by Julie Webb-Pullman
Four Israeli missiles smashed into Al Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital at 2am Friday, in what can only be described as a barbaric war crime. Israel calls it ‘roof knocking.’ It is usually the precursor to a major attack that destroys the building and all within it.
The 14 patients who remain in the facility are all high-dependency, and unable to be transferred elsewhere. Many are intubated, a quarter are comatose, most are fully or partially paralysed and unable to mobilise. They range in age from 13 years to over 80, and about half are in their 20’s and 30’s.
None of them are militants, resistance fighters, or terrorists. They are all, each and every one of them, civilians. Their injuries were sustained through illness (meningitis, stroke during childbirth) or accident (electrocution, drowning, traffic accident).
They cannot even lift a spoon, let alone a gun.
Yet they are the deliberate target of Israeli rockets and missiles, fired from drones and tanks. Read more here
In the last hour, Israeli warplanes targeted the following sites in the Gaza Strip:
– The military Site “Abu Atayah” of Nasser Saladin Brigades, west of Rafah.
– The military Site “Saad Sayel” of Qassam Brigades east of Rafah.
– A piece of agricultural land near the site of “Safina” northwest of Gaza City.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the attacks.
In response, Palestinian resistance have launched new rocket attacks, and Israeli planes are flying west of Gaza.
The escalation of hostilities in the past few days was set off by an Israeli airstrike which killed three members of islamic Jihad on Tuesday. Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar were all killed in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.
Khaled al-Batch, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, last night announced they had agreed to restore the calm, but the truce was shortlived, perhaps because of the way it was negotiated.
Ma’an reported that an Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Egyptian national security services contacted Israel and the Islamic Jihad, but not Hamas, in order to negotiate the re-activation of the 2012 ceasefire.
al-Batch told Associated Press, “As long as the occupation [Israel] honors the calm, we will honor the calm and instructions are being given right now to al-Quds brigades, our military wing, about this understanding.”
Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told al-Mayadeen channel that the group was “not informed by Egypt about any agreement, and the Egyptian side should have coordinated with Hamas.”
Other signs that hostilities are likely to continue are that on Thursday, Israeli armed forces called up its air force reserves, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The Israeli Cabinet met on Thursday morning to dicsuss the situation in Gaza, and the decision to call the reserves was made by Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. Haaretz noted that calling up reserves requires the approval of the Knesset security and foreign committee, and a waiting period of 48 hours.
Only one thing is certain – as long as Israel coninues to occupy Palestinian territory, as long as Israel and Egypt continue their siege of the Gaza Strip, and as long as the international community continues to ignore Israel’s gross breaches of international law and the impending humanitarian crisis in Gaza, peace will be but a dream.
Committee to Break the Siege demands opening of borders, as EU warns of serious consequences, and Israel bombs
The National Committee to Break the Siege and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza held a Press Conference outside the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza on Wednesday to demand the opening of Gaza’s borders.
Under the banner of “We’ll Stay Free, End The Siege” the speakers highlighted the perilous humanitarian conditions now prevailing in Gaza. Adham Abu Selmeh, Arabic spokesman of the Committee, demanded that the international community act immediately to enforce humanitarian law and end the suffering of Gazans.
In the video, English spokeswomen Huda Skaik provides a translation of his speech at 9 minutes in.
Hours later, the European Union released a report warning of dire consequences for the region of ignoring the plight of Gaza, and highlighting the economic damage caused by both the blockade Israel imposed in 2006, and Egypt’s destruction of hundreds of cross-border tunnels after the July ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
Emphasizing that Israel bears the prime responsibility for the situation, The EU Report said Gaza is facing a dangerous and pressing humanitarian and economic situation.
It warned that if left unaddressed, the situation could have serious consequences for stability in Gaza, and for regional security.
Meanwhile, Israel carried out a series of overnight airstrikes on Gaza, punishing the Palestinian population for the legitimate defensive response of its resistance to an Israeli incursion into Gaza territory on Tuesday morning, yet another of the 150+ documented Israeli breaches of the November 2012 truce.
Israel followed up their border breach with the killing of three of the resistance fighters defending Gaza’s territorial integrity. This brought to seven the total of Palestinians killed by Israel within 24 hours, and resulted in dozens of resistance rockets being fired into Israel in response.
The tens of Israeli airstrikes overnight caused considerable destruction, but no injuries.
It seems only Quisling Cameron and the USraeli president still believe the fiction of Israel’s commitment to peace – hundreds of breaches of the truce, and thousands of dead Palestinians prove otherwise.
Mousa Al-Za’anin, 21, and Sharif Samir Nasser, 25, were killed in drone strikes in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza a few hours ago.
Witnesses reported two strikes fired directly at a group of Palestinians in al-Sikka street.
Mousa was pronounced dead on arrival at Kamal Adwan hospital, and Sharif died a short time later. Two others were injured.
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of its brutal Operation Cast Lead, Israel launched a series of attacks on the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, injuring at least two people. One of the injured has been identified as Salem al-Asi, aged 41 years.
The targets included the Al Nafaq Street in Gaza City, which has barely recovered from being submerged by flood-waters during recent storms, adding further suffering for the already-reeling residents.
Thursday’s attacks follow hard on the heels of Israel’s killing of three year old Hala Abu Sabikha whilst playing in her yard. Hala’s aunt and other relatives were also injured when an Israeli tank fired three shells at the family home.
Israeli Human Rights organisation B’Tselem condemned that attack. “Deliberate firing at a home occupied by civilians, without its inhabitants having been given any prior warning and without the military ensuring that the civilians have vacated the premises, as appears to be the case in this situation, is unlawful,” they reported.
In response to what is a clear war crime, rockets were later fired from Gaza into Southern Israel, which according to Israel’s own military reports, “fell in open areas, causing no damage or injuries.”
But in blatant contravention of proportionality of response, Israel then launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza population.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israeli forces have killed 4 civilians near the Gaza Strip border fence in 2013, and wounded 55, including 12 children.
Rockets from Gaza have not killed or injured any Israelis in the same period, although one Israeli citizen, Bedouin labourer Salah Abu Latif, 22 was killed by sniper fire last week. The Palestinian Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for that shooting.
During Operation Cast Lead, some 1500 Palestinians were killed by Israel, while there were only 13 Israeli deaths, four of them from ‘friendly’ fire.
Operation Cast Lead also ushered in a new era in the use of prohibited weaponry, such as white phosphorous and depleted uranium, for which Israel has still not been held to account in the international arena.