by Julie Webb-Pullman
Gaza is today reeling from the brutal massacre of scores of people in the Shajaiyah neighbourhood east of Gaza City. Israeli tanks relentlessly shelled the area overnight, cutting off electricity and water supplies. Families huddled together, unable to flee because of the danger.
As day broke 40,000 people fled, carrying whatever they could. Bodies began arriving at Shifa Hospital from dawn – some 70 bodies were brought in but scores more dead and wounded still lay in the streets.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum today condemned the massacre.
“This is a war crime, why is there such a deafening silence from the world, from Egypt, from Mr Abbas, from the Arab countries? This encourages the occupation to continue such massacres,” he said in Gaza City.
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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.
A General Summary has been reported of operations carried out by the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist enemy in response to the Zionist crimes in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip until this moment:
1 – Firing rockets at settlements in the Negev.
2 – Launch rockets at Sderot.
3 – Launch rockets at settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
4 – The bombing of a Zionist military site “Sofa” by rockets and developed mortar heavily.
5 – The bombing of a Zionist military site “Kissufim” by rockets and mortar developed heavily.
It has also been reported that the Israeli army has declared a state of high alert in the south, and called for settlers to go to the shelters.
It is being reported in Wattan Voice that Palestinian rockets are now targeting Tel Aviv, for the first time in the history of the Palestinian resistance.
Expert in Israeli affairs Dr Adnan Abu Amer said at a press conference in Gaza City today that 100 days out from their elections, Israel is again beating the drums of war. With the prospect of US support for a strike against Iran fading fast, Netanyahu is turning his attention to Gaza in a bid to whip up an excuse for a display of strength, and the resulting votes, particularly from the southern settlements.
At the event held at the Government Media Office, Dr Abu Amer noted the increased presence and duration of the activity of Israeli forces on the Gaza borders, in military exercises that normally last four days to a week but which now persist.
Observing that the Israeli government needs something to increase its popularity with voters, he predicted they will resort to their traditional strategy of spilling Palestinian blood in the name of security.
While Syria, Lebanon and Iran have taken up much of Israel’s attention in recent months, muddying the waters in anticipating a possible Gaza strike, the latest attacks on Al Jihad and Al Qassam could well impact on the Israeli/Palestinian equation, he said.
He mentioned Israeli involvement in the Syrian situation, whereby Israel played a secret role when the internal civilian struggle first began, thus guaranteeing that what it wants from Syria is already happening without costing it anything. This has been followed by the second issue on the Israeli agenda, Lebanon, with the assassination of the Lebanese police intelligence chief two days ago – which many have attributed to Israel because of the meticulousness with which the operation was carried out, suggesting the involvement of highly professional state security services.
Abu Amer suggested that Israel may target one of the Al Qassam leaders to provide the justification it needs to start its war against Gaza.
“ Israeli F16 warplanes have not left the Gaza skies for days, and what they are up to we do not know,” he said.
A surprise attack on Gaza would be the “least expensive option” for Israel both economically and politically, but a land-based military operation is unlikely given the proximity of the southern settlements to Gaza, he considers.
A lightning-strike air offensive would be cheaper, more effective, and avoid dragging the country into a prolonged war during the electoral process. It would also serve the double purpose of creating heroes out of the air force, and of Netanyahu, who would be perceived by voters, especially in the southern settlements, as the emperor of security.
Dr Adnan Abu Amer noted the need for the Palestinian resistance factions to form a united operations team to be ready for any escalation of the situation, and to counter the inevitable asymmetrical warfare whereby Israel mobilises excuses and reasons to market in the external media, thus win over world public opinion against the Palestinians.
“Palestinians have several options to take a united stance to ensure Gaza is not left up for grabs by the hands of the occupation by a busy world which considers other regional issues more important,” he concluded.
Translation: Fatma Al Hasham