al-Shawamreh was killed last night in Hizma village, north of Jerusalem, after a group of Israeli settlers opened fire against him.
Palestinian security sources reported that Mahmoud, from Al-Ram village also north of Jerusalem, was seriously injured in the attack and a Palestinian ambulance transferred him to a hospital in Jerusalem, but he died from his injuries on his way there.
The sources added that clashes erupted in the main entrance of Hizma after the killing. The Israeli Occupation Forces fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs to the Palestinian youth, who were demonstrating against the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
In Bethlehem, clashes erupted in Rachel Tomb area, north of the city, between the Palestinian youth who went to the streets to show their anger for the situation in Gaza and the Israeli army. The army fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at the protesters, who were throwing stones and fireworks in response. Several Palestinians were injured during the clashes.
The coordinator of the Popular Resistance Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in Al-Khader village, Ahmad Salah, reported that clashes broke out last night in the village between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. As in the other cases they attacked the youth with live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs. The protesters threw stones at them, and several of them suffered from suffocation due to tear gas.
Ahmad Salah added that the Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Yazan Ahmad Salah, 18 years old, from the village, while he was protesting near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.
The Palestinian youth also clashed with the IOF in other cities, villages and refugee camps all over the West Bank during demonstrations against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. There have been daily clashes in the West Bank, Jerusalem and 48 territories since the beginning of the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the 8th of July.
(Source / 23.07.2014)
Khalid al-Saleh, president of the Media Office, praised the “efforts made by the interim cabinet which was dissolved during the General Assembly meeting today. Al Saleh said that “dissolving the interim cabinet does not mean lack of confidence or denying the efforts it has made so far, but it is chance to grant confidence to new technocratic expertise and to make the most of the renewable youthful expertise. The decision to form a new cabinet is purely democratic and was made in accordance with our national interests. Moreover, forming the interim cabinet set the stage for the institutionalization of the opposition bodies, even though it was marred by some faults which are a natural byproduct of any work or effort made in any field.” Al Saleh also said that the decision was made to create new ground for work on the basis of moving the government into the interior as soon as possible, and employing Syrian revolutionary capabilities. Experience has shown that any interim cabinet will not live up to the demands of the Syrian people if it does work close to them. Hadi al Bahra, president of the Syrian Coalition, stressed the importance of institutional and technocratic work, and that the selection of human cadres must be based mainly on experience. Bahra stressed that the technocratic institutional work should govern the structure of the interim government, pointing out that the selection of human resources should depend on experience and competence, and that the cadres that previously worked in the institutions of the Assad regime should not be marginalized.“ He also stresses that “the plan we are seeking to implement has a name: Syria, and we will go through with it regardless of the internal and external political fluctuations. Therefore, we have initiated reforms to completely restructure the interim government and the SMC
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 23.07.2014)
Until now, more than 630 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, and 27 Israel soldiers been killed at the hands of the Resistance. In Shujaiyya, elders, mothers and children scrambled for cover as shells mercilessly rained down, stealing the souls of countless innocents.
The destruction is overwhelming, and everywhere, Palestinians lament there is nowhere that is safe. Regardless, resolve is strong and the people of Gaza will not resign themselves to surrender.
The resistance movement in Gaza is often misrepresented intentionally at times, and at other times innocuously. In the heat of the information battle that has ensued since Israel unleashed its latest war many facts and essential context have gone missing.
Historically, Gaza has been a hub for uninterrupted popular resistance since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine at the hands of Zionist militias, and later the Israeli army, in 1947-48. An estimated 200,000 of Palestine’s then nearly 800,000 refugees were forced there, with most enduring squalid and humiliating conditions.
Despite the shock of war and the humiliation of defeat, Gazans fought back almost immediately. There was no Fatah, no Hamas, and no siege — in comparison to its current definition — and Gazans did not organize around any political factions, or ideologies. Rather they assembled in small groups known to Gazans as Fedayeen — freedom fighters.
These were dispossessed refugees still unaware of the complexity of their political surroundings, and the Fedayeen were mostly young Palestinian refugees fighting to return to their home. But their operations grew bolder day by day.
They would sneak back into their towns — which then eventually became part of Israel — with primitive weapons and homemade bombs. They would kill Israeli soldiers, steal their weapons and return with the new weapons the second night.
Some would secretly go back to their villages in Palestine to ‘steal’ food, blankets and whatever money they had failed to retrieve in the rush of war. Those who never returned received the funerals of martyrs, with thousands of fellow refugees marching with symbolic coffins to graveyards. Hundreds never returned and few bodies were ever recovered.
Following every Fedayeen strike, the Israeli army would hit back at Gaza’s refugees, inspiring yet more support and recruits for the growing commando movement.
The prowess of those young refugee fighters was on full display in November 1956, when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip and large swathes of Sinai following the Suez Crisis. Egyptians fought the Israeli army with much courage, but the Palestinian garrison based in Khan Younis — now a major target in the latest Israeli war — refused to surrender.
When the fighting was over, Israel moved into Khan Younis and carried out what is now etched in the Palestinian collective memory as one of the most horrific mass killings in Gaza’s history — a massacre of 124 men and boys in the Rafah refugee camp known as al-Amiriyah School Massacre.
“The victims were herded into the school under the batons of the soldiers,” reflects Dr Ahmed Yousef, in a recent article. “Those who survived the beatings were met with a hail of bullets and the demolition of the building over their heads. The bloodstains stayed on the school walls for years to remind us children of Israel’s crime.”
Yousef, then a child in a brutalized Rafah, would later become a top adviser to Hamas’ first Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh in Gaza. His article, originally published in Arabic, was entitled: “The Resistance will not surrender … we will be victorious or die.”
Are there any surprises in how the past is knitted both to Gaza’s present and future? It should also be of no surprise that Palestine’s mightiest resistance today, the Ezz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was formed by a small group of school kids in the central Gaza Strip.
These were poor refugees who grew up witnessing the brutality of the occupation, and the abuse it invited into their daily lives. The group adopted the name of Ezz al-Din al-Qassam, an Arab preacher who fought British colonialism and the Zionist forces until he was killed by British forces in a Jenin orchard in 1935.
The first young men who started al-Qassam were all killed shortly after the inception of their group. But what they started has since become a massive movement of thousands of fighting men and woman which, as this article was being written, were keeping Israeli forces in northern Gaza at bay.
Resistance in Gaza, as in any historical inevitability, can never be interrupted. Successive Israeli governments have tried extreme measures for decades before the so-called Operation Cast Lead of 2008-9.
After the 1967 war, Ariel Sharon was entrusted with the bloody task of “pacifying” the headstrong Strip. Then the head of Israel’s military’s southern command, he was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for good reason.
Sharon understood that pacifying Gaza would require heavy armored vehicles, since Gaza’s crowded neighborhoods and alleyways weaving through its destitute refugee camps were not suited for heavy machinery. So he bulldozed homes, thousands of them, to pave the way so tanks and yet more bulldozers could move in and topple more homes.
Modest estimates put the number of houses destroyed in August 1970 alone at 2,000. Over 16,000 Palestinians were made homeless, with thousands forced to relocate from one refugee camp into another.
The al-Shati (“Beach”) refugee camp near Gaza City sustained most of the damage, with many fleeing for their lives and taking refuge in mosques and UN schools and tents. Sharon’s declared objective was targeting “terrorist infrastructure.” What he in fact meant to do was target the very population that resisted and aided the resistance.
Indeed, they were the very infrastructure he harshly pounded for many days and weeks. Sharon’s bloody sweep also resulted in the execution of 104 resistance fighters and the deportation of hundreds of others, some to Jordan, and others to Lebanon. The rest were simply left to rot in the Sinai desert.
It is the same “terrorist infrastructure” that Sharon’s follower, Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking to destroy by using the same tactics of collective punishment, and applying the same language and media talking points.
In Gaza, the past and the present are intertwined. Israel is united by the same purpose: crushing anyone who dares to resist. Palestinians in Gaza are also united with a common threat: their resistance, which, despite impossible odds seems likely to intensify.
Just by taking a quick glance at the history of this protracted battle — the refugees versus the Middle East’s ‘strongest army’ — one can say with a great degree of conviction that Israel cannot possibly subdue Gaza. You may call that a historical inevitability as well.
Clashes between rival Libyan militias fighting for control of the international airport in the capital, Tripoli, have killed 47 people over the last week, Libya’s Health Ministry said.
The ministry said on its website late yesterday that the fighting also left 120 people wounded. It also said it had not yet received the full casualty report.
The weeklong battle over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed yesterday after cease-fire efforts failed.
Television footage broadcast yesterday showed a mortar shell striking a Libyan Arab Airlines plane and a column of black smoke billowing from inside the airport, which has been closed since last Monday.
Libya is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The rival militias, made up largely of former rebels, have forced a weeklong closure of gas stations and government offices.
In recent days, armed men have attacked vehicles carrying money from the Central Bank to local banks, forcing their closure. The Central Bank had said banks would reopen yesterday, but then remained closed as the fighting resumed.
Libyan government officials and activists have increasingly been targeted in the violence. Unknown gunmen kidnapped two lawmakers in the western suburbs of Tripoli yesterday, a parliament statement said, and urged the government to intervene to free them.
Last Thursday, a female lawmaker in a liberal-leaning political bloc in the outgoing parliament, Fareha al-Barqawi, was killed in the eastern city of Darna.
The motives behind the killing were not known, but such targeted killings rampant in Libya over the past two years have been blamed on the militias, which successive governments have struggled to control.
In the past two days in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, gunmen killed an army officer while he was driving home in his car, and a former special forces officer was shot dead in the downtown Salmani district.
The UN Support Mission in Libya said last week it was temporarily withdrawing its staff because of the deteriorating security situation.
(Source / 23.07.2014)
A Palestinian man, who medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling, is pictured through door slots as he speaks on the phone at a hospital in Gaza City July 23, 2014
The medical director of the central Gaza hospital which was shelled by Israel’s military on Monday has described the attack as “criminal” and thorough, putting even more strain on an already over-worked medical team.
Five people were killed and 16 injured in the attack, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
“They first attacked the ambulances and then the floors that we have allocated as safe refuge for displaced families whose houses had been burnt down,” said Kamal Khattab, medical director of Shohada Al-Aqsa Hospital in the heart of Gaza.
“Then they attacked the upper floors where we had patients who were barely recovering from operations … It was criminal. One patient died and many got new wounds. I cannot believe that the world turns a blind eye to such a brutal aggression. Not in a war, it is not allowed ever to attack hospitals – not under any of the fabricated pretexts that Israel is offering.”
“It is the life of innocent civilians who are twice attacked by Israel’s aggression – first when they are attacked at what should be the safety of their homes and then at the hospitals where they are treated,” he said.
Israel said the attack was designed to eliminate military equipment that the Palestinian resistance had hidden in the yard of the central Gaza hospital.
“They can come up with whatever stories they wish, but the fact of the matter is that they attacked the single hospital that provides medical care for some 30,000 residents of central Gaza who had no other medical facility to go to and that has been trying very hard for over two weeks to desperately provide medical care for those wounded by Israeli aggression,” Khattab said.
Under the ongoing aggression, the Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent managed to move some of the patients to other hospitals and to try and fix parts of the destroyed sections of Shohada Al-Aqsa Hospital.
According to the medical director, the capacity of the hospital to deal with the tough situation is already very weak. Seven years of an Israeli blockade on Gaza has left the hospital’s equipment “barely functioning” and medicine and supplies in short supply.
The surgeons and doctors are “usually very resilient” but some of them have broken down in tears under the pressure of 18-hour shifts and the “devastation” of not being able to save every life or seeing families hit with big losses.
“We are barely holding up,” he said.
“We need this aggression to come to an end and until it does, we need our hospitals, our wounded and patients and our medical teams to be spared.”
(Source / 23.07.2014)
“No can disarm the resistance,” Mashaal said in a televised speech from Doha.
Twenty-eight foreign ministers of EU member states had on Tuesday called on Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades and other militant groups to disarm.
Mashaal’s speech came as the death toll from Israel’s latest assault on Gaza neared 700 on the 16th day of the offensive. Over 4,000 Palestinians have been wounded and some 140,000 have been displaced due to the Israeli attacks.
“We cannot accept any proposal that does not include the lifting of the siege on Gazans,” Meshaal said.
“How many Israeli soldiers is Israel willing to see dead before the siege is lifted?”
Some 31 Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian militants since the army began a mass ground invasion on July 17, according to army figures.
The leader bemoaned the severe number of Palestinian casualties and the breakdown of the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the start of the offensive.
“Everything in Gaza is collapsing,” Mashaal said. “No water, no electricity, no medicine, no fuel, no food.”
He urged UN chief Ban Ki-Moon to visit Gaza to witness the effects of the onslaught firsthand.
Israel says it launched “Operation Protective Edge” in response to increased rocket fire on southern Israel in June and early July.
Militant groups in Gaza say they launched the rockets in response to Israel’s military search campaign to find three missing Israeli teenagers, a campaign that left at least six Palestinians dead, dozens injured, and hundreds arrested.
The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.
The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.
Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad al-Malki, listens to a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a probe into the Gaza offensive, backing calls by the Palestinians to hold Israel to account despite fierce opposition from Tel Aviv.
The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top UN human rights body, where the Israelis and the Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes.
The 47-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with Arab and fellow Muslim countries joined by China and Russia, plus Latin American and African nations.
The United States was the sole member to vote against. The 17 abstentions were by the council’s European members, plus Japan and South Korea.
The probe team, yet to be appointed, is tasked with reporting back to the council by March.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s media office slammed it as a “travesty” that ignored violations by Palestinian Hamas Islamists.
“This investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion,” his office said.
US ambassador Keith Harper warned the vote would undermine ceasefire efforts.
“This resolution is not constructive, it is destructive,” Harper said, noting it lacked “any semblance of balance” because it made no mention of Hamas’ attacks.
Speaking for the European Union, Italian ambassador Maurizio Serra also criticised the failure to mention Hamas or recognise Israel’s right to self-defence, despite last-ditch efforts by his team to have such language included.
The session was called by Arab nations and fellow members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The council’s membership rotates, and Israel is not currently part of the UN body. Non-members cannot vote but are entitled to speak.
Israeli ambassador Eviator Manor lashed out at countries that piloted the vote.
“Their Pavlovian instinct demands they react against Israel, in order to divert attention from their own human rights violations,” he said.
“Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets indiscriminately at Israel towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with the civilian residents of Gaza. Another war crime,” he said.
“And this council sits in judgement of Israel? There can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending itself,” he added.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hit back.
“What Israel is doing is a crime against humanity,” he said.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also said Israel’s military actions could amount to war crimes, while at the same time condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas.
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told the council, citing attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians, including children.
She said Israelis also had a right to live without constant fear of rocket attacks.
“Once again, the principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups,” she said.
The resolution condemned “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” since Israel launched its offensive last month and called for the urgent deployment of an “independent, international commission of inquiry”.
The Gaza offensive marks the worst violence since two spikes in conflict in 2009 and 2012, and has already claimed the lives of more than 685 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 34 Israelis, 32 of them soldiers.
“Twenty-five Palestinians have been killed for every single Israeli. How far is this going to go?” Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi asked.
“When we ask for a commission of inquiry, what we want to do is identify those responsible so they can be held accountable, so that we can shed light on the truth,” he said.
Manor vowed that Israel would “destroy” Hamas’ military infrastructure.
“However, the Gaza residents are not our enemies. Israel is fully committed to international law,” he said.
(Source / 23.07.2014)