Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

Gaza violence: Media ignoring Hamas role in Israel embassy …

Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Monday, May 14, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza’s border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem.AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

The media narrative on Monday pointed to a poignant dichotomy unfolding in Israel and Gaza.

On one side were the Israelis, elated that at last, the US government lived up to its 23-year-old promise to move its embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. On the other side were Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity.

The headlines were explicit and one-sided in their portrayal of the latter:

Countless other news platforms had similar headlines, which were followed by stories that chastised Israel for its use of deadly force. Many took particular issue with the fact that Palestinian children have been hurt in the melee.

But absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.”

There isn’t a country in the entire world that would tolerate this kind of activity at its border. There are Israeli towns one mile from Gaza, and flaming kites sent over the border at least one that was emblazoned with a swastika have already set fire to Israeli warehouses and fields.

It’s hardly a secret what these types of actors plan to do should they be allowed across the border. They have thrown not just rocks and flaming kites but Molotov cocktails and attempted to plant a bomb. These individuals are not simply seeking the right to march through the territory they believe is theirs. This is not about a peace-loving cabal looking to hop the fence.

“We are excited to storm and get inside … whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones,” The Washington Post quoted one of the “protesters,” 23-year-old Mohammed Mansoura, as saying.

And the role Hamas as an organization is playing in the violence should not be underrated. The Washington Post reported that organizers of the protest went so far as to tell the people protesting “to burst through the fence,” because “Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions,” when in reality, they were reinforcing them. Critics of Israel say that they do not care about Palestinian lives, but it is Hamas that continuously endangers them.

It’s likely to get worse on Tuesday on Nakba day, or “the day of the catastrophe” when Palestinians mourn the establishment of the state of Israel and the ways in which their lives changed as a result.

Israel’s Channel 10 has reported that Palestinian sources have indicated that on Tuesday, armed Hamas members will shoot at soldiers and attempt to kidnap one. Should they succeed, much of the media will likely run with the headline: “Israeli soldier has audacity to show up to Nakba day ceremony uninvited.”

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May 14, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Israel bombs Gaza tunnel and closes key crossing damaged …

In addition to its immediate and practical effect, the surgical strike on the tunnel along Erez is a signal to Hamas that Israel will not shy away from exerting the full force of its military, if necessary, during a week that will include the inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem; Nakba Day, in which Palestinians mark their dispossession during Israel’s war of independence; and the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar each potent events fraught with national, cultural and religious meaning.

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May 12, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Israeli military doubling troop positioned along Gaza …

There are heightened tensions in Israel this weekend, just days before the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli forces on Saturday blew up what they said was a Hamas terror tunnel at the Gaza border.Palestinian protesters have been fighting with Israeli troops at the border since March.

The site of the new U.S. embassy is being readied, and signs are up across Jerusalem thanking President Trump for moving the embassy, thus recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Saturday, hundreds of Palestinians, who have been protesting the embassy move, marched through the streets of Gaza, carrying the body of a protester shot by Israeli troops Friday.

He was among an estimated 15,000 demonstrators, some burning tires and hurling rocks at Israeli forces. Palestinians have also started attaching fire-bombs to kites and flying them into Israel.

Along the Gaza border on Friday, CBS News found Israelis flying kites in a counter-demonstration.

“They kill their own. I mean they kill their own,” said Leah Goldin, whose son Hadar was killed four years in a war with Hamas. His body was never returned. She’s angry and thinks Hamas is using Palestinians’ suffering for publicity.

“This is awful to use children’s games kites and to turn them into bombs,” Goldin said. “To burn what? The fields?”

As a result of one of those fire-kites, a crop that has been destroyed, which was a field of wheat and while the damage is relatively limited, ultimately it is symbolic. After all, this is a fight over land and who it belongs to.

Racing across the fields, we found firefighters on specially-fitted motorcycles. Captain Liron Soll explained they go where fire engines cannot.

“All big fires start from small one if you are in the right place in the right time you can close it with a glass of water. So, we are the glass of water,” Soll said.

Israelis told CBS News the burned fields on this side of the conflict cannot compare with the level of suffering or images coming from Gaza. Anger is boiling, Hamas is calling on its supporters to storm the security fence — and Israel’s military is strengthening its defenses.

2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Palestinians try to rip through Gaza border fence, drawing …

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –Hundreds of Palestinians converged on the Gaza Strip’s border fence with Israel on Friday, trying to rip through it before drawing heavy Israeli fire in one of the most violent incidents yet in five weeks of protests. Three Palestinians were killed and dozens were reported wounded.

The violence came shortly after a top U.N. official urged Israel to refrain from using excessive force against the protesters.

At least 38 protesters have been killed by Israeli live fire and more than 1,600 wounded in the weekly protests since they began March 30. Israel has rejected the international criticism, saying it is defending its sovereign border and accusing Gaza’s Hamas leaders, who are organizing the protests, of using the crowds as cover to carry out attacks.

In Friday’s unrest, a large crowd gathered a few hundred meters from the border, with some throwing stones and setting tires on fire in what has become a weekly occurrence.

Late in the afternoon, dozens of young men broke away from the larger protest, moving south about 200 meters and approaching the fence. The crowd then tried to break through the fence with hooks and wire cutters when Israeli forces opened fire. Witnesses said three protesters briefly crossed into Israel and turned around.

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City in the central Gaza Strip, during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the border with Israel on April 27, 2018.

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty

Hundreds of additional protesters ran to the scene, and the numbers quickly grew to several thousand. Israeli armored vehicles sped to the site and fired barrages of tear gas. As gunfire erupted, the crowd dispersed. A dozen Palestinian ambulances jammed a dirt road lining up to evacuate the wounded. Some in the crowd shouted “shahid,” or “martyr” as bodies were taken away on stretchers.

Palestinian health officials reported three people killed and 611 wounded, including 138 hit by live fire in incidents along the border throughout the day.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it had “thwarted” an attempted infiltration by Palestinian protesters.

It said “hundreds of rioters” tried to burn the fence and enter the Israel. It said the crowd threw explosives, firebombs and rocks, and that troops opened fire “in accordance with the rules of engagement” and halted the crowd. It released a video showing a young Palestinian man placing a burning tire along the fence in an apparent attempt to set it on fire. In another, a small group lobs stones at an Israeli military vehicle on the other side of the fence.

In other incidents, the military said Palestinian crowds rolled burning tires, hurled rocks and flew kites with flaming objects attached with the goal of damaging the fence and other Israeli targets. It also released a photo appearing to show a group of youths tugging at barbed wire along the fence.

The marches, aimed in part at trying to break a decade-old border blockade, have been organized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers but have also been driven by widespread despair in the coastal territory of 2 million people.

Gaza organizers say the marches are also pressing for the “right of return” of refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel. Two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees who fled or were expelled from properties during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. The protests are to culminate on May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s creation. Hamas organizers have made conflicting statements about whether they plan a mass border breach at some point.

Hamas’ supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, visited a protest camp in the southern town of Rafah, vowing larger protests in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel and among Palestinian refugees in other countries on May 15. “Our people will not slow down the protests until they get their rights,” he said.

The Israeli military has repeatedly said it will not allow Gazans to burst across the border. Israeli communities are located just a few hundred meters away.

However, Israel has come under heavy international criticism for allegedly using excessive force.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Israeli troops have not heeded warnings by the United Nations and others, repeatedly using lethal force against unarmed protesters in the past month.

Gaza health officials say that four minors, including a 14-year-old boy, have been among the dead.

“The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators — not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” the commissioner said.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said Israel is “diligently defending its sovereignty” and accused Zeid of encouraging Hamas’ “exploitation of civilians.” He said the commissioner is “not focused on human rights, but only with obsessively criticizing Israel.”

Thousands have taken part in the Friday demonstrations from five protest tent camps, each set up several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence. Small groups usually move toward the fence, setting tires ablaze to hamper the vision of the security forces while others throw stones or firebombs.

Israeli soldiers, including snipers taking cover behind sand berms, have responded by firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets and live rounds.

Israel’s military has said troops are under orders to target “instigators,” but has also warned that anyone approaching or trying to damage the fence risks his life.

Palestinians demonstrate during clashes with Israeli security forces near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of the northern town of Jabalia, on April 27, 2018, on the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border.

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

Rights groups have said such open-fire rules are unlawful because they allow soldiers to use potentially lethal force in situations where their lives are not in danger.

Israeli officials have said that some of the protesters in recent weeks tried to damage the border fence or plant explosives along it. Others have tried to set Israeli fields on fire on the other side of the fence by hurling improvised explosives or firebombs, or flying the flaming kites.

A group of Palestinian activists calling themselves “the tires unit” arrived Friday on a truck laden with old tires. A van mounted with loudspeakers followed the truck with chants and applause. Tires were set ablaze, filling the air with thick smoke. With hooks and a long rope, the activists pulled at parts of the barbed wire adjacent to the fence.

Israel and Egypt imposed the Gaza blockade in 2007, in response to a violent takeover of the territory by Hamas, which had won Palestinian parliament elections a year earlier. The blockade has gutted Gaza’s economy, driving up unemployment and leaving two-thirds of young people without jobs.

Hamas’ Interior Ministry announced that Egypt had agreed to open the Rafah border crossing for three days, beginning Saturday. The temporary opening is the second this month.

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Four Killed in Gaza, as Weekly Protests Shrink – The New …

JERUSALEM They came in smaller numbers. But the outcome was still deadly, and the victims this time included a 15-year-old boy.

Palestinians protested for a fourth Friday along the security fence dividing Gaza from Israel, some of them burning tires, hurling rocks or flying kites with flaming tails in the hope of setting ablaze the fields of Israeli rural communities on the other side. The Israeli military distributed a photograph of one kite with a scrawled swastika.

The military estimated the number of participants at about 3,000 in five locations along the Gaza border, down from at least 30,000 on March 30, when the protest campaign started.

But by evening the Gaza Health Ministry reported four killed by Israeli sniper fire. One was identified as Muhammad Ayoub, 15. Amateur video taken on the Gaza side of the fence purported to show him shot while running with other youths, apparently empty-handed. Graphic photographs showed the teenager lying on the rocky ground, bleeding from the head, and later on a hospital gurney.

His father, Ibrahim Ayoub, told a local Gaza-based news site: I thank Allah for taking him as a martyr. This is better than the humiliating life and tragedy we live.

The Friday toll brought the total number of fatalities from the start of the campaign to at least 37. Hundreds more protesters have been wounded by Israeli fire.

Israel has drawn international censure for using live fire against the mostly unarmed protesters who did not appear to present any immediately life-threatening danger to the soldiers.

On Friday, Nickolay E. Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, denounced the shooting of the 15-year-old as outrageous, writing on Twitter: How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace? It doesnt! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. He called for an investigation into the killing.

Even as the numbers of protesters waned, the international campaign supporting the Palestinians received a boost this week when Natalie Portman, the Oscar-winning actress, backed out of a major award ceremony meant to honor her in Jerusalem. Representatives initially cited her distress over recent events in Israel. On Friday, Ms. Portman issued a statement explaining her absence, saying, I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israels military says it is acting to prevent any mass crossing of the fence and to prevent attacks against Israeli soldiers and nearby communities. The military said it was looking into the reports of the fatalities.

On Friday, the Israeli military said in a statement that people participating in what it described as riots were attempting to approach the security infrastructures, burning tires and trying to fly kites over the border with burning items attached to them. Several crossed into Israel, the statement said, and were extinguished when required.

The military added that it would not allow any harm to security infrastructure that protects Israeli civilians, and will act against the violent rioters and terrorists who threaten either. The troops responded with tear gas and live fire.

As in previous weeks, no injuries were reported on the Israeli side.

The protests began as a grass-roots campaign but were quickly adopted by Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza. They are meant to draw international attention to the 11-year blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the isolated, impoverished coastal territory. The protests also are meant to punctuate Palestinian demands for the return to lands in what is now Israel.

The organizers of the protests, named the Great Return March, originally said the idea had been for a peaceful, family-style six-week sit-in at tent encampments erected about 700 yards from the fence, with weekly marches building up to a peak on May 15. That is when Palestinians mark the Nakba, or the catastrophe, of the foundation of Israel and the war surrounding its creation in 1948, during which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in what is now Israel. Many of the refugees ended up in Gaza.

Israel says the campaign has been taken over by Hamas, which Israel, like much of the Western world, classifies as a terrorist organization.

In leaflets dropped from the air on Friday the military warned protesters, in Arabic, to stay away from the fence, and told them to ignore instructions from Hamas, which Israel says is exploiting the protesters for its own political interests. While a few confronted the troops, most of the protesters stood by, watching.

One protester, Abdallah Daoud, 16, explained why he was participating. With his face black with soot from the burning tires and slingshot in hand, he said: There is no money, there is nothing. I want to be a martyr because of the siege, a reference to the blockade. I cannot get out of Gaza. There is no income.

In a new tactic, protesters including whole families in the Shejaiya area of eastern Gaza moved tents forward to about 300 yards from the fence, considered the edge of the danger zone.

Some Shejaiya protesters built a cage, like a mock prison cell, containing effigies of two Israeli soldiers whose bodies are being held by Hamas in Gaza, and two Israeli citizens also believed held by Hamas there. The entrance to the Shejaiya protest site included a large poster with pictures and names of those killed during the first three Fridays.

During a visit to the protest area, Ismail Haniya, the political leader of the Hamas organization, said: Be ready and prepared for the human flood on all the borders of Palestine inside and outside the occupied lands on the anniversary of the Nakba.

Islamic Jihad, an extremist group that often rivals Hamas in Gaza, went further, releasing a video on Thursday showing Israeli officers, including a senior general, in its sights as they toured the Israeli side of the fence.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israels hard-line defense minister, visited the Gaza border area on Friday. What we have seen in these four weeks is that every week there are less and less people on the one hand, he said, and on the other hand, there is much more terror activity.

He warned, Whoever makes threats will lose in the end.

Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza.

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April 22, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian …

In what amounted to the highest number of casualties in a single day in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 hostilities, on 30 March, 18 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces (or died of wounds sustained that day), and another 1,400 were injured, including over half of them by live ammunition,…

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Hamas Sees Gaza Protests as Peaceful and as a Deadly …

Few analysts, and certainly few Israelis, have suggested that Hamas may actually be rethinking its strategy merely because it has joined what are meant to be nonviolent mass protests and has name-checked the heroes of peaceful civil disobedience.

Its quite understandable that when those that proscribe Hamas as a terror organization see Haniya surrounded by icons of peace, it does little to dispel memories of very violent and bloody attacks, including by suicide bombs, said Beverley Milton-Edwards, an expert on political Islam at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar who was a co-author of a history of Hamas.

But if Mr. Haniyas unexpected nod to nonviolence struck some as contradictory and self-serving as evidence of, one might say, a degree of chutzpah his organizations embrace of the Gaza protests had a clear logic that can be understood in much simpler terms.

Terms like no-brainer.

Its experiment with popular resistance may or may not be wholehearted, but it is indisputably pragmatic.

A month or two ago, Hamas was cornered. Isolated regionally, rived by internal disputes, it had been unable to ameliorate a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and was increasingly humiliated by the failure of reconciliation talks with Ramallah.

They had to make too many concessions in the hope of getting a little bit in exchange, and they wound up getting nothing whatsoever, said Azzam Tamimi, an analyst for a London-based Arabic television channel with close ties to top Hamas leadership.

After a decade running Gaza, and hemmed in by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, Hamas was growing deeply unpopular.

Though most Gazans would blame Israel fundamentally, and Egypt indirectly, a lot of Palestinians would just do away with all of Hamas to have a better life, said Tareq Baconi, author of Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, to be published next month by Stanford University Press.

The group was in such dire straits that analysts and Israeli security officials warned it might provoke a new war out of sheer desperation to shake things up.

Yet, even the prospect of war seemed unavailing. Neither Hamas nor Gazas two million residents, still recovering from the past two conflicts, in 2012 and 2014, had any appetite for another round of violence.

Theyre absolutely exhausted, Mr. Baconi said.

To its rockets Israel had responded with the Iron Dome antimissile system. To its tunnels Israel was answering with a $2 billion reinforced-concrete wall buried deep underground. And on Sunday, Israel said it had uncovered and destroyed the longest operational tunnel yet from Gaza.

It was no surprise, then, that after a grass-roots idea for a peaceful, long-lasting protest along the Gaza fence started gaining widespread support, Hamas brought a halt to what had been a fairly steady tempo of rocket launches into Israel and threw its considerable organizational might behind the demonstrations.

By embracing the protests, Hamas cannily aligned itself with a popular movement that became even more popular as it took shape and that generated an outpouring of international support when Israel responded with gunfire, killing dozens of Palestinians, almost all of them unarmed.

Instantly, the woebegone Palestinian cause and the crisis in Gaza were back in the news, and even the demand for a right of return to Israeli land one that many supporters of a two-state solution seemed ready to throw overboard was being taken seriously, cheering Palestinians in refugee camps and the diaspora.

The time was ripe for a popular movement in Gaza, where younger Palestinians, like those on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, have grown disillusioned with the moribund Oslo peace process for self-governance, Mr. Baconi said. Many want to turn the national movement into a campaign for civil rights, rather than simply for statehood.

Hamas is just jumping on the bandwagon and recognizing the effectiveness of popular resistance at this moment, he said.

In fact, though it is better known for armed struggle, Hamas has acknowledged the utility of popular resistance since it arose out of the First Intifada in 1987. And last year, it took another subtle step in that direction, adopting a new policy that acknowledged growing support for popular resistance.

Yet, not all Gazans see Hamass involvement in the new protests as laudable. Some accused the group of cynically hijacking the demonstrations to serve its own purposes, while still also using young men as cannon fodder.

Its beautiful that we find Hamas adopting this nonviolent struggle, Mohammad Al Taluli, a 26-year-old activist due in court this week on criminal charges for criticizing Hamas online, said sarcastically. One week before the peaceful protest there was a military maneuver for the Qassam brigades. Do they think they fool us?

The gun is no longer a choice, Mr. Al Taluli added. Its a burden on anybody who carries it.

Yohanan Tzoreff, a former adviser for Arab affairs in Israels civil administration in Gaza, viewed the protests through the lens of Hamass long-running political rivalry with Fatah, in which Hamas hopes eventually to seize control of the Palestine Liberation Organization, over which Mr. Abbas now maintains a tight grip.

Which is the way that the people will adopt? Mr. Tzoreff said. The way of Ramallah, which means negotiations, negotiations, negotiations, and our entire fight will be at the international level; or the way in Gaza: popular resistance, with a lot of readiness to sacrifice?

For the moment, the two groups are enjoying an uneasy public truce, with Mr. Abbas expressing solidarity with the Gaza protests.

Fatah publicly support the protests, but behind closed doors, they criticize them as nothing more than a Hamas stunt, Ms. Milton-Edwards said.

For Hamas, the fate of its new embrace of popular protest depends on the ability of its leaders, and the Gaza marchers, to walk a fine line along the fence with Israel.

Too much in the way of stone- or firebomb-throwing could stir another heavy-handed Israeli response and the kind of Palestinian blood bath that could compel Hamas to answer back with rockets.

The more Israel uses disproportionate force, the harder it is for Hamas to continue holding back from retaliating, Mr. Baconi said. At some point, Hamas will start to lose legitimacy if it doesnt.

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Crime & Punishment in the Gaza Strip – YouTube

We finally got a rare glimpse of the embattled Gaza Strip and a chance to see what life was like under the rule of Hamas. In 2007 we tried and failed to get into Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing. Back then the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah were engaged in a bloody war for control of this tiny strip of land. Hamas won. When the post-Mubarak government of Egypt decided to start letting small numbers of folks into Gaza through their Rafah Crossing, we knew we could finally enter the region.

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Gaza violence is latest salvo in war of narratives | Fox News

JERUSALEM Thousands of Palestinians took part in a mass protest along Gaza’s volatile border with Israel, the second large-scale demonstration in what is expected to be a steady turnout over the coming weeks.

More than 30 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded by Israeli fire in mass protests on Friday and the previous week.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who are orchestrating the demonstrations, say the protests are against a decade-old border blockade by Israel. But Israel accuses the Islamic militant group of using the protests as cover for trying to infiltrate the border and attack Israelis. It has warned that anyone approaching the border fence is risking their lives.

Here’s a closer look at how the sides reached this point:

THE HAMAS TAKEOVER

Israel captured Gaza, a thin strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, from Egypt in the 1967 Mideast war and occupied the area for nearly four decades before withdrawing all troops and settlements in 2005. Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, won legislative elections the following year and in 2007 seized control of Gaza from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza in an attempt to weaken the group. Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought three wars, while attempts at internal Palestinian reconciliation have repeatedly failed, in large part because of Hamas’ continued refusal to disarm.

Israel has defended the wars as a response to intense rocket fire from Hamas-ruled Gaza, and notes the group’s history of suicide bombings and other deadly attacks, especially during the second Palestinian uprising early last decade. But the wars have left several thousand Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, drawing heavy international criticism.

WHY NOW?

The blockade, wars, international isolation and failed attempts at reconciliation have left Gaza’s economy in tatters.

Unemployment is approaching 50 percent, according to official Palestinian figures. Gaza’s 2 million residents receive only a few hours of electricity each day, tap water is undrinkable and the coastline has been polluted by tons of untreated sewage. The Israeli-Egyptian blockade greatly restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of the small territory of barely 360 square kilometers (139 square miles) making it difficult to do business or travel abroad for work, school or family reasons.

Hamas says the demonstrations are meant to draw attention to the harsh conditions in Gaza. But with public discontent rising, it also appears to be an attempt by the group to shake up the situation after other options failed.

Hamas can also capitalize on any hatred of Israel among Gazans, over half of whom are descendants of refugees from what is now Israel.

WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL EASE THE BLOCKADE?

Israel says its blockade is aimed only at Hamas, and it has no quarrel with Gaza’s civilians. It has been careful to allow the continued flow of humanitarian goods and construction materials into Gaza, and says it will ease the blockade further based on security assessments.

But international organizations like the World Bank and United Nations say the blockade continues to stifle the economy. They have repeatedly urged Israel to ease the restrictions significantly.

Israel says it has no choice, accusing Hamas of trying to smuggle weapons and materials that can become weapons into the territory. It also has asked the international community, which already funnels hundreds of millions of dollars a year into Gaza, to increase aid.

WHY HAVE THE PROTESTS TURNED VIOLENT?

While thousands of Palestinians have gathered for what are billed as nonviolent protests, dozens of young men have approached the border and thrown stones, firebombs and burning tires toward the border fence. Israel has mobilized snipers and other special forces on the other side of the fence.

The Israeli military says Hamas has been using the demonstrations as cover for attacks, and says militants have attempted to carry out shootings, plant bombs and infiltrate the fence in order to attack inside Israel.

Military officials say they have used live fire only as a last resort when all other alternatives, including warning shots and rubber bullets, have failed to stop the demonstrators from reaching the fence. It says it has targeted only main “instigators” trying to carry out attacks.

But witness accounts and amateur videos have shown some demonstrators appeared to be unarmed or far from the fence when they were shot. The United Nations and European Union have called for an independent investigation and urged all sides to show restraint.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Hamas has called for a series of demonstrations in the coming weeks, culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. Palestinians mark the date as their “naqba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were forced or fled from their homes.

Friday’s demonstrations were smaller, and the death toll was lower than last week’s demonstrations, suggesting the protests could be weakening.

But Hamas’ top Gaza official, Yehiyeh Sinwar, made a surprise visit to one of the protests and appeared to issue a new threat. “Wait for our great move, when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa,” referring to the major Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

With Israeli communities lying just a few hundred meters away from the border, Israel has made clear that it will not accept any breach.

Sinwar’s threat could set the stage for another serious round of violence in the coming weeks.

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April 8, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza violence: Media ignoring Hamas role in Israel embassy …

Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Monday, May 14, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza’s border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem.AP Photo/Khalil Hamra The media narrative on Monday pointed to a poignant dichotomy unfolding in Israel and Gaza. On one side were the Israelis, elated that at last, the US government lived up to its 23-year-old promise to move its embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. On the other side were Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity. The headlines were explicit and one-sided in their portrayal of the latter: Countless other news platforms had similar headlines, which were followed by stories that chastised Israel for its use of deadly force. Many took particular issue with the fact that Palestinian children have been hurt in the melee. But absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.” There isn’t a country in the entire world that would tolerate this kind of activity at its border. There are Israeli towns one mile from Gaza, and flaming kites sent over the border at least one that was emblazoned with a swastika have already set fire to Israeli warehouses and fields. It’s hardly a secret what these types of actors plan to do should they be allowed across the border. They have thrown not just rocks and flaming kites but Molotov cocktails and attempted to plant a bomb. These individuals are not simply seeking the right to march through the territory they believe is theirs. This is not about a peace-loving cabal looking to hop the fence. “We are excited to storm and get inside … whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones,” The Washington Post quoted one of the “protesters,” 23-year-old Mohammed Mansoura, as saying. And the role Hamas as an organization is playing in the violence should not be underrated. The Washington Post reported that organizers of the protest went so far as to tell the people protesting “to burst through the fence,” because “Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions,” when in reality, they were reinforcing them. Critics of Israel say that they do not care about Palestinian lives, but it is Hamas that continuously endangers them. It’s likely to get worse on Tuesday on Nakba day, or “the day of the catastrophe” when Palestinians mourn the establishment of the state of Israel and the ways in which their lives changed as a result. Israel’s Channel 10 has reported that Palestinian sources have indicated that on Tuesday, armed Hamas members will shoot at soldiers and attempt to kidnap one. Should they succeed, much of the media will likely run with the headline: “Israeli soldier has audacity to show up to Nakba day ceremony uninvited.”

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May 14, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Israel bombs Gaza tunnel and closes key crossing damaged …

In addition to its immediate and practical effect, the surgical strike on the tunnel along Erez is a signal to Hamas that Israel will not shy away from exerting the full force of its military, if necessary, during a week that will include the inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem; Nakba Day, in which Palestinians mark their dispossession during Israel’s war of independence; and the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar each potent events fraught with national, cultural and religious meaning.

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May 12, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Israeli military doubling troop positioned along Gaza …

There are heightened tensions in Israel this weekend, just days before the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli forces on Saturday blew up what they said was a Hamas terror tunnel at the Gaza border.Palestinian protesters have been fighting with Israeli troops at the border since March. The site of the new U.S. embassy is being readied, and signs are up across Jerusalem thanking President Trump for moving the embassy, thus recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Saturday, hundreds of Palestinians, who have been protesting the embassy move, marched through the streets of Gaza, carrying the body of a protester shot by Israeli troops Friday. He was among an estimated 15,000 demonstrators, some burning tires and hurling rocks at Israeli forces. Palestinians have also started attaching fire-bombs to kites and flying them into Israel. Along the Gaza border on Friday, CBS News found Israelis flying kites in a counter-demonstration. “They kill their own. I mean they kill their own,” said Leah Goldin, whose son Hadar was killed four years in a war with Hamas. His body was never returned. She’s angry and thinks Hamas is using Palestinians’ suffering for publicity. “This is awful to use children’s games kites and to turn them into bombs,” Goldin said. “To burn what? The fields?” As a result of one of those fire-kites, a crop that has been destroyed, which was a field of wheat and while the damage is relatively limited, ultimately it is symbolic. After all, this is a fight over land and who it belongs to. Racing across the fields, we found firefighters on specially-fitted motorcycles. Captain Liron Soll explained they go where fire engines cannot. “All big fires start from small one if you are in the right place in the right time you can close it with a glass of water. So, we are the glass of water,” Soll said. Israelis told CBS News the burned fields on this side of the conflict cannot compare with the level of suffering or images coming from Gaza. Anger is boiling, Hamas is calling on its supporters to storm the security fence — and Israel’s military is strengthening its defenses. 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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May 12, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Palestinians try to rip through Gaza border fence, drawing …

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –Hundreds of Palestinians converged on the Gaza Strip’s border fence with Israel on Friday, trying to rip through it before drawing heavy Israeli fire in one of the most violent incidents yet in five weeks of protests. Three Palestinians were killed and dozens were reported wounded. The violence came shortly after a top U.N. official urged Israel to refrain from using excessive force against the protesters. At least 38 protesters have been killed by Israeli live fire and more than 1,600 wounded in the weekly protests since they began March 30. Israel has rejected the international criticism, saying it is defending its sovereign border and accusing Gaza’s Hamas leaders, who are organizing the protests, of using the crowds as cover to carry out attacks. In Friday’s unrest, a large crowd gathered a few hundred meters from the border, with some throwing stones and setting tires on fire in what has become a weekly occurrence. Late in the afternoon, dozens of young men broke away from the larger protest, moving south about 200 meters and approaching the fence. The crowd then tried to break through the fence with hooks and wire cutters when Israeli forces opened fire. Witnesses said three protesters briefly crossed into Israel and turned around. A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City in the central Gaza Strip, during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the border with Israel on April 27, 2018. MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Hundreds of additional protesters ran to the scene, and the numbers quickly grew to several thousand. Israeli armored vehicles sped to the site and fired barrages of tear gas. As gunfire erupted, the crowd dispersed. A dozen Palestinian ambulances jammed a dirt road lining up to evacuate the wounded. Some in the crowd shouted “shahid,” or “martyr” as bodies were taken away on stretchers. Palestinian health officials reported three people killed and 611 wounded, including 138 hit by live fire in incidents along the border throughout the day. In a statement, the Israeli military said it had “thwarted” an attempted infiltration by Palestinian protesters. It said “hundreds of rioters” tried to burn the fence and enter the Israel. It said the crowd threw explosives, firebombs and rocks, and that troops opened fire “in accordance with the rules of engagement” and halted the crowd. It released a video showing a young Palestinian man placing a burning tire along the fence in an apparent attempt to set it on fire. In another, a small group lobs stones at an Israeli military vehicle on the other side of the fence. In other incidents, the military said Palestinian crowds rolled burning tires, hurled rocks and flew kites with flaming objects attached with the goal of damaging the fence and other Israeli targets. It also released a photo appearing to show a group of youths tugging at barbed wire along the fence. The marches, aimed in part at trying to break a decade-old border blockade, have been organized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers but have also been driven by widespread despair in the coastal territory of 2 million people. Gaza organizers say the marches are also pressing for the “right of return” of refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel. Two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees who fled or were expelled from properties during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. The protests are to culminate on May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s creation. Hamas organizers have made conflicting statements about whether they plan a mass border breach at some point. Hamas’ supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, visited a protest camp in the southern town of Rafah, vowing larger protests in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel and among Palestinian refugees in other countries on May 15. “Our people will not slow down the protests until they get their rights,” he said. The Israeli military has repeatedly said it will not allow Gazans to burst across the border. Israeli communities are located just a few hundred meters away. However, Israel has come under heavy international criticism for allegedly using excessive force. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Israeli troops have not heeded warnings by the United Nations and others, repeatedly using lethal force against unarmed protesters in the past month. Gaza health officials say that four minors, including a 14-year-old boy, have been among the dead. “The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators — not once, not twice, but repeatedly,” the commissioner said. Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said Israel is “diligently defending its sovereignty” and accused Zeid of encouraging Hamas’ “exploitation of civilians.” He said the commissioner is “not focused on human rights, but only with obsessively criticizing Israel.” Thousands have taken part in the Friday demonstrations from five protest tent camps, each set up several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence. Small groups usually move toward the fence, setting tires ablaze to hamper the vision of the security forces while others throw stones or firebombs. Israeli soldiers, including snipers taking cover behind sand berms, have responded by firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets and live rounds. Israel’s military has said troops are under orders to target “instigators,” but has also warned that anyone approaching or trying to damage the fence risks his life. Palestinians demonstrate during clashes with Israeli security forces near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, east of the northern town of Jabalia, on April 27, 2018, on the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images Rights groups have said such open-fire rules are unlawful because they allow soldiers to use potentially lethal force in situations where their lives are not in danger. Israeli officials have said that some of the protesters in recent weeks tried to damage the border fence or plant explosives along it. Others have tried to set Israeli fields on fire on the other side of the fence by hurling improvised explosives or firebombs, or flying the flaming kites. A group of Palestinian activists calling themselves “the tires unit” arrived Friday on a truck laden with old tires. A van mounted with loudspeakers followed the truck with chants and applause. Tires were set ablaze, filling the air with thick smoke. With hooks and a long rope, the activists pulled at parts of the barbed wire adjacent to the fence. Israel and Egypt imposed the Gaza blockade in 2007, in response to a violent takeover of the territory by Hamas, which had won Palestinian parliament elections a year earlier. The blockade has gutted Gaza’s economy, driving up unemployment and leaving two-thirds of young people without jobs. Hamas’ Interior Ministry announced that Egypt had agreed to open the Rafah border crossing for three days, beginning Saturday. The temporary opening is the second this month.

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April 27, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Four Killed in Gaza, as Weekly Protests Shrink – The New …

JERUSALEM They came in smaller numbers. But the outcome was still deadly, and the victims this time included a 15-year-old boy. Palestinians protested for a fourth Friday along the security fence dividing Gaza from Israel, some of them burning tires, hurling rocks or flying kites with flaming tails in the hope of setting ablaze the fields of Israeli rural communities on the other side. The Israeli military distributed a photograph of one kite with a scrawled swastika. The military estimated the number of participants at about 3,000 in five locations along the Gaza border, down from at least 30,000 on March 30, when the protest campaign started. But by evening the Gaza Health Ministry reported four killed by Israeli sniper fire. One was identified as Muhammad Ayoub, 15. Amateur video taken on the Gaza side of the fence purported to show him shot while running with other youths, apparently empty-handed. Graphic photographs showed the teenager lying on the rocky ground, bleeding from the head, and later on a hospital gurney. His father, Ibrahim Ayoub, told a local Gaza-based news site: I thank Allah for taking him as a martyr. This is better than the humiliating life and tragedy we live. The Friday toll brought the total number of fatalities from the start of the campaign to at least 37. Hundreds more protesters have been wounded by Israeli fire. Israel has drawn international censure for using live fire against the mostly unarmed protesters who did not appear to present any immediately life-threatening danger to the soldiers. On Friday, Nickolay E. Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, denounced the shooting of the 15-year-old as outrageous, writing on Twitter: How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace? It doesnt! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. He called for an investigation into the killing. Even as the numbers of protesters waned, the international campaign supporting the Palestinians received a boost this week when Natalie Portman, the Oscar-winning actress, backed out of a major award ceremony meant to honor her in Jerusalem. Representatives initially cited her distress over recent events in Israel. On Friday, Ms. Portman issued a statement explaining her absence, saying, I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu. Israels military says it is acting to prevent any mass crossing of the fence and to prevent attacks against Israeli soldiers and nearby communities. The military said it was looking into the reports of the fatalities. On Friday, the Israeli military said in a statement that people participating in what it described as riots were attempting to approach the security infrastructures, burning tires and trying to fly kites over the border with burning items attached to them. Several crossed into Israel, the statement said, and were extinguished when required. The military added that it would not allow any harm to security infrastructure that protects Israeli civilians, and will act against the violent rioters and terrorists who threaten either. The troops responded with tear gas and live fire. As in previous weeks, no injuries were reported on the Israeli side. The protests began as a grass-roots campaign but were quickly adopted by Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza. They are meant to draw international attention to the 11-year blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the isolated, impoverished coastal territory. The protests also are meant to punctuate Palestinian demands for the return to lands in what is now Israel. The organizers of the protests, named the Great Return March, originally said the idea had been for a peaceful, family-style six-week sit-in at tent encampments erected about 700 yards from the fence, with weekly marches building up to a peak on May 15. That is when Palestinians mark the Nakba, or the catastrophe, of the foundation of Israel and the war surrounding its creation in 1948, during which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in what is now Israel. Many of the refugees ended up in Gaza. Israel says the campaign has been taken over by Hamas, which Israel, like much of the Western world, classifies as a terrorist organization. In leaflets dropped from the air on Friday the military warned protesters, in Arabic, to stay away from the fence, and told them to ignore instructions from Hamas, which Israel says is exploiting the protesters for its own political interests. While a few confronted the troops, most of the protesters stood by, watching. One protester, Abdallah Daoud, 16, explained why he was participating. With his face black with soot from the burning tires and slingshot in hand, he said: There is no money, there is nothing. I want to be a martyr because of the siege, a reference to the blockade. I cannot get out of Gaza. There is no income. In a new tactic, protesters including whole families in the Shejaiya area of eastern Gaza moved tents forward to about 300 yards from the fence, considered the edge of the danger zone. Some Shejaiya protesters built a cage, like a mock prison cell, containing effigies of two Israeli soldiers whose bodies are being held by Hamas in Gaza, and two Israeli citizens also believed held by Hamas there. The entrance to the Shejaiya protest site included a large poster with pictures and names of those killed during the first three Fridays. During a visit to the protest area, Ismail Haniya, the political leader of the Hamas organization, said: Be ready and prepared for the human flood on all the borders of Palestine inside and outside the occupied lands on the anniversary of the Nakba. Islamic Jihad, an extremist group that often rivals Hamas in Gaza, went further, releasing a video on Thursday showing Israeli officers, including a senior general, in its sights as they toured the Israeli side of the fence. Avigdor Lieberman, Israels hard-line defense minister, visited the Gaza border area on Friday. What we have seen in these four weeks is that every week there are less and less people on the one hand, he said, and on the other hand, there is much more terror activity. He warned, Whoever makes threats will lose in the end. Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza.

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April 22, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian …

In what amounted to the highest number of casualties in a single day in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 hostilities, on 30 March, 18 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces (or died of wounds sustained that day), and another 1,400 were injured, including over half of them by live ammunition,…

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April 20, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Hamas Sees Gaza Protests as Peaceful and as a Deadly …

Few analysts, and certainly few Israelis, have suggested that Hamas may actually be rethinking its strategy merely because it has joined what are meant to be nonviolent mass protests and has name-checked the heroes of peaceful civil disobedience. Its quite understandable that when those that proscribe Hamas as a terror organization see Haniya surrounded by icons of peace, it does little to dispel memories of very violent and bloody attacks, including by suicide bombs, said Beverley Milton-Edwards, an expert on political Islam at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar who was a co-author of a history of Hamas. But if Mr. Haniyas unexpected nod to nonviolence struck some as contradictory and self-serving as evidence of, one might say, a degree of chutzpah his organizations embrace of the Gaza protests had a clear logic that can be understood in much simpler terms. Terms like no-brainer. Its experiment with popular resistance may or may not be wholehearted, but it is indisputably pragmatic. A month or two ago, Hamas was cornered. Isolated regionally, rived by internal disputes, it had been unable to ameliorate a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and was increasingly humiliated by the failure of reconciliation talks with Ramallah. They had to make too many concessions in the hope of getting a little bit in exchange, and they wound up getting nothing whatsoever, said Azzam Tamimi, an analyst for a London-based Arabic television channel with close ties to top Hamas leadership. After a decade running Gaza, and hemmed in by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, Hamas was growing deeply unpopular. Though most Gazans would blame Israel fundamentally, and Egypt indirectly, a lot of Palestinians would just do away with all of Hamas to have a better life, said Tareq Baconi, author of Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, to be published next month by Stanford University Press. The group was in such dire straits that analysts and Israeli security officials warned it might provoke a new war out of sheer desperation to shake things up. Yet, even the prospect of war seemed unavailing. Neither Hamas nor Gazas two million residents, still recovering from the past two conflicts, in 2012 and 2014, had any appetite for another round of violence. Theyre absolutely exhausted, Mr. Baconi said. To its rockets Israel had responded with the Iron Dome antimissile system. To its tunnels Israel was answering with a $2 billion reinforced-concrete wall buried deep underground. And on Sunday, Israel said it had uncovered and destroyed the longest operational tunnel yet from Gaza. It was no surprise, then, that after a grass-roots idea for a peaceful, long-lasting protest along the Gaza fence started gaining widespread support, Hamas brought a halt to what had been a fairly steady tempo of rocket launches into Israel and threw its considerable organizational might behind the demonstrations. By embracing the protests, Hamas cannily aligned itself with a popular movement that became even more popular as it took shape and that generated an outpouring of international support when Israel responded with gunfire, killing dozens of Palestinians, almost all of them unarmed. Instantly, the woebegone Palestinian cause and the crisis in Gaza were back in the news, and even the demand for a right of return to Israeli land one that many supporters of a two-state solution seemed ready to throw overboard was being taken seriously, cheering Palestinians in refugee camps and the diaspora. The time was ripe for a popular movement in Gaza, where younger Palestinians, like those on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, have grown disillusioned with the moribund Oslo peace process for self-governance, Mr. Baconi said. Many want to turn the national movement into a campaign for civil rights, rather than simply for statehood. Hamas is just jumping on the bandwagon and recognizing the effectiveness of popular resistance at this moment, he said. In fact, though it is better known for armed struggle, Hamas has acknowledged the utility of popular resistance since it arose out of the First Intifada in 1987. And last year, it took another subtle step in that direction, adopting a new policy that acknowledged growing support for popular resistance. Yet, not all Gazans see Hamass involvement in the new protests as laudable. Some accused the group of cynically hijacking the demonstrations to serve its own purposes, while still also using young men as cannon fodder. Its beautiful that we find Hamas adopting this nonviolent struggle, Mohammad Al Taluli, a 26-year-old activist due in court this week on criminal charges for criticizing Hamas online, said sarcastically. One week before the peaceful protest there was a military maneuver for the Qassam brigades. Do they think they fool us? The gun is no longer a choice, Mr. Al Taluli added. Its a burden on anybody who carries it. Yohanan Tzoreff, a former adviser for Arab affairs in Israels civil administration in Gaza, viewed the protests through the lens of Hamass long-running political rivalry with Fatah, in which Hamas hopes eventually to seize control of the Palestine Liberation Organization, over which Mr. Abbas now maintains a tight grip. Which is the way that the people will adopt? Mr. Tzoreff said. The way of Ramallah, which means negotiations, negotiations, negotiations, and our entire fight will be at the international level; or the way in Gaza: popular resistance, with a lot of readiness to sacrifice? For the moment, the two groups are enjoying an uneasy public truce, with Mr. Abbas expressing solidarity with the Gaza protests. Fatah publicly support the protests, but behind closed doors, they criticize them as nothing more than a Hamas stunt, Ms. Milton-Edwards said. For Hamas, the fate of its new embrace of popular protest depends on the ability of its leaders, and the Gaza marchers, to walk a fine line along the fence with Israel. Too much in the way of stone- or firebomb-throwing could stir another heavy-handed Israeli response and the kind of Palestinian blood bath that could compel Hamas to answer back with rockets. The more Israel uses disproportionate force, the harder it is for Hamas to continue holding back from retaliating, Mr. Baconi said. At some point, Hamas will start to lose legitimacy if it doesnt.

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April 16, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Crime & Punishment in the Gaza Strip – YouTube

We finally got a rare glimpse of the embattled Gaza Strip and a chance to see what life was like under the rule of Hamas. In 2007 we tried and failed to get into Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing. Back then the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah were engaged in a bloody war for control of this tiny strip of land. Hamas won. When the post-Mubarak government of Egypt decided to start letting small numbers of folks into Gaza through their Rafah Crossing, we knew we could finally enter the region. Hosted by Suroosh Alvi | Originally released in 2011 on http://vice.com Follow Suroosh Alvi on Twitter – http://twitter.com/surooshalviFollow Jason Mojica on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/elmodernisto Watch “How to Buy Nukes on the Black Market”: http://bit.ly/Buying-Nukes Subscribe for videos that are actually good: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICECheck out our full video catalog: http://www.youtube.com/user/vice/videosVideos, daily editorial and more: http://vice.comLike VICE on Facebook: http://fb.com/viceFollow VICE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/viceRead our tumblr: http://vicemag.tumblr.com

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April 14, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza violence is latest salvo in war of narratives | Fox News

JERUSALEM Thousands of Palestinians took part in a mass protest along Gaza’s volatile border with Israel, the second large-scale demonstration in what is expected to be a steady turnout over the coming weeks. More than 30 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded by Israeli fire in mass protests on Friday and the previous week. Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who are orchestrating the demonstrations, say the protests are against a decade-old border blockade by Israel. But Israel accuses the Islamic militant group of using the protests as cover for trying to infiltrate the border and attack Israelis. It has warned that anyone approaching the border fence is risking their lives. Here’s a closer look at how the sides reached this point: THE HAMAS TAKEOVER Israel captured Gaza, a thin strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, from Egypt in the 1967 Mideast war and occupied the area for nearly four decades before withdrawing all troops and settlements in 2005. Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, won legislative elections the following year and in 2007 seized control of Gaza from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza in an attempt to weaken the group. Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought three wars, while attempts at internal Palestinian reconciliation have repeatedly failed, in large part because of Hamas’ continued refusal to disarm. Israel has defended the wars as a response to intense rocket fire from Hamas-ruled Gaza, and notes the group’s history of suicide bombings and other deadly attacks, especially during the second Palestinian uprising early last decade. But the wars have left several thousand Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, drawing heavy international criticism. WHY NOW? The blockade, wars, international isolation and failed attempts at reconciliation have left Gaza’s economy in tatters. Unemployment is approaching 50 percent, according to official Palestinian figures. Gaza’s 2 million residents receive only a few hours of electricity each day, tap water is undrinkable and the coastline has been polluted by tons of untreated sewage. The Israeli-Egyptian blockade greatly restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of the small territory of barely 360 square kilometers (139 square miles) making it difficult to do business or travel abroad for work, school or family reasons. Hamas says the demonstrations are meant to draw attention to the harsh conditions in Gaza. But with public discontent rising, it also appears to be an attempt by the group to shake up the situation after other options failed. Hamas can also capitalize on any hatred of Israel among Gazans, over half of whom are descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL EASE THE BLOCKADE? Israel says its blockade is aimed only at Hamas, and it has no quarrel with Gaza’s civilians. It has been careful to allow the continued flow of humanitarian goods and construction materials into Gaza, and says it will ease the blockade further based on security assessments. But international organizations like the World Bank and United Nations say the blockade continues to stifle the economy. They have repeatedly urged Israel to ease the restrictions significantly. Israel says it has no choice, accusing Hamas of trying to smuggle weapons and materials that can become weapons into the territory. It also has asked the international community, which already funnels hundreds of millions of dollars a year into Gaza, to increase aid. WHY HAVE THE PROTESTS TURNED VIOLENT? While thousands of Palestinians have gathered for what are billed as nonviolent protests, dozens of young men have approached the border and thrown stones, firebombs and burning tires toward the border fence. Israel has mobilized snipers and other special forces on the other side of the fence. The Israeli military says Hamas has been using the demonstrations as cover for attacks, and says militants have attempted to carry out shootings, plant bombs and infiltrate the fence in order to attack inside Israel. Military officials say they have used live fire only as a last resort when all other alternatives, including warning shots and rubber bullets, have failed to stop the demonstrators from reaching the fence. It says it has targeted only main “instigators” trying to carry out attacks. But witness accounts and amateur videos have shown some demonstrators appeared to be unarmed or far from the fence when they were shot. The United Nations and European Union have called for an independent investigation and urged all sides to show restraint. WHAT’S NEXT? Hamas has called for a series of demonstrations in the coming weeks, culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. Palestinians mark the date as their “naqba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were forced or fled from their homes. Friday’s demonstrations were smaller, and the death toll was lower than last week’s demonstrations, suggesting the protests could be weakening. But Hamas’ top Gaza official, Yehiyeh Sinwar, made a surprise visit to one of the protests and appeared to issue a new threat. “Wait for our great move, when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa,” referring to the major Muslim shrine in Jerusalem. With Israeli communities lying just a few hundred meters away from the border, Israel has made clear that it will not accept any breach. Sinwar’s threat could set the stage for another serious round of violence in the coming weeks.

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April 8, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed


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